Commerce/Money has been at the center of the world since civilizations began. The beginning of alliances, the destruction of lives, and the awakening of giving have all arose around currency. So who are we to think we could control such an unruly beast? Well, we are the ones that give a piece of paper, metal, or trinkets a value, and therefore, in my mind we currently can control it. Now, I attended private college for 6yrs and graduated with over 100k in student loan debt. Unfortunately, No I did not accidentally add a second zero...that was my realty as I approached the beginning of my career and married life. There was a time when I could barely say that without sobbing and thought CDM (my then boyfriend and now husband) would never marry me and my massive nightmare. I thought I would never be able to control or handle my loans and the weight of that caused many restless nights. The greatest blessing I was given was by my mom when she recommended I read "Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. Whether your a college student or mother/father of five, this book will change the way you handle, think about, and talk about money. In the 5 years prior to my money awakening, CDM and I had shared many experiences and trials but never really discussed the future of our finances. I told CDM about the mounting loans I had incurred prior to our engagement and we established that we would have open dialogue about money from that point on. Collin was blessed with no student loan debt upon graduation and because of that my guilt mounted about what burden I was bringing to our relationship. Thankfully, Collin did not share those feelings and was thAnkful I was focused and had a plan based on Dave Ramsey's baby steps. I grew up in an environment where money topics set the stage for war, and communication was at a stale mate. I knew that CDM and I needed to sort out and discuss our finances before we vowed to forever. Our goal was to set ourselves up for success and unity so financial crises could be avoided. After meeting with a Dave Ramsey endorsed provider, 6 months before our wedding we sat down and formulated our separate budgets! Now I believe that if you are joining your lives you must join every portion... including your finances. Initial intention of joint failure limits your ability to succeed before you even begin.
As we progressed through our planning for the wedding we were forced to mindfully save for future payments together. We quickly learned that I was an obsessive saver and CDM had many expensive passions... It is okay to have dynamics in your marriage, and I believe when it comes to finances that difference provides a healthy spending compromise (assuming you discuss what your concepts of "large purchases" entail). We held monthly budget meetings ( it is not as horrid as it sounds!!!); we made them fun by talking about items we hoped to save for together, ways that our work would allow us to achieve bucket list getaways, and what we imagined we would feel like as we were debt free! We made all of our wedding payments on time and in cash (which enticed vendors to give us reduced rates), and in the wake of the most amazing day of my life, we traveled to our fully paid for Jamaican honeymoon with additional savings in our bank account! As the charismatic and at times outlandish actor Rob Schneider once said " you can do it!!!". Decide to be great; embrace the idea that God wants to provide for you all that you desire, and change the fate of your marriage and your family!!! Do not allow your past or your degree to limit you; William Konar, a survivor of Auschwitz death camp at the young age of approximately 16, arrived to America the sole refugee of his family and went on to establish and franchise the brand we know as CVS Pharmacy. Your engagement period and first few years of marriage are not a time for you to sit submissively by waiting for wealth and fortune to happen upon you; you must take an active role in all the Lord calls you to be and do. After 2 years of payments on my own salary and one year with our joint incomes, we have paid of $82,000 and intend on being debt free in another year and a half. Now you must be thinking that we make a whole ton of money, but let me assure you, CDM and I are "lower middle class", which has little to do with the fact that we have said no to countless dinners out, vacations, material desires, real estate purchases, and Christmas gifts and have taken on second per diem positions. We have chosen to sacrifice for a few years so we do not have to in a few more. Every couples time line and debt ratio is different but joining your incomes, communicating, and planning is the three worst things for credit card companies and Sallie Mae! You do not want those folks as your friends; you need to want them out of your life!!! Get started yesterday!!