Married with Money: 3 Unexpected Yet Pleasant Side Effects of Budgeting with Dave Ramsey
A year ago I started listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast and a few months later, I presented his philosophy of money management to my spouse. We decided to give it a try. Unlike all my past futile attempts at living on a budget, we got on a written budget and stuck to it.
If you work the plan, then the plan will work, right? I knew that if we tried to follow a plan halfway, it would only work halfway and we’d get frustrated and quit. We became so serious about it that we started using envelopes for cash and having monthly budget meetings. As a result, several unexpected things have happened in our marriage that makes things so much sweeter.
If you’re fighting about money, or just not on the same page, you are not alone. It’s common knowledge that money is the number one things that couples fight over and that lead to divorce. Seven in ten Americans are in debt (they spend more than they make) and you don’t have to look far to find a couple on the rocks over financial issues. If you’re thinking about getting on the same financial page with your spouse, I hope our results will encourage you to take the plunge.
1. Goodbye Judgment
When we started the envelop system, we budgeted that each of us would get “mad money” each month to spend on whatever we want. Whereas I used to gripe at his LEGO habit and he might get upset when I came home with yet another stack of books, we now give the other person free reign to spend their money however they like. It’s a very small amount compared to our overall incomes and is meant to be spent on anything discretionary (we use ours for haircuts, lunches out with coworkers, gifts to each other and anything else that is just for us). We can each feel free to bring home whatever we want without judgment from the other person. They spent their money and they only get so much to blow.
2. Hello Romance
When we bought each other gifts before budgeting, they went on the credit card and we’d pay them off together. If he bought a gift for me, it didn’t feel truly genuine because I had to help pay for it. Not anymore! Gifts come out of our mad money, so if I buy him something special it means that I had to give up something else. There is a sense of sacrifice and thoughtfulness that wasn’t there before. When you combine finances, this is the best way I can think of to keep gifts from being something that “we bought me.”
If financial woes are the main culprit of marital fighting, then being on the same page takes that threat out of the equation. Keeping our finances in order, agreeing to a written budget each month and both being aware of where our money is going has given us a whole new level of trust. We can work together as a team.We have seen the results in paid off vehicles and the disappearance of debt from our lives. We have faith in our ability to work as a team and know that we can tackle whatever life throws at us, which is an invaluable feeling.