I’ve had this post sitting on the side for a while now and I got a big kick in the pants last night that is directly related to my thoughts here. Hope you enjoy it.
One of the things that I read on all sorts of relationship and finance blogs is that if nothing else, establishing financial goals is paramount to success, especially in marriage. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but a vast number of marriages are plagued with financial woes and that is something I never want to deal with.
How we’ve done it so far:
Since we are not married we have everything separate still. She does control the purse strings when it comes to the wedding spending, but we are planning it together so I do have a significant say in where that goes. For the most part isn’t my money anyhow. (Thank you Eric and Joy, and Mom and Dad! We are truly blessed to have you supporting us!) The costs of weddings are absurd to me. I regularly claim to know we would save money by not inviting anyone and heading down to the courthouse, but then I get a face full of “This has been my dream since I was little,” or “Why don’t you love me,” or, my personal least favorite, “No you can’t get the family sized bag of chips.”
So looking beyond the wedding, but backtracking to several months ago, I insisted that Jess attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class with me. If you are unfamiliar with it I cannot recommend it enough! He teaches a Biblically focused, common sense approach to money management through a “Baby Steps” program. While we are not following it to a ‘T’ now, we will when she is making money instead of hemorrhaging it.
The precipice is relentlessness attack on debt and slowly building wealth. He suggests making a zero-based budget and sticking to it. Easier said than done! Since this is not a finance blog I am just going to say a quick blurb on this: Take all the money you earn and assign it to some aspect of your life: bills, savings, spending, etc. My final word about budgets comes as an anecdote told by Mr. Ramsey, abridged by me: You cannot save for retirement if you eat your life’s savings at restaurants every month.
The short story on the baby steps is to have an emergency fund of 6 months of spending, paying down debt, saving for retirement, paying off your home (or saving for one), and building wealth and giving to charity. So here is my attestation to the power of the baby steps.
I have a meager emergency fund saved up; I am terrible about sticking to my budget so it isn’t as high as it should be. It would also be higher if I wouldn’t have spent so much on a certain piece of jewelry… Anyhow, yesterday evening Jess and I were at the local organic grocery store when, with no warning at all, the battery in my car died. My first step was to call AAA and get a tow truck sent to me. I called and talked to them while Jess went looking for someone that could jump me. Unfortunately, the good Samaritan and I were not able to get my car to start. I think I might have not grounded the black cable correctly, so inexplicably I could not get my car started. Once she left and the tow truck hooked up his jumping kit, my car started immediately.
I dropped Jess off at home and made a beeline for the auto parts store. The clerk tested my battery and it didn’t even have enough power to make the horn honk or lock my doors. Trying to get it to honk was the only fun part of this whole adventure. I ended up spending $154 on a new battery and didn’t bat an eye. Not only because it was something that I really needed for my day to day life, but because I have that money in the bank for a situation like this. I got home and wasn’t even in a bad mood over the whole thing. It’s a blessing to be able to not worry about “little” things like that.
On very happy news, I am writing this post on the heels of recently receiving a raise at work and getting a notification of my first payment from this blog. ($10!! Guess who’s going thrift shopping!) So I graciously thank everyone who has read this and continues to come back! Maybe some day I won’t need those raises and can just live off of this!
I am also working on a little section for the site of things that I am reading now. More updates on that to come.