By Daniel Rodriguez | Dr. Budgets
With wedding season upon us, we are focusing on couples and money during the month of May! We kicked off with a success story from Owen and Amanda, who are working together to pay off their debt.
Their story got me thinking about how Dr. Budgets can help couples (specifically) with their money. Here are five ways I help couples and money mix:
A Compass: The first thing I do when I start working with my clients is identify strong financial goals. Sometimes, in the process of saving toward financial goals, people can get off track and need somebody to point them in the right direction. This is especially important with couples because each person in the relationship may get off track at different times, which will require a gentle reminder from me (as opposed to that reminder coming from the other person in the relationship).
A Scapegoat. One thing I hear from my couple clients is that my name comes up often when they make financial decisions. Before they decide to blow their dining out budget on an expensive meal, one person will ask “what would Dr. Budgets say?!” It may sound funny, but it starts a conversation that neither person may want to initiate (but know they should!). After working with me a short while it becomes easier to start conversations about money, but until then I’m happy to be the scapegoat.
A Resource. If you were to get an unexpected bonus or other source of income, would you know what you should do with it? Maybe you know what you want to do with it! My clients come to me with questions about “extra” money all the time. I think they find it helpful to have some guidance so they don’t spent it on something that is not in line with their goals, or contrary to what their other half thinks they should do with it!
A “Numbers Guy.” I love numbers because they make sense to me – I can categorize your spending and show you exactly where your money is going. But not everybody loves numbers like I do. Clients enjoy the clarity that comes with having their spending categorized because it removes the uncertainty of their spending – there’s no more “I think we spent $200 a month on dining out” because I can show them exactly how much they spent.
A Neutral Third Party. People spend money differently, and often times different types of spenders get married 🙂 One person in the relationship might frequently buy clothes and shoes so their partner thinks that they are the reason for their dwindling bank account (or mounting debt) – and it’s easy to point that finger! Until we sit down and look at the numbers and learn that the finger-pointer may be contributing to debt just as much as his/her partner. He/She might not make frequent purchases, but will drop a couple thousand dollars on a new entertainment system. As your money coach, I never judge – I simply bring awareness to your spending and put you on the right path to achieve your goals.
As you know by now, I LOVE helping my clients achieve their goals. When I work with clients, my focus is helping them achieve their goals, but sometimes having a money coach does even more than help to get them out of debt or save for a house. Money is the number one thing couples fight about, but when you’re talking about money and working together to save for financial goals, it’s one less thing to fight about! I’ve heard from so many of my couple clients that they’re talking about money – some for the first time ever! As a newlywed myself, hearing that makes me especially happy. For more tips this month about love and money check out our Dr. Budgets Facebook page.
- Published in Love and Marriage
By Daniel Rodriguez | Dr. Budgets
How do you and your spouse talk about money in your relationship? Owen and Amanda didn’t ever have real conversations about money, and it got them into debt. That all changed when they started working with Dr. Budgets. Here is their story…
Amanda and Owen are a young married couple and they’ve been together over 15 years.
Owen: She’s a business owner and I’m a working stiff. We work hard, and we both liked to spend money we didn’t have. We had some business startup debt and some student loan debt, but honestly, most of our debt was us just living beyond our means.
Amanda: We would encourage each other to spend extravagantly. We’d say “we don’t have the money but we should totally go on vacation!”
Owen: And we’d always say “We’ll make up for it next month.” It was like starting an exercise regimen because it would always be “We’ll start tomorrow” or “We can’t start now, it’s the middle of the month! We’ll start fresh next month.”
Amanda: Money was a pain in the butt. We didn’t talk about it that much because we didn’t want to acknowledge the gravity of the situation – if it was out of sight, out of mind. In the rare few moments when we did talk about money, our spending and our debt, we would say “We’ll do better next month.” We were in denial!
Owen: I would save a little bit more than she would, but it wasn’t structured – it was just what I felt I could save. And it wasn’t real savings because I would later find something to spend it on.
Amanda: We didn’t have much in savings, so it felt like a failure – maybe that’s another reason why we didn’t talk about it. It was kind of depressing because I’m an adult who was raised well by parents who saved money, so I would ask myself “How do I have this much debt and no savings? How did I get here?”
Deciding to Work with Dr. Budgets
Amanda: I initially started working with Dr. Budgets for the business side because I knew how much I was making and I somewhat knew where it was going, but I needed some guidance. After working with Daniel for my business, I wanted to hire him for our personal finances. I brought it up with Owen, and I think it was the push we needed to start having conversations about money.
Owen: Initially, I thought we could do it on our own because we should be able to do this. But then I realized that we couldn’t because… if we could, then why hadn’t we done it?
Working with Dr. Budgets
Owen: Working with Dr. Budgets has been life changing! It was uncomfortable at the beginning to have somebody poking around our stuff, but once you start discussing money, it becomes more real and it’s not the boogey man.
Amanda: Because we used to encourage each other to spend money, having a Money Coach to hold us accountable is key.
Owen: Looking at our spending was eye opening since it was the first time we looked at our expenses and where our money was going. Our recurring expenses we knew (the mortgage, utilities, etc.), but it was all the other stuff that added up.
Amanda: We learned how much money we averaged each month on discretionary spending and we had nothing to show for it – it was all eating out and going to movies. But there was never any judgment from our Money Coach. We felt that he was only interested in helping us.
Owen: The first couple of months we were shifting our habits without much progress. But then, it was only a few months before we started seeing a real difference! Now that we have a budget, we have all this extra money to put toward our debt.
Amanda: I’ve been surprised by how much we’ve been able to save without having to change our lifestyle at all. The changes we’ve made were not so drastic that we felt like we were sacrificing. We worked with Dr. Budgets to set the budget for ourselves – he didn’t assign us a budget. So now it’s much easier to make smarter choices.
Amanda: We’ve paid off debt and built up savings, which we didn’t have before. Going into our second year with Dr. Budgets, we already know it works, we’ve created the habits and have already seen the progress. This year we will make even more progress, and knowing we’re almost done is such a good feeling!!
Owen: Once we paid down our credit cards to a manageable amount, we were able to refinance that debt to a lower interest rate, which is really going to help us pay it down fas
Amanda: I like, too, that we talk about money now; I feel more involved. I’m not scared to talk about money at all. Before, we were taking the “out of sight, out of mind” approach, but inside we were each suffering. We didn’t want to bring it up because it made it real. Now, money is a lot less scary and stressful.ter.
Owen: The stress part of it is important. When there’s a clear process for our money, it’s easy and much less stressful.
Amanda: The other thing about working with Dr. Budgets is that our budget takes the guilt out of spending money on things. We know we have money set aside for traveling or whatever, so it’s okay to spend it. It’s not putting anything else at risk.
What would you tell someone in a similar situation to yours about Dr. Budgets?
Owen: You need to start with Dr. Budgets right away! It’s okay to get help.
Amanda: That’s a good one… it’s okay to get help. That’s what I tell everyone 🙂
Thank you for sharing your success story, Owen and Amanda. You went from going deeper into debt every year to paying down nearly $20,000 in debt in one year! Your success is an inspiration to those around you. If this story resembles your own and has inspired you to act, give us a call at (619) 800-3030 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
*For client confidentiality, we changed the names of the people to “Owen and Amanda.” Everything else is factual.
- Published in Success Stories