Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Confession.

Seth told me a story of a girl he knew who froze her credit card in a block of ice. That way, if she was making a purchase that was an "impulse buy" she had time to reeeeeally think about whether she needed it or not.

I need one credit card, on the rocks.

I am terrible at money managing. I am a horrible financier. I may appear like a nice girl from time to time, but just under the surface, you will find a plastic-wielding, checkbook register-ignoring, little Maven of Mammon.

Transparency is good for the soul.

I'm working on it. I promise you, I am. God is busy leading me into all truth--including the truth that I have to learn to get my spending under God's control.

Let me first say this in my own defense (as if there is one, but...), my mom was a hero and example in many ways, but she herself would have told you that she struggled with managing money as well. I was her little girl and she rarely told me no. She was never good at finances when it came to things like budgets. If I can say it politely, she had no limits! Honestly, Dad was financially savvy, so their views differed to say the least.

My mom passed on these things to me unintentionally--she desired for me to live within the limits, but children learn what they see. Now, I struggle to maintain the limits set in place for me. I may be in ministry and love the Lord, but that does not exclude me from having a sinful attitude toward money. It would be hypocritical of me to paint a prettier picture on this blog. This is part of who I am--but I am struggling to put my own sinful nature (the tendency to live beyond my means) to death in order that Christ may be made known through my finances as well as the rest of me.

Jesus reminds us that we must demonstrate our faithfulness: those who are faithful with little will be faithful with much. So it comes down to a lack of faithfulness as the "disease" and the bad money management as merely a symptom of sorts.

I desperately desire to be faithful in ALL THINGS. Especially when considering my future...I don't want to pass this financial struggle onto my children.

In fact, just last night, Seth and I had another conversation about finances. Considering this tops the list of things that cause dissension between married couples, we both want to be wise in talking it out before any commitments are made so that we are on the same page. What we DON'T want is to fight all through our lives about the same issue.

Seth is great with money. When I was praying for God to send me someone, I prayed that God would make his generous with his time and his resources. I see that in Seth. He also has a wisdom that comes from living on his own several years. This is of great benefit to me in many ways, because Seth is a lot more responsible than me when it comes to finances (and maybe everything else ?!?!?). God has placed his wisdom and temperament in my life to teach me more about being faithful. So our conversation now we hope will contribute to less "conversations" (of the raised-voice variety) later. Our decision is that Seth will handle the finances and I will work from a cash-only basis. He will teach me how to do run things just in case so if something happens and he can't, I can know what to do.

If it takes a block of icy goodness to help me, bring on the spending freeze!

A side note:
On the whole, I think that household responsibilities should be divided according to someone's set of gifts rather than gender for the most part. Since Seth has the gift of administration, he will be the one to take charge of those duties. Since I have the spiritual gift of chicken ring,I will be doing the majority of the cooking. (Kidding. But seriously. That chicken ring is gooood. Thanks for the recipe Candace!)

What do you think? Are finances an issue in your life or your marriage? How do you control your spending? How do you divide household chores and responsibilities?

P.S. Read Jon Acuff's take for a funny twist.


Chaffin Family said...

Wow this is big question. Scott is the organized and number guy. He balances everything and pays the bills. I am the one who lives with her heart on her sleeve and I would just continue giving to anyone in need and I could so easily get my self in trouble with the "I have checks left so I must have money left thought process". Looking back over our marriage we have learned from each other. I have learned to balance and spend wisely, to say no to this new or that new thing but I have a long way to go. Scott has learned to let go of the money and put it in God's hands and is becoming an wonderful steward with our money. We have learned great lessons like, Scott turns everything pink so I do the wash, and Scott is a way better cook so the fancy stuff is his. It is growing process but when God walks with you it seems to work itself out. There is speed bumps and from time to time feelings can get hurt but God is in control and he loves to teach us. Keep the gender thing out of it and use your gifts and you are on the right track to a healthy marriage. Kim

Carol said...

Pretty appropriate topic, considering I just realized I lost my debit card!! After just having my wallet stolen this summer, I panicked. I finally realized I used my card to get money for the parking garage at Riley on the way out after Andrew's surgery. After about 12 phone calls, I finally learned that if the machine is inactive for 10 seconds, your debit card is sucked back in and shredded. There's apparently no way to tell if this is the case or not, so they just suggested I cancel the card. Thankfully, it hasn't been used so it's probably safe to assume it's shredded in the machine. The real kicker is I gave the pastor my validated parking since I appreciated him coming up for the surgery. :) I stopped and got cash so we could pay to get out of the garage, then we left. GRRR! Guess I could say it's Seth's fault? Nah, only I could be so dingy, even while trying to be nice to someone else. Sigh...

Shannon said...

Hey Lauren!

I think you're on an awesome start with the whole finaces in a relationship thing b/c you want to work together... and finding out what works best for the two of you is the key.

From my experience, it takes time and a lot of communication to get two individuals on the same page when it comes to finances in the marriage. In our situation, one is more of the organizer/saver and the other the giver/spender. (Ironically, I think this is often the case!) We have learned from one another's strengths how to budget and how to find freedom in giving.

I think you're off to a good start - realizing where you're weak and he's strong... and it is never a one-sided street so there will be many financial strengths you'll bring to the table too!

Thanks for sharing!

Elle MD said...

In 2001, just two months after buying my first house as a single parent of a 10 year old, I was laid off work. Two months later, 9/11 happened. If you remember, the economy wasn't good and the job market was terrible. Ultimately, I was unemployed for nine months. Lost my house, lost any semblance of a decent credit rating, and nearly lost my mind. I felt that losing my house was a sure sign of failure. But once I finally went back to work, I was making as much money as I did before I was laid off. How blessed am I?! But NOW I had the 'luxury' of using the month that USED to be my house payment to catch up with EVERYTHING ELSE. I paid off every debt that I had over the next seven months...only because I didn't have to make a house payment and I was still able to stay in that house until the sheriff's sale. There were other blessings that came my way, making it easier for me to catch up and be debt-free...and I took advantage of most of them. I swore I was never going to have debt again. But that didn't last forever. I am buying a home (again! who would have thought I could do that - again as a single parent of a teenager - after a foreclosure?). And I have a car loan. But I do not have one credit card. I've considered getting a debit card for my checking account. But I figure if I've gone this long without the plastic, I can continue to go on without it. And let me tell you, it's VERY cool at Christmas to know that not only is my Christmas shopping done, it's ALL PAID FOR too. : )