I have talked in the last few articles about the Dave Ramsay Money Makeover. I should probably go ahead and provide a disclaimer: I am not being endorsed or paid by Dave Ramsay! That would be great, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I thought I would write and share some of the struggles I’ve had with it so far.
It’s interesting—and annoying, that too—because I’ve always considered myself to be the “frugal” one, the one who was good with money. And while it’s true that I’ve kept our financial records and balanced our check book for many years of our marriage, I have come to see that I haven’t been managing our money near as well as I could have or as I thought. It’s disappointing to realize that, but humbling too.
I think it’s so easy to get into the habit of blaming your partner or circumstances for your financial state. Truth be told, lack of financial planning and lack of discipline could probably describe what happens to most people’s finances. I am not saying any of this to sound holier-than-thou; believe me, I have my own work to do, and have definitely have made my own mistakes.
My husband has been blamed for the state of our finances for a while, because I didn’t see how it could be my fault. Now I see it a bit more clearly. For one, we have a gas card. We thought it was OK if we only put gas on it, but part of the problem there is that we never paid attention to how much we were putting on—I gasped and grabbed for my heart nearly every month checking the balance—and didn’t care about staying in to save gas. Because, after all, if we needed it we could just put it on the card.
The card offers 15 cents off on every gallon of gas, but with the interest on purchases we were just breaking even. If you’re not saving any money there’s really no point to the card, is there? Truth is, make excuses as we might, credit cards keep us in the debt.
The other thing I struggle with is a grocery budget and set meal plan. I am sure plenty of you have this down to a science, but honestly, I am bad about planning two weeks ahead (which we have to do because of his pay cycles) and to me, a meal plan is a guarantee I have to cook every night. I am sure I will get used to it, but it’s hard right now. It’s so much easier to just go out to eat! But it goes without saying that this is cheaper, too.
I have trouble sticking to a grocery list. I never realized this about myself until my first shopping trip with a set in stone grocery budget. My budget is two hundred a month for a family of four. I don’t know yet if we can do it, and there might be a lot of sandwiches and Ramen until we get it figured out, but that’s what we started with. I like being able to grab whatever I want and just buy it! It’s hard to ignore that temptation!
Those are the things I have learned so far. I am looking forward—and dreading at the same time—learning more! May God help me, and my husband not kill me! Have a good week, everyone!