Today marks four amazing years of being Taylor Clyde’s wife, so before I talk about living with a “Budget Buster” (aka my husband), I want to take the moment, to say,
“Happy Anniversary Babe! Thank you for being my biggest support, my best friend, and my teammate for the past four years. I can’t wait to see where our marriage takes us from here!”.
Surprise, surprise. The main “stress factor” in our marriage revolves around finances. When I first graduated this past December, I quickly started reading any finance book I could get ahold of because I knew in six short months the FedLoan people were coming to collect from me, then six months after that, they were coming for my husband!
After reading my first couple books on finances, I decided to go with the Dave Ramsey method to get out of debt as quickly as possible! Here is the list of Baby Steps that Dave recommends for getting out of debt:
- Baby Step 1: $1,000 cash in a beginner emergency fund
- Baby Step 2: Use the debt snowball to pay off all your debt except the house
- Baby Step 3: Build a fully funded emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of expenses
- Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income into retirement
- Baby Step 5: Start saving for college (if you have children)
- Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early
- Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give generously
Baby Step 1 was easy enough considering we had more than that in our savings account. It is Baby Step 2 that is the stress factor in our marriage. In order to do the “true” Dave Ramsey method, we drained our savings account to just $1,000 for the emergency fund and put the rest of it to “snowball” our debt.
The key in Baby Step two is to get, what Dave calls it “gazelle intensified” when you are paying your debt down. Meaning, if you were a gazelle, and there was a cheetah out to get you, you would run with everything you got to get away from the said cheetah. In this context, we are the gazelle, and the debt is the cheetah, so the mindset is, get out of debt with everything you got! After reading Dave’s book “The Total Money Makeover”, I got into gazelle mode. I was ready “To Live Like No One Else, So later I could Live Like No One Else”. I became the walking poster child for Dave Ramsey, too bad my husband had a different opinion than I did.
The wonderful thing about marriage is, you know longer get to do life or make decisions by yourself. Meaning, that just because I was on board to get out of debt ASAP, didn’t mean that Taylor wanted to be the first mate on my Dave Ramsey boat. Even though I am technically “in charge” of our budget, it didn’t give me full power and control of our finance boat.
So what do you do, when budgeting is life for one spouse, but the other spouse has self-proclaimed himself as the “budget buster”?
I believe the best and most difficult way to be successful in budgeting with your spouse is being able to compromise. This was hard for me because I wanted to be an extreme “”throw all extra money towards debt”, but my husband loves to enjoy the finer things in life a little more. Examples: going out to eat, vacations, games, anything Apple product related, etc.
When you have two extremes like this, compromising is the only thing you can do. I quickly learned this after getting frustrated over every “extra” dollar Taylor spent. Even to this day, I have to remind myself that if we don’t make triple the payment on our student loans each month, life will go on. Now after many frustrating conversations, I have learned to budget fun money in our finances.
We have a budget labeled “Sunday Dinners” where I set aside money every month for us to go out to eat after church every Sunday. As well as Taylor and I both get weekly “Allowances” we get to spend on going out to eat or save it for a new outfit down the road. I wish I could say that we stick to the budget every month, but the reality is, we BOTH go over. Some months are great, others months we have had complete fails (thankfully we have more great months than fail months). It is because of the months we fail, I learned that we really needed to do our budget together.
By doing our budget together, and deciding together where the money goes, it is easier to stick to it because we both have invested time into it. Compromising may seem like the cliche answer to living with a budget buster, but if I didn’t give Taylor an inch, he wouldn’t have gone the mile he has on us paying off our debt.
We still have a long way to go in paying off our debt ($57,794.43 to be exact), but that is a long way from the $75,000 we started from. I know I don’t tell my husband enough, but I am proud of how far he has come, and myself as well. If it wasn’t for Taylor, our marriage would be all work and no play. He is the perfect balance for me in not only the financial part of our marriage, but he also keeps me grounded, and help me focus on the more positive things in life.
All in all, I guess living with a budget buster isn’t as bad as it could be. At least I can say that life is a lot more colorful with Taylor in it!
Questions For You:
- How have you had to compromise with your finances?
- What do you think is the key for budgeting when you and your spouse are on different pages?