/ 26.7.11 / 18 Comments / , ,

Tuesday Tea ~ Could a Budget Save Your Marriage?

doves and budget

No, there’s nothing wrong with my marriage..or our budget for that matter. :o)  I’ve just been working on the budget this week and will be chatting over our financial plans for the month at a date night with Dear Hubby this evening, so naturally the topic is on my mind.

Debt Snowball
A sample debt snowball.

I was also working on our ‘debt snowball’  yesterday using a debt snowball calculator from What’s the Cost.com. The chart above was just an example. It’s a great tool recommended by my financial hero, Dave Ramsey. 


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Putting a little extra  ‘sparkle’ in our marriage has also been on my mind. (I think my mind needs to go on a vacation—tee-hee!) I found a great used book on this topic, 52 ways to Re-energize Your Marriage, while killing time at a coffee shop/book store.   Voila! A new post is born. :o) 

I found it interesting this morning, to discover that conflicts over money were listed as #2 on James Dobson’s list of 12 marriage killers…..  Curious what #1 is?? Read on….


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Welcome to Tuesday Tea! I’d love to have a chat with you over a nice cup of tea..perhaps poured over ice.  Both Amy of Tea Girl in a Coffee World with her post Heat Wave Tea and Wanda Lee of the Silken Purse, whose friend hosted an International student ‘tea’ with iced tea in tea cups decided to skip the ‘hot’ part. So I’m in good company. :o)

I so enjoyed everyone’s tea posts last week. Thank you so much for linking up. The comments you left were so insightful! That’s what makes our chat so fun—your input on the ‘topic’ whatever that might be. Please feel free to link up here.  

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So….how can a budget improve your marriage?  I think it’s pretty obvious, but I mustn’t assume. I’ve had friends who never even thought to have a budget.  Not to worry, you can find some great ones right here.

Yesterday we talked about the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness.” It showed, in stark colors,  how financial pressures can destroy a marriage. 


will smith

The main message of the movie, which was based on a true story,  was to show the courage of a man who was determined to provide for his family against all odds. Sadly, his wife grew tired of waiting for the solution. And who could blame her?  She worked double shifts while hubby tried to sell outdated computer equipment. She brought in money and he was unable to at the time. Bill collectors can sure kill romance!

Some of the things that can cause financial stress in a marriage are
  • One of you is a ‘spender’ and one is a ‘saver’….or some milder version of this... and you have trouble seeing ‘eye to eye’ on money matters.
  • Excessive debt which puts a heavy burden on Hubby or Wife.
  • Overspending without regard to the lack of finances.
  • Being discontent with what you have.
  • Financial Reverses
  • Using spending as a way to ‘get back’. (Getting to the bottom of the barrel here.)
  • One of you is very focused on saving for the future…while the other is out bargain hunting for immediate needs.
  • And there are many more…
Our Property 116-3000  Looks like Christian needs to retire these shoes! LoL!

One thing is for sure, a budget is a GREAT solution…as long as you are both using money for it’s proper purpose—meeting material needs...and you are on the same ‘side’. :o)

If your marriage is to the point where money has become a weapon or is a constant source of fighting…it’s probably a good time to seek some counseling. Most marriage problems come down to a lack of mutual love and respect rather than the problem itself. This is where you need to start.

arguing

A couple who cares about each other faces their problems together..whether it’s money, depression, rebellious children, job loss, in-laws or health problems.  

First..build your relationship and work to grow closer. THEN tackle your problems..rather than each other! You are in this for the long run not the short-term.  You need each other. Together all of your problems will seem lighter.   

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It’s important not to blame each other, but rather discuss the issues and try to hear each other’s perspective on money. Rarely is it a one-sided problem.   If one spouse is having severe problems, however,  and they are open to discussing it, you can help them work through it rather than condemn them.  

One of the best ways to say, “I love you” to your spouse is to spend money in a way that is mutually acceptable.  A budget helps you ‘pin down’ what needs to be spent and when, taking into account both points of view.

Since I have a hard time with ‘impulse spending’, Hubby and I have put some ‘checks and balances’ in place to help me stay in the budget. These were my ideas mind you. :o) 


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Tim and I both get  a daily email alert telling us what our checking account balance is and what transactions have taken place.  This puts some accountability in place  (and I need that!) and also makes sure that we both know how things are going financially regardless of how crazy our schedule has gotten.

We’ve also put some ‘spending money’ in the budget so I know what the ‘limit’ is on spending for projects or home improvements. As far as Hubby was concerned…you just quit spending on anything. (Sounds a lot like the idea of dieting by just not eating any more—LoL!) 


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For Tim, this was a great solution. He has a ‘far reaching’ perspective. He doesn’t EVER want anything that money can buy. He just wants to save for the future.  His focus is on our ‘future’ security and happiness.

For me, as a mom surrounded by active teens, the immediate needs  of our family are the focus. I’m thinking about today, tomorrow and perhaps next week and what needs to get done. I’m focused on details and what needs to be done NOW.


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We had to find a middle ground. We often joke that Tim is part ‘monk’ and I’m not.  The kids, being kids, didn’t care for that approach much either. To ignore immediate needs for future security is no more realistic than spending all your money with no regard for future security.  

With a mutually agreed upon budget, we make allowances for both perspectives. We’ve set aside money for immediate needs and even wants, and put a lot of money on our past debt (much of it medical), plus we put a decent amount of money into our emergency fund every month. We even have a small retirement fund.  Now we are ALL happier.   

If you would like more help on this topic..be sure to check out Dave Ramsey’s website. I think taking the Financial Peace workshop is one of the best things you can do for your marriage..and what a perfect wedding present for a young couple!


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Why do I talk so much about marriage?  Because, if you really think about it, is there anything more integral to your lifelong happiness than a good relationship with your spouse?  It’s worth working at.. We need to nuture our marriage...just like you would a flower.   If we don’t take care of our marriage relationship..it could wither!

I’m working on ‘me’ and on ‘us’. It’s an investment worth making. Learning to spend within our agreed upon budget, getting out of debt, saying NO to unnecessary expenses--these are great ways to say “I LOVE YOU” to our Dear Hubbies.

I’m so grateful to good friends like Christi L. and her hubby who hosted a Financial Peace class in their home. Our older kids attended with us…and I learned how to discuss financial matters with hubby in a constructive way and to say NO to ME (and the kids) through this class.

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Perhaps, like me, you would like to make a quiet promise to the Lord, to “honor your husband’ in your spending..each time you walk into the doors of a store (or online). :o) 

The heart of her husband trusts in her. 
He shall have no lack of gain. Proverbs 31:11

How about it?  Are you a saver or a spender? (I’ll tell you right now—I’m a spender. Yipes!)  

PS. Still wondering about No.1?  The No. 1 marriage killer is over-commitment and physical exhaustion. Read more here.

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18 comments:

A Primitive Homestead said...

My spouse is a taker & I a giver. Being the giver is hard. It leads to alot of hurt. He can not understand a marriage is not all takeing. Money is a big problem. Spending beyond his means & putting the home in danger of the bank foreclosing in time. I get all the blame. I wish he believed in a budget. We may not be where we are now. But still I will look into the 12 marriage killers. I started the book Boundries. Blessings!
Lara

Donna said...

Hi Lara, I have to say, my heart really goes out to you. I think the boundaries book is exactly what you need. And I think your situation calls for some serious intervention. Counseling..even just for you would be so helpful. Funny how we are so afraid to do that. It doesn't mean you are a failure..it just brings a little light to your difficulties. A godly counselor could change everything. Takers take because we let them. I never knew that. You do truly have to stand up for what you know is right. Abuse should never be tolerated and from our past conversations and your posts I would say that is what you are dealing with. The kindest thing you could do for your husband at this point is simply not allow the abusive behavior. I pray the Lord gives you the courage to take the next step, for your sake, your hubby's, and your children.

Love,
Donna

Micupoftea~ said...

GREAT post and the one sentence says it all...the REAL problem is lack of respect not the temporary issue at hand! BINGO! Control is often the driving force between differences in spending, especially if one spouse is vindictive with money. Having a budget is fabulous, so the 'spender' knows how much discretionary cash there is to spend! Thanks for visiting my blog~

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

A budget would certainly help with money issues and any underlying issues. Good link to the 12 marriage killers.
I linked to my Japanese Tea Ceremony Sweets post. No words this week, just pictures, but I hope you enjoy anyway.
Thank you for hosting.

Between you, me and the Fencepost said...

Donna, When I read the title to your post today I thought, yes, yes yes ! Agreeing on money is so important.
The years we both spent as single parents on a very strict budget has put us both on a practical mindset when it comes to money. Money is one thing that we don't fight about. We have so much going on in our family, teenagers, step children, the busy-ness of our family is enough of a strain and we really have to make time for each other or we start to snark. I am always grateful we have so many fundamental values in common. We have enough to 'fight' about.

Have a great day

Donna said...

Anita, isn't that the truth? Honestly, Tim and I don't fight over money. There isn't that much to fight over-LoL! But because we are so 'tight' we DO have to have regular pow-wows about what crisis need to tackle first. What spending I do is minimum...but it HAS to be. He's hoping to rectify this soon, but for now..we just have to be very strategic.

Like I said earlier, the post really was born more out of reading the marriage book and seeing the topic on money and marriage. I'm so BIG into budgeting that I thought it would be a great topic to cover. I am so glad we haven't had to fight over money. We have very similar money values (though different approaches) ..just like you and your hubby. :o)

Floss said...

I can certainly say how working together on our budget is GOOD for our marriage! We've got a lot of unexpected (car and health related) expenses this year. My husband and I have worked together to sort this out - I've made cuts and some transfers, he's handled challenging phonecalls to the garage and thought out alternatives and I really appreciate that he's done the bits that I couldn't have managed! It's good to be working as a team on this.

Roseli de Araujo Gomes said...

Hi!
I´m from Brazil and find your Blog, wonderfull!
Kiss
Roseli
FLYRoBrasileira

Lisa said...

Enjoyed your post. I'm coming over from Raising Homemakers and I discovered that my daughters take square dancing with you. I will be listing you on my favorites!!

Amy said...

My husband and I mirror the same financial personalities of you and your husband:) Way back when we were engaged I listened to a lot of Larry Burkett--and it helped me tremendously. Otherwise, I don't know what I would have thought of budgeting. 18 years of budgeting now and I can't imagine where we'd be without it. I'm so thankful for the ministry of Dave Ramsey to give a vision and the tools to meet today's issues. We have dear friends who are separated. . . and financial issues have played a big role. My own aunt and uncle divorced over financial issues. So integral. Thanks for your post!

Donna said...

Isn't Larry Burkett great? I used to SOOoo look forward to his radio spots. It's heart-breaking to see the damage that money conflicts can do to a marriage. I know my own sister was miserable for the same reason. It just 'undoes' a wife, if hubby can't be financially responsible.

Christi L. said...

We were just talking the other day that it is time to host another FPU. You guys could come as wise counselors this time Donna! :-)

Donna said...

That would be SUPER. We still have a long way to go and had some setbacks. Though, thank goodness, we ALWAYS stay within our budget...money always goes into savings..and we pay MOST of our leftovers against debt. We are even considering selling our new truck to pay off over half of it. We had a lot of medical expenses this last two or three years and it has hit us pretty hard. But we know we will make it if we keep at it. :o)

xo
Donna

Maria Killam said...

Donna,
I love how you share yourself in your blog, it's what makes it so wonderful. Budgeting is something I have always been bad at, thanks for this!
Maria

Donna said...

I'm glad you like it Maria.. :o) You're a sweet friend for saying so. Budgeting is tough for a lot of people. To me the hardest part is STAYING in the budget. Sigh..

Jay Cee said...

Where did you get that chart...I am looking for something just like that

Jay Cee said...

where did you get that chart....its just what i am looking for

Donna said...

The link for the chart is here. :) I'm glad it helped. http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster
Welcome to Comin' Home! If you lived nearby, I'd invite you over to my neck of the woods for a nice long chat and a cup of tea out on the deck. But since we can't do that, I hope you'll stay and look around. I love learning new things and sharing what I learn with friends. Comin' Home is where I share tips from my many projects. Let's have some fun together! XO Donna

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