A few years ago, Adam and I took a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Class. That class has saved us more fights than it has money, which means it was worth every penny and minute spent. Through that class, we became more financially literate, and more financially compatible.
We don’t agree with everything we learned in the class, and that’s ok. (Yay for critical thinking). There’s a very real tension for us between saving/providing for our future, and living radically/generously in the here and now. There’s a real tension between savoring the now and saving for future savoring. We struggle with thoughts like, “should we go on a vacation or a mission trip?” “Should we eliminate or drastically reduce our entertainment fund that allows us to spend time with people now, or save it so we can retire comfortable and spend time with people later?” “Should we invest this money in a 401k or invest this money in a clean water well? ” We have waffled back and forth between moments of selfishness, moments of poverty, and moments of generosity. Let’s just say we aren’t ready to write our book just yet.
And while we aren’t 100% Ramsey Converts, we did learn some amazing financial skills from FPU, and we’re grateful for that.
The best takeaway we learned: Married folks: Hash out your annual budget in public. I’m sad to report that we have had some knock down drag outs in the confines of our own home about our budget over the years. Money talk gets us all shades of fired up. We are both rather principled and opinionated people; add money to that and it’s game over.
BUT, it’s not really appropriate to yell in public. Have you ever seen 2 people fight in public? It’s downright awkward. So, Dave, in his great wisdom, charges couples to budget talk in public. We started doing that a few years ago, and it has completely changed our budgeting conversations.
Here’s what Dave won’t tell you, but it’s a Buzard bonus. Do you budget talks over margaritas. Make it a date. Don’t rush the money talk. Sit and chat about life, work on your pitcher, and THEN start your discussion. Being in public after cherishing some time with your spouse and savoring a tasty drink makes all parties a little more chill and pleasant. Plus, queso makes everything, even difficult conversations, more pleasant.
A few weeks ago, Adam and I sat down for our Margarita Budget 2013 Meeting. We budgeted so we can be generous. Knowing our limits and cutting out some non-essentials means we are able to spend differently. I’m really excited about 2013. I’m excited about being disciplined and being more generous at the same time.
How do you make a budget? What are your tips for pleasant planning?
How do you wrestle between financial wisdom and generous living?