I’m positive if you read my husband’s latest post on debt, you might think him insane and a little too polarized on the subject of debt and finances. Goodness knows we’ve encountered plenty of people along our journey who can’t seem to understand why we live the way we do. However, our seemingly offbeat perspective is actually not without balance.
If you have ever listened to Dave Ramsey or taken his course, you will have heard him describe two kinds of people: Nerds and Free Spirits. The nerd is the one who, while he or she may have debt, is more thoughtful before making purchases, will weigh pros and cons, acts more rationally toward money, and is the cautious decision maker. The free spirit, on the other hand, spends money on a whim, based on emotions (and good deals!), and often doesn’t keep track of where their bank account balance is! Together, these two kinds of people actually help balance the process of getting ahold of your finances. Take a stab at guessing which of the two resembles me!
Some of the couples who took Financial Peace University with us had to stop and think before labeling themselves or each other, but as for Ben and I, the choice was simple. After all, even before hearing about Dave Ramsey, Ben was the guy who would write in his budget that he picked up a dime off the sidewalk. I’m pretty sure I could fill up my gas tank just with the loose change in my car… Yep. I’m the free spirit! I always love a good deal (even if it’s for something I don’t need) and spending money definitely makes me feel good.
Good ol’ Dave says that when you put yourself on a budget and actually give each dollar a name, it often feels like you got a raise because you are all of a sudden tracking (and holding onto) money that used to fly out of your bank account! Let me tell you this is not always the case! It felt like the opposite for me. My method of spending and saving before I met Ben was to pay all my bills, fill up my car with gas, and then spend the rest! I’d often just use my debit card until it stopped working. Suddenly, I had to stop spending, plan ahead for meals rather than stopping at Starbucks whenever I felt like it. I definitely felt as though I had way less money than I did before. My free spirit felt caged.
It took a bit of work for Ben and I to get on the same page with our finances, but let me tell you, it was worth it! We took the class while we were engaged, so we never really experienced having discussions about money before we were equipped with Dave Ramsey’s tools. Now, Ben and I never have money fights, and if we do disagree, it’s usually because we’re struggling to understand each other because I’m approaching it from an emotional standpoint and he sees just the numbers. But every time we struggle, it only lasts a short while because we’ve been equipped with the ability to talk about it and have been given the language and platform to do so, thanks largely to Dave Ramsey.
Honestly, even though sometimes the budget feels like it’s putting my free spirit in a cage, the knowledge that I am provided for, that all of our money worries are gone forever, and that we have an incredible safety net even if the worst possible were to happen, means my spirit can fly even more freely. It’s like when God’s Word says that he prunes us so that we may bear fruit… sometimes a little pain, or restriction, is necessary for us to fully bloom and bear the kind of fruit He intends. And how much sweeter the results when we submit to Him!
In the end, I have found that I now appreciate my husband’s outlandish perspective on debt. It provides safety and security so that my free spirit can fly even higher! Metaphors aside, living a life without debt provides so much more peace of mind and even though it takes work, the work definitely pays off in the end! (ba dum ch)