Alissa and I got married on January 8, 2011. It was a beautiful “winter” day in Phoenix, the reason you move to the desert: 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky…perfect. We followed that up with a 10-day, all-inclusive honeymoon to Costa Rica. It was the kind of honeymoon you hear about in fairytales: breathtaking sunsets, swim-up bars, piña coladas flowing…unforgettable.
And then, after our first-class flight, we arrived home to our apartment in Phoenix. So, what was the first thing we did?
Budget. Sexy, isn’t it?
This is marriage. Well, I guess if you want a good one.
We’d heard throughout our marriage preparation that the number one reason marriages end in divorce is due to finances. Determined not to let money destroy what God had brought together, we decided to tackle this issue from the beginning.
So, we pulled out our notes on budgeting from Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, opened up an empty spreadsheet, and got to work.
Six hours later, and our first budget was complete.
We agonized through every painstaking detail:
- How much do we save each month for groceries?
- What do we do for big expenses like Christmas gifts that occur only once a year?
- How do we account for unexpected occurrences that can arise throughout the year like car repairs?
Sure it took us six hours the first time. But now? Now, we meet weekly for 5 minutes to track our expenses and monthly for 30 minutes to plan out the following month’s budget.
And not only has it made a difference for us financially, but it’s paid dividends in our marriage. Because we have a budget:
- We don’t waste money on useless things.
- We’ve been debt-free (except for our house) throughout our marriage.
- We communicate regularly about our money so there are no surprises.
- We are prepared for emergencies.
- We look at what purchases are truly a priority.
- We are able to give generously to organizations we believe in.
- And we’ve never had a fight about money.
Let me repeat that. In 5+ years of marriage, Alissa and I have never once had a fight about money. (And we’ve had our share of financial emergencies.)
I’m not sure what your situation is. Perhaps you’re single and think you don’t need a budget, like I used to. Perhaps you’re afraid to budget because you know it could mean some difficult conversations with your spouse. Or perhaps, you want to budget, but you just don’t know where to start.
Although I’m not a financial professional, if you’re interested, I’d be honored to help. Feel free to ask a question in the comments below, or you can always email me. And if you want to know any tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way, I’d be happy to share those too.
Because budgeting transformed our marriage. And I know it can transform yours.
Question: What are some questions you have about budgeting? (Share your thoughts and inspire others in the comments below.)