As a follow up to the last post on Money Help, which included reasons to make your financial health a priority in your marriage, I’d like to share a few practical resources. One of the most well-known and successful financial gurus is Dave Ramsey, a debt-free fanatic. I say that in a good way–I’ve heard many success stories of couples who have followed his plan to financial freedom. I like how Ramsey calls borrowing “debt” and not “credit” or “borrowing,” which are terms banks use to make it seem more pleasant. Even if you are not in debt, read the entire post, as I have a positive challenge for everyone!
Ramsey’s web site is replete with useful tools and info. Even if your spouse isn’t yet on board, start reading there to build your excitement for financial freedom. Take some baby steps, such as the three steps for building wealth for young adults. Reading about how others have dug themselves out of tens of thousands of debt (or more), or attained financial dreams, is liberating. It may require a shift in your thinking and possibly in your behavior.
Dustin at EngagedMarriage completed Ramsey’s plan to become debt-free last year. He finds his biggest money wasters are on eating out and entertainment and has resolved to trim his spending as well as his waistline for higher goals.
Kathleen at ProjectM explains how she and her husband live very happily and frugally by following a unique set of cultural values in their community. Chief among these is to buy only what you need (i.e. gadgets are not a need), to do the work rather than hiring others, and to produce what you can rather than purchase it. These are serious DIYers.
One of the couples I interviewed who have been happily married for more than 30 years refused to take out school loans to complete medical school. (School loans are also frowned upon by Ramsey.) They scrimped and saved–and even sold blood products–to get through each semester without borrowing. They continued to live a simple lifestyle even after earning much more, and use their savings for charitable endeavors.
Ramsey hits the nail on the head when he explains that most of us just want what we want now. We don’t want to wait. We don’t want to sacrifice. We’d like the lifestyle of those who have worked for 30 years, but we want it within 3 years. Some find credit as the way to achieve that lifestyle. The real joy in Ramsey’s financial plan is that it frees you from the bondage of debt. Our country is all about freedom. We want freedom to do what we want when we want it. But without financial freedom, you are indebted to someone and not really free at all. What would you be doing differently if you had financial freedom? Whom would you help?
Financial sacrifice may be good practice for our marriages. After all, we shouldn’t always get our way in our relationships. We need to learn to put another’s needs ahead of our own. As many begin the Lenten season today, consider whether some type of sacrifice may benefit your family or marriage, maybe even something as small as spending the evening doing something your husband chooses, or giving your wife the day off from mothering responsibilities.
Whether you sacrifice in dollars or in loving acts, the treasure will be returned to you with interest.