Financial Freedom Book Club: The Total Money Makeover Roadblocks

Welcome back book clubbers! Have you finished reading the book yet? Hopefully you’re at least several chapters into the book. Today we are going to discuss some of the roadblocks we encounter when getting started on our Money Makeover.

The Total Money Makeover Book Club Intro

Our focus was to create our January budget, track our spending for one week, and list all our debts.

Reality Check

If you did those three things, it may have hurt a little! It can be a real wake-up call when we see everything in black and white. Instead of finding out at the end of the month we have ‘more month than money,’ we are deciding in advance where to send our money. Budgeting actually gives us freedom and flexibility because we know we set aside money to buy the shirt at the store or cover an unexpected car repair bill. However, just knowing our financial picture isn’t enough.

Managing Money as a Couple

This brings us to our first hurdle: getting your spouse on board. If they aren’t involved in the financial management in your home, working together is your first step. Those of us *cough* who tend to be the spreadsheets & details half of your relationship are often married to the it-will-all-be-fine spouse. Dave calls these Nerds and Free Spirits. Free Spirits may be blissfully unaware of the true financial picture.

It can be difficult to sit down to go over the numbers for several reasons. Keep it brief, offering more details as your spouse wants them. As a Nerd in the relationship, you may want to cover every purchase and plan the entire budget. However, this is something you are going to do together! Free Spirits should not only understand how much debt there is and why certain budget categories are set, but this person should also change at least a couple budget areas before the month begins.

We have found it is much easier to discuss money in 5-15 minute bursts than to plan on sitting together for an hour at a time. We have begun working our discussions into the fabric of our lives much the way we do all our other decisions. Money doesn’t seem like a big, scary monster when you get straight to the facts and make decisions based on your long term goals. (Hint, the Dave Ramsey babysteps are your long term goals!)

The reverse may also be true: you may be ready to participate in money management but your spouse is the one who handles everything. A healthy marriage will have both individuals working together towards your future together. Make sure this includes your finances as well.

The Dreaded B Word

Our second hurdle often relates to accurately creating a monthly budget. You can see more of my thoughts on sticking with a budget in my guest post on MoneySavingMom.com. Just remember the key points: you must allocate every dollar when creating your budget. Creating a zero-based budget ensures you decide on every category. Leaving a cushion or large allocation for ‘miscellaneous’ creates room for arguments over money. If you thought that miscellaneous money was really a savings cushion and your spouse thought it was free for any spontaneous purchase, communication breaks down and arguments ensue.

What Could You Do If You Had No Payments

Finally, we listed all our debts, smallest to largest. This is the part of a debt-free journey where momentum can make or break you. The driving force behind our motivation to become debt free is Dave’s simple but life-changing thought – the light bulb moment if you will – what choices would you have with your money if you had no payments. If the only thing you knew you had to pay monthly was utilities, fuel, food, and clothing – can you even imagine the freedom that would be? Most of us in America have always had payments for rent or mortgage, cars, even furniture and electronics. It’s normal but normal in this country is broke! 

Once you have your debts listed, you know where you’re aiming. When a rebate check comes in the mail you forgot about, you can apply it to your Babystep to speed up your progress. When you’ve exhausted your budget for eating out that week and put your dinner in your slow cooker, you will almost certainly get a spontaneous invitation to dinner out with friends. Your budget and debt snowball list keep you on track for what will matter more in the long run: financial freedom! Take a raincheck for a night when you have replenished your budget for eating out. Then when you’re debt free, you can invite your friends and and treat them to dinner to celebrate.

Here is a link to a complete list and description of Dave Ramsey’s babysteps.

Do you and your spouse work together well to manage your money? Leave us a tip in the comments! 

Do you love your budgeting tool? Share a link or description with us!

Do you believe the babysteps Dave teaches must be done in the order he lists? Share with us the Babystep Number you’re on.

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