Dear Dave: My wife is so charged up after reading your books, and now she is determined to get us out of debt. I know this is good idea, but I just don’t have the passion for it she does. There are also some things I really don’t want to give up. Do you have some suggestions for getting motivated?
Dear Ken: Goals and dreams always have a better chance of coming true if you have a written game plan. Sit down with your wife at the beginning of each month and help her do a written budget. Give every dollar a name on paper before you spend anything.
Contrary to popular belief, doing a budget is not torture. It’s also not just a math exercise. It’s an opportunity for you both to have input on what you want to accomplish in life and how to make it happen. After two people are married they become “as one.” And that’s how decisions should be made in a marriage — facing all the problems, dreams and fears together.
Once you sit down and do a budget, I think you’ll see where you can cut back and make things happen that you thought were impossible before. You may have to give up a few things for a little while, but when you see how quickly you can get ahead by making your money behave, I’ve got a feeling you’ll get excited about the possibilities!
Dear Dave: We’ve followed your advice and put our kids on commissions instead of allowances. The problem is our 8-year-old. He never buys anything, and he seems to be very frugal by nature. Do you have any advice for teaching him it is OK to spend money sometimes?
Dear Stephen: You’re absolutely right for wanting to teach him wise spending habits. Each of us has the personality of being either a saver or a spender. As parents, we should help our kids grow in areas where they have weaknesses, and find ways to enhance their strengths.
Give him praise for being such a good saver, but gently encourage him to spend a little, too. Spending is one of the rewards of work and disciplined saving. You might urge him to pick out something he really wants and help him make a plan to save enough money to buy that item. Once he has enough money for the purchase, turn it into a celebration of reaching that goal.
There are three things you can do with money: spend it, save it and give it to others. Focusing too much, or too little, on any of these is not financially or spiritually healthy.