In an attempt to keep the Advent Season sacred, I’ll be taking the month of December off of blogging.
In the interim I’ll be sharing with you how Dave Ramsey saved our marriage and helped US find Financial Peace!
I’ll reconnect with you in January with some really EXCITING news! (and no, I’m not pregnant!)
Hot Tip #70 – Get Financial Peace!
In previous Hot Tips I’ve talked about buying what makes you feel sexy (in reference to lingerie and most recently a pair of Target sandals that I affectionately call my “Heidi Klum shoes“). While it doesn’t hurt to spend a little money on yourself on occasion, and investing in your sexual relationship can reap tons of long-term interest in your marriage, today I want to take you in the opposite direction – toward saving instead of spending!
You might wonder, “What’s that got to do with sexual confidence?”
When I think back to the most sexually “dry” spell in our entire 21 years of marriage, I was surprised at what I realized. It wasn’t when we had little babies waking us up for feedings throughout the night… it wasn’t when I was going through six months of intense counseling to get to the root causes of so many of my issues… it was in 2008-2009 when the bottom dropped out of the economy and reeked havoc on many marriages, including mine.
I remember waiting until bedtime after the kids were out of earshot to begin asking questions of my C.P.A. husband, trying to develop survival strategies after he had no more fuel left in his mental gas tank. What did this do to our libido? It killed it completely. What did this do to our sleep? Threw a wrench into it. (Suggestion #1 – Talk about financial matters long before bedtime! The bedroom is for sex & sleep, not stress!)
What did all of this do to our marriage? Made it rocky for a while, until we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course at our church, which allowed us to transition from “stress” to “strength.” I’ve said many times, “Dave Ramsey saved our marriage.”
Since the economic crisis continues to loom large, my guess is that a lack of financial peace is still negatively affecting many couples’ marriages, including their marriage bed. So in the next few Hot Tips I want to share with you some of the things we did – some small, some BIG – to turn our financial picture around and bring peace back into our lives, marriage, and bedroom.
The first big adjustment we made is that we drastically changed the way we made all purchases. We used to put everything on a credit card because (a) we liked getting frequent flyer miles for every dollar spent, and (b) it allowed Greg to easily track every place our money went. However, we learned that there’s a dangerous mentality to swiping that credit card at every checkout stand, a mentality that says, “I’m not having to pay for this now… I’ll be able to pay for it later.” Which usually means you spend more. LOTS more. So even if you’re paying the balance off every month to avoid interest charges, you’re still spending more than you really need to.
But when you’re handing over hard cold cash, there’s more of a feeling of “stinginess.” We don’t want to let go of cash so easily. So we limit our purchases to the absolute necessities, allowing us to hold on to more of our cash. And this is a GREAT mentality to have!
So we got rid of every credit card except one that we use for business expenses, and one that we use for emergencies only. I purchased a special wallet that had an “envelope system” (available at www.daveramsey.com, or just make your own!) which allows you to set certain amounts of cash aside for certain monthly purchases. We sat down and established a set budget for things like groceries, clothing, dining out, household expenses, kids’ allowances, gifts, etc. At the beginning of every month, we’d take out ONLY as much cash as needed to replenish those envelopes.
The most important rule was: Once that money is gone, we stop spending! If we ran out of “dining out” money before the end of the month, we didn’t eat out until the following month. If we ran out of “grocery” money before the end of the month, I either had to borrow it from one of the other envelopes (like the “clothing” envelope) or I’d have to rummage through the deep freeze to put meals together (which I needed to do more often anyway).
Even taking just this first baby step brought tons of relief to our relationship. And in the coming Hot Tips, I’ll tell you how we’ve gone from just “relief” to “REJOICING” by establishing even more financial peace in our lives! So stay tuned…
Wishing YOU financial peace as well,