Finances In Marriage. Eek!

Cold, Hard Cash

Today I’m going to show you exactly how we organize the monthly cash flow in our home.   But first, a few preliminary words : )

#1 Reason For Divorce

Money problems are said to be the number one reason that married couples get divorced or at best, co-exist in a loveless marriage.  That is so sad.  Are we ready to put a stop to that nonsense.  How about if we get off our high horses, practice a little humility and consideration and make this area workable.

The devil just loves it when he can wreck marriages and families with this issue (or any issue.)  Because when he wrecks families – he wrecks the foundation of our society.   Almost any problem you see in society has it’s roots in the breakdown of the family.

Don’t Let The Devil Beat You At This Game

Don’t let pride, anger and resentment ruin your marriage.  You are God’s child (whether you know it or not) and because of that, you have the capacity to win over evil.  To resist evil.  We  have to crucify pride and other toxic emotions to be successful here, but we can do it!

It is all a matter of “Just how motivated are you?”  Do you want a joyous life?  Do you want less stress?  Less struggles with your hubby?

I Know Money In Marriage Is A Tough Area

I can easily say my husband and I spent the first 10 years of our marriage fussing and fuming about different aspects of money.  How to use it.  How to organize it.  How to save it, etc.  Well, we grew up in different families.  It’s no wonder.  And it stressed us both out to no end.

I Made Mistakes The First Time

I’ve told you that I was married once before.  In the late 80’s.  It was short, 2 years, and a big mistake.  We didn’t have children and we owned no property.  Thank the Lord.    I was pretty stupid and ignoring all of the red flags.  (Note: #1 Don’t ignore the red flags. #2 Hang out with that guy WITH your family.  That is when the flags really show up!)

Separate Accounts

Anyway, we always had our money in separate checking accounts.  We split all the bills as if we were roommates.  I will never forget a friend saying “If you don’t put your money together, you aren’t really married.” My feminist self (at that time) ignored that comment, but it would not ignore me.  She was completely right.

So #1 –  Put Your Money Together

Yes, you can do it!  I know it’s a hard thought for some of you who have not done it yet.  BUT you must learn to be dependent on each other and, Lord knows, I, the big-time career girl, resisted that COMPLETELY!  It is not just a tangible thing you are doing;  it is also an emotional and spiritual tie you are creating.

Whatever Your Reason For Keeping Your Money Separate;  It Ain’t Good Enough, Sis.

It isn’t the right thing to do if you really want to create a strong, unified family.  Got that?

So How Do We Actually Manage Money Together?

During those first 10 years of our marriage, we tried every which way to do our money.  I did the bills, he did them, we did them together, I did this part, he did that part, etc.

We have finally, finally come up with something that works very, very well for us.

And remember, my husband and I are both quite strong-willed people.  You get two strong wills together and fireworks are sure to happen.  If one of you is very passive, then you may not have issues in this area.  I’m not saying this will work for everyone, but I gotta think it will help some.

This Is Our Current Monthly Marriage Cash-Flow Plan

My husband is a self-employed attorney.  We have 3 main checking accounts.

  • “Business”  The money starts here.
  • “Home – Joint”  Money moves from “Business” to “Joint”
  • “Home – Allison”  Money moves from “Joint” to “Allison”

“Lucy, let me splain.” (Wasn’t “I love Lucy” Great?)

 

    1. At the beginning of each month, I transfer all our personal income (business profit) to our “Joint” checking account.  I leave an agreed upon amount in the “Business” account for Matt to conduct business.  As we are self-employed, each month’s income is different.  The very first thing we do, before anything else, is pay our tithe.  I write a check and mail it immediately.  Tithe literally means 10%.  We’ve been doing this for about 8 years and I could do an entire testimony about it, but I’m just going to say that God will bless you financially if you start giving back just 10%.  You will start to see supernatural things happen if you trust in this spiritual law.  It’s all His anyway.  He’s just letting you use 90%.

      Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.  -Proverbs 3:9-10

    2. Each month, the following bills are automatically deducted from our “Joint” checking account.  This includes:
      • Mortgage
      • Phone
      • Electric
      • Gas
      • Water
      • Any insurance
      • Any investment

It took me a little work to set those up, but it is so worth it to not have to concern ourselves with making sure the bill is paid on time, writing a check, mailing it, etc.  Of course, we just have to make sure money is in the bank : )

  1. Then I transfer an agreed upon amount from the “joint” checking account to the”Allison” checking account.   This is for things I pay for while Matt is at work.  In this account I have 6 categories. We have agreed how much should go into each category.
      • Groceries
      • Education (school stuff)
      • Snacks (The children and me – when Dad is not with us)
      • Miscellaneous
      • Babysitter (daytime)
      • Save (Anything I can save, I do with whatever I please – It’s not much right now as we are on a serious “get-out-of-debt” plan.  And so, I have to be diligently frugal, but it still gives me a sense of my own freedom.

    Husband knows “freedom” is my middle name so he figured out that I could get on board if I had a little wiggle room.   He likes this plan because he knows exactly what I will spend each month – no more, no less.  He doesn’t ask any questions.  He is not even a signature on the account (his choice.)  He just wants good food around the house and no more  discussions about money for these above categories.  It took us several months of adjusting to come to the right amounts.

  2. After I transfer this money into the “Allison” account, I go to the drive through bank.  I withdraw it all in cash.The Drive-Through BankI always wonder what the teller is thinking so I tell her about Dave Ramsey. They smile nicely.
  3. Teller window

    And I put it in this cool wallet we got from our Dave Ramsey class.

    Dave Ramsey Wallet

    It separates your money into categories.

    An envelope for each category.

    img_0820 You can write down what you spend.  This is their example.img_0818 You could create your own real easily, I’m sure. It is actually a fun challenge to spend only the amount in the envelope per month. “No babes. We cannot go to McDonald’s. Our snack category is used up. Or better yet, how about if we save our snack category for that new computer and eat at home! Yeah!”   Hopefully my exuberance rubs off on them!

    I decided to operate with cash instead of using my checkbook or debit card (stop using a credit card please!) when Dave Ramsey (in our class) said they have done studies and found that we register physical pain when we hand over our cash.  Whether it is to the grocery clerk, the gas attendant, or to buy a car.  We do not register this same physical pain when we use a check or a debit card.  I believe it is true!

  4. Next, (still at the drive-through bank,) I withdraw another amount of cash that we have agreed on and I put it in another set of envelopes that both my husband and I have access.  Some of these things we use monthly, and others are savings for later times. Our current categories are:
    • Home repairs and renovation
    • Dining
    • Date Night babysitter
    • Car Repair and Tires
    • Gas & Oil
    • Clothing
    • Gifts
    • Blow Money (after debt is paid off)
    • Miscellaneous (usually household stuff)
    • As time goes on we will probably add other categories.
  5. I go to husbands office once a week for about an hour or two (He is with the children).  I balance the checkbooks once a month and the other 3 weeks I just keep track of the checkbooks against the banks records.  With an irregular salary, we have found that we really need to keep a close watch or it can get out of control.  Presently, I will leave him a note as to everything I did e.g. transferring money between accounts or whatever, but we’ve decided we need to have a face to face meeting on this so we are now figuring out how that is going to happen.

How Our Grandparents Did It

Guys, this is how our grandparents handled their money. They saved cash in envelopes for different purposes.  A new roof in 20 years.  A new car in 10 years.  Christmas.

This is how people handled money before society went crazy with credit cards and started living way beyond their means.

What Were We Thinking?

Somehow people in their 20’s and 30’s think they are supposed to be living at a standard that their parents were living at in their 50’s and 60’s.  It just ain’t so.

I’m not saying don’t think big.  I love to think big.  We just have to have patience and do it the right way.  Ouch!  It hurts me too sometimes, but I am much better at it that I used to be!  And I feel like an adult being a good steward of what God gave us, rather than a child who has instant gratification problems.

In the end – we will have the freedom that comes with this kind of wisdom and we will have what Dave Ramsey calls “financial peace.” Peace in your heart.  Not stress.  Not fear.  Not crisis-thinking.

The Borrower Is Servant To The Lender – Proverbs 22:7

We are doing this so we can be free.  So we are not in bondage to someone or some institution.  So we can really live.  So we can really give.

And What If My Husband Doesn’t Like This Plan?

4 things:

  • First, pray that his heart will soften in this area and he will see that working together will benefit him too.
  • Second, find the right time to discuss it with him.  Anything you ever want to work out with him can be all about timing.
  • Third, admit your failures in this area to him.  Apologize. If you are sincere, eventually, if not right then, he will probably admit his failures too.  Be the example of a godly woman to him.
  • And fourth, be ok with a plan he comes up with.  Be respectful to his ideas.   And keep praying.  It can evolve into something that works well for your family.

Very soon I’m going to do a post about what Dave Ramsey calls the “6 steps to Financial Peace.”  I highly recommend that you find his class (lots of churches offer it) and take it as a couple.

God Bless You And Your Ability To Be Wise In Your Money Matters!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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9 thoughts on “Finances In Marriage. Eek!

  1. I also love Dave Ramsey. At OBA – Kaley had a six week study with Dave Ramsey on video!! YES!!! A great time for her to think about financial smarts!!

  2. Thank you! I am so inspired. I’ll be printing this to discuss with my husband.
    Most especially I love this part, “The very first thing we do, before anything else, is pay our tithe. I write a check and mail it immediately. Tithe literally means 10%. ”
    We have been faithfully paying tithes for the last 14 years. It is such a blessing.
    Thank you!

  3. Ebby, Im so glad to hear they are doing this in high school. Marriage is not that far away!

    Catherine, yes, in depth. Boy we have worked hard to get there. And yes, A wonderful Mothers Day. Thank you!

    Heidi, I’m so glad you are inspired AND I checked out your website and really, really like it. Wonderful pics and I love your crafty category! Great job on your kitchen! God Bless Everyone!

  4. Really Excellent! Love your emphasis on avoiding “instant gratification.” Recently we discussed with our children how we wanted to ride bikes when possible (and I don’t need to travel with all 8 of them at once). We showed them how it’s $10 to go get donuts on Saturday morning. Well, that’s $40 dollars a month, and $480 a year!!! That would buy ALL of them a new bike! Wow, were they inspired, and we were all reminded to avoid a “drive-thru” mindset, for anything, as far as that goes! :) Thank you!

  5. So I got married at 30 and was converting to Catholicism at the same time. If you don’t know I plow ahead in life. If I don’t know how to do it I go full force. Anyway we were in talking to the priest and he said “O most couples fight a lot about money” I thought to my self (mentally smirking) not my fiancee and I. We would not fight over money. We both have great jobs and no debt. O’ little did I know. Our families have totally different philosphies on money. Question did the Dave Ramsey thing help and did you go with hubby aka sweet lovins Matt.

  6. Jen,
    Love the bike story! Thank you.
    Mayme,
    Yes, Matt and I did go to the Ramsey class together. And a big “yes,” it did help. We had already gotten on the plan above just by trial and error, but the Ramsey class kind of sewed it up for us. It was the icing on the cake, though I highly recommend it for what ever stage you are. He does alot about men and women and how they think differently and how they can understand each other and work together. And then he gets into detail on about every subject you can think of that has to do with money. I could go on and on about it!