The Constant Battle to Make Your Money Work for You
Sometimes it's hard to remember what it was like to be nearly $40,000 in debt, barely scraping by every month, and having to work second jobs to get ahead. It was hard work, but in 23 months we were able to pay it all off.
I like reflecting back on what we learned during that time, and while the journey will not be the same for you, I hope this might inspire you wherever you are in your journey. The most important thing that kept us going and got us started in the first place was committing to do it together.
Before we took Financial Peace University and before we started budgeting, we were absolutely terrible communicators. We were young, immature (still are sometimes), selfish (that too sometimes) and insecure with who we really were (dang, this too). This was a recipe for disaster. And I just thank God that he has rooted deep inside Kelsey and I a friendship that transcends all the other crap that gets in the way.
It's All About Communication
Being married is hard because communicating with someone else and truly becoming 'one' with them is nearly impossible. If we are not in constant, good communication with one another, we get snippy, cranky, frustrated and sometimes angry with one another.
It's easy to see why so many marriages end in divorce, or suffer for years, if they lack good communication. When you mix in finances, it just gets messier and more complicated. In fact, it fuels the fire when there are money issues.
It's so hard to work together, to find common ground and agree on things like how to spend your money. What's most important? What financial goals are you trying to achieve? We still struggle with this stuff. But we talk about it constantly, too. And it really helps us work things out.
"Winning at money is about 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge." --Dave Ramsey
I've found this to be true; and I think 80% might be a little low. With the amount of marketing thrown in our faces today, there are thousands of good decisions we have to make daily if we want to win with money. Sometimes they feel like sacrifices and we feel like we've won when we delay instant gratification of buying something we can't afford.
But those little decisions in the midst of our days can add up to strong discipline with our finances and propel us toward a bigger goal.
Once we finished paying off our student and vehicle loans, we were able to start building and climbing. We didn't build a mountain overnight, and in the big scope of things, we're still in our infancy of building in terms of our financial journey.
One Day at a Time
We just keep going. As we've started to invest heavily into our retirement accounts, start funding Rooney's college education, and make small dents into paying off our mortgage every month, we feel trapped. We once again feel like we're barely scraping by, because there's not much left over.
It's frustrating. We've paid off all our debts, we have an emergency fund, and now we have a bigger mountain to climb. But it's a noble one. We're starting to build our legacy. Not just financially, although it's a very important part of the legacy we want to leave. Not to be filthy rich, but to invest in greater-than-ourselves type things.
And to teach our children how to be good stewards of the gifts God gives us. To make some ripples to help change the world. To provide hope for others who may be where we once were. This is the reason we pour out our guts on the Internet. We want to help others by sharing what we are learning in life.
What spending behavior bugs the crap out of you? Something you just can't kick?
P.S. For us, it's eating out. This puts a constant struggle and strain on our food budget.