If you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey at all, you’ll know that he talks about couples in terms of the nerd and the free-spirit. There is usually one of each in every couple. If you’re the exception and you’re both nerds, then you’re probably running your finances like a well-oiled machine. If you’re both free-spirits, well, God help you. But, since you’re reading this, something tells me that you’re probably not a free-spirit but rather a…well, you know. (Be proud, y’all – own it.)
I mean, right? You care enough about your budget to read blogs about it, just sayin’. (And I think you’re absolutely right to do so!)
So in the beginning of our marriage, my husband was the nerd, and I was the free-spirit. Frustrated and resentful, he needed to get me on his team.
I told you about how he managed that in my last post, and after my husband read that post he said, “Well, you left out a few things.” He proceeded to divulge his secrets, making me feel so used but impressed with his shrewdness and skill at the same time.
Defeated and disheartened about being the only one that cared about the finances, my husband decided to use a 7 phase process to get me onboard. (He only realized after the fact that it was 7 phases; he’s not that nerdy.)
Okay, so without further ado, Step 1 (in my husband’s words):
Easy enough, right? It’s so important, though, because if you don’t have a strong system in place, your spouse won’t trust you or your silly, little budget.
Now, if you’re already doing this and you’re chompin’ at the bit to get to the next step, just hang on.
Write out everything that you’re doing to “have your stuff together”. Write out your plan for your finances – your debt-payoff goals, your savings goals, your plan to increase income, your plans for lifestyle simplification, etc.
Bring these things up in conversation, but don’t make your spouse feel like he/she has to act on what you’re saying. You’re just happy about what you’re doing.
“Hey honey, guess what I did today? I decided to start making my lunch during the week instead of going out so that I can use that money to save for an anniversary trip. Be thinking of a quaint B&B in the area that you’d like to go to.”
“Hey guess what? I decided to not buy that new bike so that I could pay the rest of the Capital One off and get that payment out of our lives!” Or… “Hey, look at this. It’s a thermometer that I’m going to color in as I pay more and more off of the house.”
Just build excitement and trust, and strengthen your knowledge. No bossy-bossing or squirreling away resentment. We can only really change ourselves! The rest is just building trust.
More phases to come, but be patient.
Your Next Step
Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?