Money Matters

Posted in Marriage Monday with 8 comments

I once learned in one of my undergrad classes that the three leading causes for divorce are sex, kids, and MONEY.  While I can’t verify this statistic now, I do think it has truth. Those tend to be the hardest things for couples to agree on and also tend to be the most detrimental topics to disagree on. I’m no money expert, but I do have some tips to helping with money in your marriage.

  1. Say no to debt. Matt and I once attended a Dave Ramsey conference. He is really a wise man, especially when it comes to money, and I highly suggest you check him out. He has many tips to getting debt free but one thing he says is that cars and houses are the only thing you should ever go into debt for (though he really isn’t fond of car debt or long mortgages). What does this look like? Well, saying no to debt equals saying no to credit cards, at least when it comes to spending money you don’t have with them.

    Credit card companies still exist for a reason. They love your money and they take a lot of it. While these cards can be helpful in building up your credit and in times of emergencies, they should rarely be used for any other reason. And if it’s not for emergencies, you should have money in the bank to support what you are buying with them.

    Besides our newly acquired car (which is in fast motion to being paid off!), we are debt free and I can’t tell you the blessing that it is! There are so many times when we (or more often I) am tempted to just throw a few things on a card in order to get or to do something we want, but it’s not worth it. Save up, no matter what it’s for and experience the joy you receive from buying things in cash. I can’t tell you the freedom that it brings!

    Proverbs 22:7- The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Romans 13:8- Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

  2. Give! One of my favorite stories in the Bible comes from Mark 12:41-44. It is only 4 verses, but it tells a powerful story:

    Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

    Wouldn’t you just love to meet that woman? I would love to hear her response to “why?” I can only imagine her answer would be “Why not? It isn’t mine.”

    Matthew 6:19-24 discusses not storing up treasures in heaven. It says that we cannot serve both God and money. Giving is the answer to this problem. By giving we are saying, “It’s Yours, Lord. Take it.” And trusting that He will do great things. And giving does not mean only giving 10% to your church. In fact, our pastor preached a sermon not long ago telling us to pray and give where the Lord is leading, even if it is not to our church. Bold statement, right? But there are so many people and organizations that need your help. Pray and seek where the Lord is leading you. Invest in something that truly matters.

    While I do not think we should give to receive, I think you will find some crazy blessings coming your way when you do. We have found that in the most pressing financial times, God has always come through while we are still giving from what we have. It is awesome to see Him work in such tangible ways in our lives.

  3. Save. This is one we are really trying to figure out right now. And honestly, I don’t have many answers. We have so much going on with looking to buy a house in a few months, paying off the car, and doing everything possible to go on a nice vacation for our 5-year anniversary. But in the midst of it all, saving is still important. We could easily drain it for a nice vacation, but where would that leave us when house issues arise? Or when baby Baxter decides to make his/her way into the world (Let me be clear that there is no conceived baby B up to the writing of this post)? Or when my 7-year-old car needs its next repair? And none of those are including our future or any severe emergencies. No, saving cannot be put off no matter what the circumstances.

    So what does this look like? Well, it will be different for everyone, but save something every month… every week if you can! We decided to take a look at what we are spending and noticed that our weekly eating out could be scaled back a good deal. We made a budget for that area and are hoping to save a few hundred dollars a month from that alone! It’s possible; find a way!

  4. Live off of one income. Ooo… I see you squirming reading this one! Scary, huh? When I first heard it I thought so too. It was actually advice that my in-laws gave us before we got married and we’ve been doing it for the majority of our marriage. This does not mean that you cannot both work, but use the primary breadwinners salary for absolute costs (Food, shelter, clothing, etc.) but use the other spouse’s income for saving, for vacations, for wants (rather than needs) like furniture, and things of that nature. Why? Well, for starters, it helps with our tendency toward greed, un-necessary purchases, and from working too much. Secondly, it helps in times when the baby comes and mommy wants to stay home, or when one loses their job.

    Personally, this has been huge for us. When I decided to go to grad school, we were able to make it through 2 years of private education with no loans. We lived solely off of Matt’s income while I worked and paid off every dime of that looonnng and tiring education. ;) God was so good in that I lost my job, due to the family I worked for moving, the last week I needed the money to pay for my last bill for school. Since than I have been doing odds and ends while figuring out where the Lord wants me and while starting a new business (wedding consulting or relationship coaching, anyone?). Not having a steady income from me has it’s downsides, like struggling to pay for a nice vacation, but God has blessed us beyond belief and we have been comfortable living off of what He has given us through Matt. It may be hard but I encourage you to work towards it! It will be worth it!

    Hebrews 13:5- Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

  5. Communicate. I can’t tell you how important it is to communicate with your spouse when it comes to money. Know what the other is expecting, talk about how much you are spending, set a budget and work together on what it looks like to be good stewards. TALK, TALK, TALK ABOUT IT! I can’t stress that enough. I’ve recently talked to several couples that are struggling in this very area (all are newly weds) and it is the hardest concept for them to grasp together and to figure out. When we marry it goes from MY money to OUR money, but even more than that it should be HIS (God’s) money. Do not make this an opportunity to fight, but an opportunity to connect, to learn more about your spouse, and grow in your relationship and trust with the Lord together. Make a plan and follow it and I promise you will find a better financial state, a better marriage, and a better love for our God. Know that the Lord will provide and lean on Him and on one another as you walk in that faith.

    Matthew 6:31-33- Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 


Leave a Reply to Keith

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8 Comments

  1. Keith

    Great post! Especially #1 and #4, which have been cornerstones of our marriage from the beginning. I love the song “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” (inspired by the verses immediately preceding the ones you quote for #5), definitely applicable here!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thanks, Keith! I know number 4 is an especially hard one to do, but it really is worth it! I’m glad that it has been a blessing for you both as well.

      And that truly is an amazing hymn. A great reminder that He will provide for all our needs! Thanks again!

      Reply
  2. Kristen

    Wow! I wholeheartedly agree with all of your points. We have been working to pay off student loan debt— but those statistics graphics made me feel a lot better about where we stand financially!!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thanks, Kristen! So glad you agree! Keep pressing forward with those student loans! They are unfortunately a necessary evil for many. But yes, you probably are doing a whole lot better than most! I encourage you to pray for your debt (sounds weird, huh?) and watch how God provides. We have seen Him come through in some amazing ways! He is eager and willing to help.

      Hope you’ll keep visiting the site and posting! Love your site, by the way. I’m excited to see how your nursery turns out! :)
      Blessings,
      Erin

      Reply
  3. Lori Ferguson

    My favorite is #5. The more you talk about how and what and where the money goes – the easier it is to stay focused.

    When our kids wanted to get married, we asked them to take a premarital course, and the Financial Peace course. They were the youngest in the room (they told us) and all the participants said they’d wished that they’d taken the course much earlier…

    It took Robert (my hubby) and I almost 20 years to get a handle on the money thing – it’s so encouraging to see couples handle this aspect of marriage quickly!

    Great advice – great post!

    Reply
    • erinmbaxter

      Thanks, Lori! You are so right! Communication is key! I also agree that learning this concept early is incredibly helpful. I’m thankful that we learned from a young age from some amazing mentors in our lives as well as Dave Ramsey. While I have never taken the Financial Peace classes I’ve heard amazing things! It would be great to take one day.

      Thanks so much and God bless!
      Erin

      Reply
  4. Tina

    OK, now I keep replying to everything… :) I agree with you on EVERYTHING you wrote!

    I didn’t grow up in a Christian household and my parents were well-off. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a frugal (Christian) home and his mom stayed home with all 4 of them! My dad got laid off back in 2001 and that’s when everything went downhill for my parents.

    Anyway, just imagine the two of us coming to marriage with two completely different view on money, etc. All I knew was that I didn’t want to end up like my parents in debt, losing their home and almost dissolving their marriage.

    Sidenote: My husband is a math and economics major :) He’s the analytical/logical planner! I, on the other hand, thought a ‘CD’ was just a music disc!

    We lived off of his income from the start and are still doing so now (I stay at home with my son)– just to plan for this and we used the income I had for 4 years and invested it in CD’s and IMMA’s for a downpayment on our first house!

    We have no debt. We were able to pay off our house in 2 years. And we are coming up on the 6th year in our home :)

    God has blessed us beyond belief. We tithe freely at a fixed 15% and more if we’re led. We have different accounts at the same credit union for our savings that we use for bills, another for escrow and taxes, then another for the tithe to go in and the last one is our checking. The rest of his income is invested in different bonds and certificates, etc.

    We’ve been able to live in “financial freedom” for most of our life thus far (hurray- 10 years).

    My husband is awesome at this stuff as far as budgeting goes. I remember being excited every time I used our Excel spreadsheet to put in dollar amounts and watch the mortgage go down-down-down until we were paid off.

    It takes a lot of commitment and effort, but I believe it is worth it and God wants us to live in that freedom from debt in order for us to serve others and Himself. It belongs all to Him :)

    This is an AWESOME post! It is practical and it’s a good place to start for a lifetime of freedom from the “stuff” of our culture! I just read through Randy Alcorn’s ‘Treasure Principle’– i highly recommend it.

    Again, keep doing what you’re doing! ;)

    Reply