There is no right, or wrong answer and we can only share what has worked for us. As many of you may already know Murph was on board with the debt free journey 100%, but it took me about a full year into our journey to fully get on board. I am the spender in the relationship, and it took longer for me to come out from my denial and start paying back what we owed. Murph was so patient with me and I remember the first year of our debt free journey we were down to one car and commuting an hour each way in the car together, Murph would put on the Dave Ramsey podcast and I didn’t want anything to do with it. Murph would tell me to listen to Dave on my own and I never did. However, over the course of time – I began to understand the importance of our why and how financial freedom could change the trajectory of our lives and generations to come. I still don’t listen to Dave on a regular basis but do enjoy the show whenever I tune in with Murph.
1. Discussion of your Why or Whys
Over the last five-six years we’ve had many discussions of our why and whys. I think the process will open you up to want to have purpose behind what you’re doing and why you are doing it. The debt free journey is not easy and consistent conversations about our why helped us stay motivated to keep going.
2. Weekly Budget Meetings
On a weekly basis we sit down and review the budget. If payday falls on the week, we allocate our monies where necessary and agree to the budget. The budget becomes a contract between the two of us that we agree not to spend more than we have set-up in our zero-based budget. Now, this doesn’t mean our budget has been perfect. We like to have our budget fluid, so we can move money around from one category to the other, but at the end of the day we have an agreement that this is the plan for our money. A budget has become our permission to spend money not a restriction.
3. Consistent Communication
Communication is key in the debt payoff process. There have been many times over the last several years of doing a budget that one of us is out and wants to spend money, but we have an agreement that we will call or text each other when we spend, or we will enter the expense into our Every Dollar budgeting app. If questions come up about our finances, we have created a safe place to ask each other questions or share our ideas. We try not to make financial decisions until we are both on the same page. There have been times we have to have long drawn out conversations, disagreements, and compromise, but having healthy (sometimes heated) conversations has helped us have good communication about our finances.
4. Schedule Mini Celebrations
Date nights are a good example. For us, we work so many hours that every once and while we enjoy planning a night out for dinner and a movie to reward ourselves or celebrate a debt payoff. This is another way to stay motivated and spend some quality time together. During your celebrations is a good time to discuss your financial future together and what your dreams, goals, and aspirations are for the future.
Overall, like anything worth having in life it may take some time until your partner is on board. Be patient along the way. The amount of debt can feel overwhelming and easier to want to ignore. One of the number one reasons people get divorce is over finances, so let’s work towards patience, consistency, and practicing your financial plan. Even if the other person isn’t on board right now, have hope that what you’re doing will encourage the other person to come around. Everyone’s financial journey and relationship is unique, and comparison won’t help one bit.