In our early years we were like every other couple and had lots of trouble communicating when it came to our finances. Add to this that we’re both big spenders and stubborn, and we had a big problem!
Unlike the other areas or your relationship I’m addressing in this series, we did actually sit down and talk about our finances. In every other area, I began to change myself and then over time Jeremy changed, too, without any discussion between us. However, with our finances, and rightly so, we did sit down and talk.
The number one factor in getting us to communicate about our finances was Financial Peace University (FPU)* with the Dave Ramsey group. I cannot over exaggerate how much this program taught us and how much we have benefited from it. Even though Jeremy wasn’t actually able to attend any of the meetings due to his travel schedule, we did sit down and discuss the homework and come up with a budget together.
Having a budget really helped us to get a grip on our money, begin snowballing our debt, and saving for emergencies. That emergency fund just by itself has saved us a lot of head ache. Car troubles? No problem. Just take money out of the emergency fund, and we’ll put more back in later. This comes in really handy when one of your cars is 15 years old.
I know there are a lot of different financial plans out there, but I prefer FPU for several reasons. The biggest one is that it’s like Weight Watchers for your finances. You take the class, which is offered at many churches for a small fee with a small group. When we took it, it was under $100, and some churches even have money set aside to sponsor those who can’t afford it. Over the few months you take the class that group becomes like your own little support team as you cheer each other on to your goals each week. I found this support group to be extremely helpful when we were getting started.
Dave also gives practical advice throughout the classes in the videos you watch and the workbook you work through. I had read the Financial Peace book, but it didn’t make sense to me because I’m not that kind of learner. However, after going through the course, I clearly understood and could easily communicate it all to Jeremy.
The Baby Steps plan was also extremely helpful. It helped us to keep on track and know what was next as we work through the program. We’ve completed our FPU class about 9 years ago and are about half way through the Baby Steps, though we “cheated” and didn’t do them all in order. Even so, we still are much better off than we were 9 years ago. We like everyone else used to really disagree about finances, but now we’re on the same page with similar goals.
If you, too, are having problems communicating about finances, don’t give up yet. There is hope. Find a program that works for you both and stick with it. More than the program, the important thing is to communicate about your finances with each other kindly and respectfully, and to get on the same page, so you can begin to move forward and reach your goals together.
You will not regret the time spent learning how to better manage your money as a team. At the very least, you can learn some good financial skills, and at the very most, it can bring peace not only to your finances but to your marriage as well.
*I have not been compensated in any way for this information. I simply love this program and wanted to pass the information along.
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