Guest post from Leanne of Cooking With the Johstons
When I was a teenager, my parents divorced and I saw first-hand that the number one cause for divorce is money problems. As a young adult, I did what I knew and overspent.
At 24, I overdrew my checking account for the umpteenth time. What was different this time was that I had also gone over my limit on all four of my credit cards. I had no cash, no savings, and no safety net. While I’d spent years overspending and overdrawing, this was rock bottom.
Because of that experience, I created a budget. It was the first time I saw on paper that I was spending far more than I was earning and had absolutely nothing to show for it but a car payment, credit cards, and student loans.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered the Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. The concept of living below your means was completely foreign to me. I started to live differently. For the first time in my life, I had peace about money and my future.
Two years later, when I met my husband, I was well on track of being debt free within the year. When we married, my debt turned to our debt. Combined we had $117,000 and were making $40,000 a year; however, we had peace and a plan because we had a budget.
A budget saved our marriage before it even started — here’s why:
- Having a budget means having a plan — a budget frees us to tell our money what to do each month. We have a plan for every dollar that we earn. We have lots of dreams for the future and know we will achieve them because we have a plan.
- Having a budget means having peace — things will happen outside of your budget. Children get sick, windows break, and cars break down. A budget takes the emergency out of these situations. It brings peace into the financial inconveniences of life.
- Having a budget will change your future — without a plan, you will wander aimlessly. Without a budget, you will spend aimlessly with nothing to show for your efforts. A budget puts effort behind dreams.
- Having a budget helps you stay on the same page with your spouse or family — My husband and I know how much money we have, where it needs to be spent, and what our financial goals are because it is in black and white. If it’s not in the budget, it doesn’t get spent. If we want to spend money on something, we need to agree on it and add it to the budget.
My husband and I have incredible peace in our marriage because of our budget. Our plan allows us to give generously, save for our future, and be in control of our money. Our infant son will have the skills necessary to manage his money and make an impact in the world.
Leanne is an organizational whiz working with youth and young adults in Fort Worth, TX. She is a seminary graduate and a walking warrior. She’s the nerd who loves spreadsheets and finding a good deal. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband and infant son, Wesley. Visit her blog, Cooking With the Johstons.