Photo: Hill Country State Natural Area an hour west of San Antonio, TX. Taken March of 2015.
A little over two years ago, my wife and I got married. Since that time, we have been working hard on paying off debts and setting ourselves up on a solid financial footing. When we got married, I remember asking my wife if she was ok with us paying extra on our debts to get rid of them. She was fine with it. We were excited to find out last month that we were officially debt free. I feel that our debt freedom came to us, because we have worked as a team and make our decisions about money together. This is the best way to make financial decisions in a marriage.
Dave Ramsey always talks about there being two types of people in the world. There are savers and there are spenders. There are also nerds and free spirits. Each person is two of these and most of the time opposites marry. Interestingly, my wife and I are the exact opposite. I am the spender and she is the saver. I was the one to bring debt into the marriage and she brought in savings to the marriage. Weirdly, I am the nerd and my wife is the free spirit. She could care less at looking at financial spreadsheets, and I love looking at them and analyzing them. It's important to look at your marriage and see what type of person each member of the marriage represents. This will enlighten you in understanding why some people may act a certain way.
Since I am the natural spender, I need to write things down and hold myself accountable. This helps me keep my spending in check and reading financial blogs and books has made me more vigilant with finances. With all of this being said, I still discuss everything with my wife. We think it is important to be open and honest about all of our financial spending.
Honesty is a very important thing to have in a marriage. It's important, because you need to be able to trust your spouse. I trust my wife and she trusts me with all of her heart. This trust allows us to be honest with all things including money.
I really think that the fact that we work together has allowed us to reach debt freedom. We make a budget monthly (actually I make the budget, and then we look at it together). We discuss things that I may not have thought of. These things are then placed in the budget and the other items in the budget are then adjusted to leave us with zero at the end of the month (we use a zero-based budget*)
Things may come up during the month, and we ask each other if it is ok to make the purchase. We then will go back and update the budget. The idea is to keep each other in the loop with all purchases and make sure that the purchases are in the budget.
Teamwork is also important when it comes to paying off debt. I am working late this Friday to bring in extra money. This extra money could be used for savings or paying off debt. Before I agreed to work extra, I asked my wife if she was fine with it. She agreed. My wife also recently picked up overtime. She asked me before she picked up the shift and I said that it was fine. We both have a goal of reaching financial independence, so we are willing to work extra to reach this goal. We have a goal as a team and we work together to reach this goal.
Basically, if you are married, then you need to be working together on finances. Working as a team will help you reach your goals.