Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Insufficient Funds

Sex, Money, and In-laws - most surveys say these are the top three topics that couples argue about and I'd say that is true, even if the core issues behind all three usually are more related to pride, selfishness, and self-centeredness.  90% of the time when couples come in arguing about one of these things I can usually help them best not by whipping out slides and spreadsheets on how to do them well but rather to point them back to what is really at the root and needing to be discussed - we're really talking about MY money, MY freedom, MY pleasure, MY body, MY not being controlled, MY family, etc.  If both people's hearts are in the right spot and they just need guidance then I can help people with the nuts and bolts of how to relate within extended families but I'm about as qualified to instruct people in financial matters as I am in lovemaking.  I can tell you how me and my wife do things (just financially) but I'm no expert.

In fact I'm a financial idiot, not because basic math eludes me but because willpower does, and I can rationalize my way into anything.  This lead to a scenario that probably only happened 5-10 times over the course of the 9 years I was responsible for running the family's finances, but each time it was mortifying.  It seemed to happen more often to my wife than me, but it was standing in the check-out line of the supermarket with a buggy full of groceries and no way to pay for them.  A good hour of life has already been invested in selecting just the right items and then apparently rough approximations of remaining checking balances and maxed out credit cards don't equate to a return on that time investment.  So you have to walk out of the store either staring blankly at your wallet hoping it might console you or looking around hoping you don't know anyone in the store before jumping back in the car and driving home empty handed.  Then later on you reach in the pantry to get something you purchased before you are once again reminded of your blunder as just because you picked something out doesn't mean it made it home with you.  I share this not only so I can be openly mocked by the greater world but because I have a hunch I'm not the only one who has been there or somewhere close.  The good news is you don't have to stay there, as my family will never be there again thanks to getting together with a financial counselor.

Our guy sat down with us and walked through what it actually looks like to construct an exhaustive budget and live by it, how to set aside money each month in savings for expenses that aren't monthly, and how to use a cash envelope system so you are going to the store with cash instead of a debit card and hopeful thoughts.  What this means for us is no longer living paycheck to paycheck, building savings, eliminating debt, and most of all a freedom that comes from being in charge of our money rather than our money being in charge of us.  You may be awesome at all this stuff and if so good for you, read a different blog entry, but if you are like me then stop rationalizing or getting more information and get guidance and accountability.  If you are in the Charlotte area contact Kim and Loree Heimbach at http://www.newhopefinancialcs.com/ or 704-604-3485. If you aren't then check out http://www.daveramsey.com/coaching/find-coach/ to find somebody in your area.


  1. YEA...............NEW HOPE AKA Kim and Lorre...the class is GREAT also for some of us that need more reinforcement and accountability!!! Boundaries for money...............WHAT A CONCEPT!!! WHO D THUNK IT!!!!!!!

  2. practical recommendation for people who struggle with quicken or similar digital budget tracking software: i discovered "ibank" - it's definitely financial software for visual people, complete with digital "envelope system". i can see what i actually have to work with right NOW and add more money with each paycheck vs. other software where you estimate what you will have each month. iBank: http://www.iggsoftware.com/ibank/