I never thought it would happen, but I've been brainwashed by Dave Ramsey. I resisted for a long time. We have friends that have been under the Ramsey spell, but I promised myself I would never cave. Sure, he had some good ideas, but who wants to actually implement them? Debt-free? Whatever. No one is debt free and why does it matter anyway? My generation knows little about sacrifice or delayed gratification because we have plastic that we allow to bring us both security and happiness. We're slaves, but well-fed ones. And really, I'm better off than most people my age. Thank goodness I married a nerd.
I've spent years as a slave to stuff without even noticing my chains. I've chosen to be a slave to marketers who tell me that their products will in some way make my life better, instead of going to the One whom I know makes life rich and meaningful. I've settled for instant gratification and laziness. It's not even that we had exuberant amounts of debt; we just don't have freedom. Matt was always worried about money and I was always guilty about spending it. On top of that, I've had this thought of being blessed to bless others swirling around in my head for months now. Except when it comes to money I'm pretty selfish, which is an ugly thing to be. I certainly don't want to be an ugly woman. I don't want money to be about accumulating stuff, I truly want it to be about how I can use it to love God and others. That thought is slowly making it from my head to my heart.
I started tracking where my money went on a monthly basis and it honestly makes me sick. We (mostly me) spend thousands of dollars every year on straight up ish. Seriously, I don't know what I've been thinking. I mean, there's weeks where I've spent $30 a week on smoothies. That's a direct result of not using my brain. When I swipe my plastic card, it doesn't register with my little brain that I'm actually spending money. It only registers when I look at our credit card statement and see just how much money has trickled down my throat. I never thought I would become a cash carrier because I get points on my credit card. I wasn't going to allow Dave Ramsey to take my points away from me! Cash can't compete with that. Except statistically people spend an average of 12-18% more when they pay with a card instead of cash. Hmmm... I could probably call myself a statistic. Dangit. I now pay with cash and feel the burn of the six dollar smoothie. It's not like I can't ever have my overpriced drinks either. We just stick to a budget now. We plan for where our money goes. We tell it where to go. It's been hard work figuring all this out but is actually incredibly rewarding and freeing. In a couple months we'll be completely debt free. Then the only debt we will have will be the debt to love others. To bless as we've been blessed.
We're planning ahead and are on the same page. We're both actually involved in the process, which also means we both have a say in where our money goes. We're having healthy discussions about money which essentially lead to a better marriage. Winning! It's a lifestyle choice that takes discipline but feels oh so good. Sort of. I mean, I know it'll bring peace that spending foolishly won't bring, and who doesn't want just a little peace?