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A few years ago there was a show called The Biggest Loser. I was obsessed with this show and I watched it every week and every season! The excitement to watch these 400 pound people do burpees and some of them fall off treadmills and puke the first week of the show to seeing them lose 300+ pounds in a matter of weeks. What really surprised me was that they didn’t just meet with a doctor during this process, they also met with Financial Advisor Suze Orman who did a financial assessment for them. She said those who were in a better relationship with money would have a better chance in keeping the weight off.
That made me think! My husband and I have been in a battle with our relationship with money since we got married. We are those 400 pound couples (figuratively, we aren’t that over weight.) that are learning to do burpees for the first time. I sit back and I look at our financial mess and I wonder how in the world did we get here?
How it all began
Let me explain our mess. We were living a life of self gratification. We went out to eat 2-3 times a week and sometimes it was to the steak house with a couple glasses of wine, we bought the shoes (you know the Tieks I had to have because they are so comfortable) on credit. All this was done so we would feel good, and enjoy life. You’ve been there too? All of this led to credit card debt, not a lot but enough to make us feel strangled. We had a house with a mortgage upside down. Then my husband lost his job. He was out of work for over a year.
When my husband finally was offered a job, it was only as a contractor. Shortly after working in the contract gig, he was hired by another company. Since then my husband’s salary has doubled and we still only have $5k in a savings account. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked we are supposed to have 3-6 months in a savings account.
What are we doing wrong?
This question goes through my mind every day! I finally figured it out. We aren’t talking ENOUGH! The communication we have isn’t enough to help us stay on track. We talk once a month about finances and hope and pray we stay on budget.
I am proposing to my husband we have weekly financial meetings. They don’t have to be long, 15 minutes tops so we can see what has been paid, what bills are coming and where we are with the incoming and outgoing money.
Our budget has too many holes. It is too loosie goosie. We need to tighten it up a bit. We could probably save some money on groceries or dine out less. Figure out where we can trim the fat. Maybe even go on the cash system.
Believe it or not, there is a lot of feelings behind finances. These feelings build up over time. There is resentment, anger, frustration for the person who is the money manager. Then for the person who isn’t the manager, there is frustration of not knowing where the money is going, defensiveness when they feel attacked because the other person feels like they should KNOW where the money is. It just get worse and then without fail there is anger from both sides. When you become honest with the feelings, and ask for forgiveness, and extend forgiveness change can begin.
May 2017 is the first month where we are working together on our finances. We have recognized we have a problem and we want to change. Our first step, examining our finances and see where the fat could be trimmed. We called and had our insurance reduced. We also agreed to go a whole month without dining out except on the birthday we have this month.
These are just baby step to change. We know that we have a ways to go before we will have more financial freedom. As the freedom comes, I know that we will become the winning couple that has a healthy relationship with money. The couple who can talk opening with each other about their feelings. The couple who has the 3-6 months emergency savings. What about you? How are you and your spouse doing with the financial conversation? Are you talking? Or are you fighting?
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.