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Woah, this was a lesson we needed. In fact, it made us actually want to teach a Financial Peace University Class to newlyweds once we get a handle on it ourselves. “Relating with Money” brought out a lot of stuff we had never dealt with as a couple (and we’ve been married over 20 years). We discovered we are both actually “nerds”.

Say what?

Yep. Now, I did test slightly higher in the nerd category (by 1 pt), but we were shocked to realize this. It did clear up a few issues for us though. We had a really long talk after going through the lesson. We knew we needed to divide up the responsibilities so both of our nerd spots got scratched. We looked at our strengths and weaknesses and decided to put our strengths to work for a change (imagine that).

I am still the one writing up the budget (scored “ultra-nerd”), and for the sake of the “budget committee meetings”, the husband will play the part of the “free spirit”. I need to work on shutting up and he needs to work on speaking up, so we felt like this would be a good setup to work on those things.

I cried during our first “budget committee meeting” and the husband got to practice giving those “non-sexual hugs” Dave mentioned in this week’s lesson. I’m going to have to develop a thicker skin when it comes to my budgeting skills and he’s going to need to learn how to constructively criticize. All kinds of opportunities for growth here (smile).

Still, because he is a nerd too, I will be getting input from him other than just at the weekly meetings (yes, we are going to have ours weekly, I’ll explain in a minute). He’s in charge of our “research department” and will be finding ways for us to cut our expenses as we go through this process.

Why a weekly meeting instead of monthly?

Well, first of all, I don’t budget monthly. I budget bi-weekly, so at a minimum, our meetings would fall every two weeks anyway. I do “forecast” further than those two weeks to make sure all the bills are covered for the month, but I “zero out” every two weeks (we’ll talk more about that next week I think).

Secondly, we learned through this week’s class that we are BOTH the saver AND the spender. Yep, that’s right, we flip-flop depending on how it serves our selfish desires in the moment. If I’m in saver-mode, he shifts to spender-mode and vice versa. We actually end up sabotaging the other’s efforts. Awesome.

So, in an effort to keep this from happening, we’ve agreed to meet each week to make sure we’re staying on target with our goals for the bi-weekly budget we laid out. We agreed this should help ensure neither of us is sabotaging the plan… or at least minimize the damage by catching it sooner.

Talking about the “why”

Another thing Dave mentioned in this week’s lesson was to “talk about the why”. My brain just glossed over it when he said it the first time, but it caught the husband’s attention. I’m so glad he insisted that we go back and watch that part again.

It turns out, the “why” helps us deal with the difficult decisions we have to make. We discussed this and came up with a list of reasons we want to handle our money differently than we have in the past. Here’s what our list looks like right now:

What: Living like no one else…
Why: …So we can live like no one else.
How will this look if we change our behavior:

  • Contentment – being content with what we have and being ok with not having what the world tells us we “deserve”. Focus less on “stuff” and more on what is really important to us (which we agree, isn’t “stuff” anymore).
  • Generosity – we want to be able to be more generous with others.
  • Peace – we want to feel at peace about our finances for a change – less worry.
  • Confidence – we want to have the confidence that comes with knowing how to manage what God has entrusted to us.
  • Trust – we want to learn to trust God no matter what happens (which I’m sure will require some card cutting in the coming weeks – eeeekkkk!).
  • Stronger Marriage – we want to work together instead of working against each other.
  • Dreams – we would like to be able to at least help our kids with their college/trade school expenses. We would like to be able to travel and/or afford some cool experiences. We would like to be able to actually “retire” and pursue other dreams.
  • Options – living like no one else = having choices instead of having them made for us.
  • Example – we want to set a better example for our kids and future generations.

This is what our list looks like so far, but we’ll add to it as other things come up. We posted the list in our bathroom so we would be reminded why we want to change in this area. Right now, “contentment” is at the top of that list because that is something which must change or we will keep repeating the same mistakes.

Honestly, we don’t know what can be accomplished, so our list might seem a bit short-sighted. Right now, we aren’t focusing as much on what we could do if we somehow ended up “wealthy” during this process. We just really want a heart change because we know it doesn’t matter how much money we have if our heart stays the same. We will still be discontent and lacking peace. However, if those things change, we’ll enjoy whatever we have so much more.

Week two was very revealing and a bit emotional. We do feel stronger for it though and are looking forward to week three.