I grew up in a home where my mom and dad pinched for money quite often. My dad was (still is) a very hard worker and from my perspective they needed every cent to count.
When I was a teenager, my parents divorced and I saw them struggle over money and child support. This process left me feeling lonely and confused. When I got my first job, I didn’t know how to budget, or save a lot. I also started an addiction to buying clothes and eating out.
This continued until 5 years ago and more serious 2 years ago when Ben and I became very serious about our finances. When we set down a clear goal for our budget, I truly wanted to follow it. I struggled though because of years of impulse buying and feeling that I deserved the items I was buying. I was constantly justifying to Ben why I needed these things or convincing him we should eat out.
The first thing I needed to admit to myself, I was a impulse spender and that I used spending money to find joy. Although spending money to find joy is not always a bad thing, the way I was doing it was to fill a void. I also had to admit that we were eating out way to much which was blowing our budget out of the water.
The second thing I wanted to do was to get rid of the credit cards because for me that was a big trigger. I would spend and think “oh we have enough” and swipe the card. While we did have enough money to pay off the credit card each month, we were not saving anything for a house, savings, or emergency fund or paying of other debts. When I read Dave Ramsey’s book, it opened my eyes to the reality of a credit card and made me not want one even more.
Ben wanted to keep the cards due to the points back or cash back rewards but to me it was just not worth it. Credit cards can be a dangerous pit for many people and I was apart of that crowd. If you feel you need a credit card I suggest reading Dave Ramsey’s myths and truths about credit cards and credit scores first. I am not telling you that you are living wrong or judging you, but it’s always great to try different things to make your finances work for you.
Anyway, when we finally did get rid of the cards, I felt relief and knew that I would have to be extra careful not to spend money. This though was easier said than done. I constantly wanted to spend more than my play money. I struggled and pleaded with Ben on a couple occasions to let me spend more. This went on for months and months until God convicted me.
God said “Bethany you do realize your valuing money over your husband right? You are trying to fill a void that just can’t be filled with things and your stressing him out.” After that statement, things didn’t go to perfect right away but it hit me hard.
When we would get into a little tiff I would remember the words and look at my husbands face. He was stressed out because he wanted to please me but at the same time felt frustrated because I wasn’t keeping to the promise of our budget. He would say “do we really need these things?” I started to see how I was “stealing” from our finances and from our marriage.
The issue was I never felt content and happy for what I have. Not that I was ungrateful for what I had, I just wanted more and more. I wasn’t even following popular trends on cloths as well. I started working on filling an emotional void with Gods truth.
Many months ago I started praying that God would change my heart. I am no where near perfect but I am healing from past wounds. I am filling that void with truth and God. When I feel like an urge to buy, I actually think if it’s worth it to buy or is saving for a house, emergency fund, kids tuition, vacation, or savings worth it more. I stop and pray about most decisions I make and stop before I speak to ben about something I want. I know that I am headed to the right track. It’s been emotional for both of us but we know we are setting the foundations of good spending habits and healing from past mistakes and wounds.
What is some of your strengths? Your weaknesses?
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