Last week my husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a group of ladies about our personal experience with family finances. We are by no means financial wizards, however we do have some lessons we have learned over the years which I feel have helped us manage our finances better (I shared some of my savings tips and ways to be financially frugal in this eBook). Financial issues is one of the major issues in a marriage and causes many to divorce, which is extremely disheartening.
We are not financial experts, nor do the things we choose to do necessarily match your desires, but I wanted to share with you our biggest mistakes we have made in the past.
Here are five of the mistakes we shared that will surely bust your budget.
#1: Not Paying God First
As a Christian, this is one of the acts of obedience we are asked to do. In the years when I was a single mom I did not tithe, or I gave very little. Once I remarried, this was an area that both my husband and I agreed on, yet – it is still hard to FIRST give that money away, even before you have paid anything else. I will tell you, through our act of obedience and trusting that God will provide, He has shown himself faithful time and time again. You will bless others and will be blessed when you choose to trust God.
#2: Not Paying Yourself
This is another area where I didn’t practice “saving” until later in my life. When you choose to purposefully put money aside to plan for a “rainy day” or for back up spending that you may need, it will set you up for success. I lived paycheck to paycheck for many years and. honestly, overspent and borrowed to pay bills. Not the way to live. Learning to save was critical to maturing in managing finances.
#3: Secret Spending
Do you ever buy something without letting your spouse know? Do you hide clothes or household purchases so you don’t have to answer questions, and then bring them out later? Perhaps you have a secret bank account or keep cash stashed away. These are all signs that there is not complete financial honesty with your spouse and that is a recipe for trouble.
I did this to a small extent for a few years, but as soon as both my husband and I were set to move forward, it was no more.
#4: No Personal Funny Money
“Married couples should budget for each person to have a little pocket money and the freedom to have fun.” – Dave Ramsey
No matter how you structure your budget, both you and your spouse need to have some discretionary money that you can choose to spend however you like. Both my husband and I have a set amount per month that we get to spend on our own. What is included in this for me? My monthly massage, any music I purchase, lunch with friends, any outside beverage/food purchases that are exclusively mine, books, activities that are on my own, and similar. My husband has the same and we are held accountable for staying within that budget.
#5: Not Planning Meals
This is a BIG budget buster. When you do not have dinner planned and it is 4:00 in the afternoon and have no idea what you’re putting on the table, you have a higher chance of going out to eat or picking up expensive take-out! Planning is key to keep within the budget.
I love this Organic Meal Plan with ingredients purchased from Costco (10 Meals for $100), from $5 Dinners. I will be sharing a blog post on it soon! I am all about slow cooker meals to save time and they’re also friendly on the budget.
Emeals is also a true-tested friend with me, where you can get weekly meal plans delivered right to your inbox with menus, recipes, and a shopping list. You can choose from over 50 meal plan options too – all for pennies a day. You can even try it for FREE for two weeks!
BONUS #6: No Common Goals
No matter what season of life you are in, it is a huge help to have some type of common goal for your financial health for your family. Whether it is striving to get a 6 months back up savings in place, saving for a family vacation, or paying off your mortgage – these type of goals are important to remember when there will be times you choose to not do certain activities or spend in certain areas because you remember your larger plan. I encourage you to sit down with your spouse and set some financial goals and begin working – small baby steps. It starts there!
If you missed this wonderful collection of eBooks, eCourses, and bonuses on Homemaking earlier this year – for TWO days only you can grab it again in this FLASH sale! I have loved my copy and if you are interested in getting your finances in order, there are several great resources, including a copy of my eBook, Becoming a Frugalista.