We Answer Your Questions About Finances and Money In Marriage

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” ― Dave Ramsey

1 Corinthians 10:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

In this Podcast episode of Marriage After God we tackle your questions about finances! We asked those of you on Instagram to share your money questions with us. Thanks so much for sharing. We hope that this episode encourages you! Below you will find the episode to listen via itunes and youtube depending on what you like, or you can read the transcript!

Here are a list of some of the questions:

  1. How do you view debt that one person brought into the marriage as “ours” especially when the two of you are on different pages about spending before the debt is paid off?
  2. What do you recommend in terms of building multiple streams of income?
  3. How to tithe when financially struggling?
  4. What is your take on separate bank accounts in marriage?
  5. When budgeting do you allow for a savings amount for birthday gifts food ect or does it all come out of general?
  6. How do you budget with kids, one income, and a stay at home mom?

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– [Aaron] Hey, Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

– [Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

– [Aaron] And today we’re gonna answer your questions about finances. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.

– [Jennifer] I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.

– [Aaron] And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.

– [Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade.

– [Aaron] And so far, we have four young children.

– [Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years, through blogging and social media.

– [Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage and encouraging them to walk in faith every day.

– [Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life,

– [Aaron] Love.

– [Jennifer] And power.

– [Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.

– [Jennifer] Together.

– [Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.

– [Jennifer] This is Marriage After God.

– [Aaron] First and foremost, we always want to invite you to leave a star rating on the podcast. It helps other people find the podcast, it helps people learn about the podcast, it gets us in the rankings so other people can find it, it’s awesome. We’d appreciate if you could just scroll down to the bottom of the podcast app and hit a five-star rating, or actually whatever star rating you want to. And if you have time, you can leave us a text review. That’d be awesome. We read those, they encourage us, and we’d really appreciate that.

– [Jennifer] We also want you guys to know that this Marriage After God podcast is sponsored by our store, shop.marriageaftergod.com, and just to highlight one book bundle that we carry that we wrote for you guys is 31 Prayers for my Son and 31 Prayers for my Daughter, and we wrote these for you to help encourage your prayer life over your children, and we’re really excited about these books and we wanted you to know about them.

– [Aaron] For the icebreaker question, Jennifer, what is one thing you would do today to get out of debt if we had debt? Because we’re debt-free, but if we had debt today, what’s thing you’d do right now to help us get out of debt?

– [Jennifer] Okay. I think the first thing that comes to my mind is I see a small piece of paper and I just write a number on it, let’s say $100, and then I would take that day to go around the house and figure out what can I sell today, whether it’s through Facebook Marketplace or through my friends, text messages, or whatever. What can I get rid of today to make that $100 and then send it straight to the debt?

– [Aaron] Okay, I like that. I’ll one up you. I was thinking selling everything in the house.

– [Jennifer] You would.

– [Aaron] Well, because we have a lot of things and we don’t realize how much money is just sitting in the house with your furniture, and through, I wouldn’t be able to sell everything like our bed, but–

– [Jennifer] No, you said everything.

– [Aaron] Well, okay. We could sleep on the floor, people sleep on the floor.

– [Jennifer] Aaron would sell everything. I on the other hand would just get rid of stuff we don’t use.

– [Aaron] Well that’s how we were when we were in debt, babe.

– [Jennifer] We had little.

– [Aaron] We had very little, but we did sell almost everything we had. I think that’s what I would do. I would actually go through the house and I’d say “Okay, what can we get rid of?” And I’d probably, Dave Ramsey says it funny, he says, he says “Sell everything,” and so that your kids wonder if they’re next.

– [Jennifer] Oh my gosh, that’s terrible.

– [Aaron] That drastic. Go through everything and get rid of everything.

– [Jennifer] Speaking of Dave Ramsey, we have a quote of the day by him.

– [Aaron] Yeah, it’s if you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.

– [Jennifer] So you’re living like no one else. That sounds like a Marriage After God right there.

– [Aaron] Yeah, it’s true. It also reminds me of another quote that says if you want something you’ve never had, you gotta do something you’ve never done. I believe it’s by Thomas Jefferson, but other people say they don’t know who it’s by. But the idea is that if you make choices today that no one else is making, everyone chooses to be in debt, everyone chooses to spend money unwisely and just buy things and to use credit cards. Those are normal, everyone chooses that. But if we choose to live differently,

– [Jennifer] Radically.

– [Aaron] If we make choices like, well, this hurts and it’s painful, but no one’s doing this, what it does is it affords you a life that later on you can live like no one else is living. You make choices today that allow you to live a certain way later.

– [Jennifer] And I feel like that later comes so fast, just in the scheme of life.

– [Aaron] Life does fly by fast.

– [Jennifer] It might seem hard now, right, but this season is so short in comparison to the rest of later.

– [Aaron] Yeah, we have, I remember our season getting out of debt. In the middle of it, it was so daunting.

– [Jennifer] It seemed like a long, drawn-out thing.

– [Aaron] And it was like, this is never gonna get done.

– [Jennifer] But it wasn’t.

– [Aaron] But now it’s been behind us, what?

– [Jennifer] Eight, nine, ten years.

– [Aaron] Ten years. That was a long time ago. We’ve been debt-free for ten years now.

– [Jennifer] And we’re living in the later.

– [Aaron] We’re living in the later, so yeah, we get to live like no one else now because we made choices that no one else was making back then. And I remember people thinking we were weird. We didn’t have much. We had actually nothing. But I wouldn’t trade it.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, I don’t regret being debt-free.

– [Aaron] We encourage other people all the time. We’re gonna do it a lot in this episode actually.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, so speaking of this episode, we thought it would be fun to answer your guys’ questions on finance. We pulled on Instagram Live and just asked you what kind of questions you guys had about money and budgeting and all kinds of things, so today’s episode we are going to focus on your questions and trying to answer them.

– [Aaron] Yeah, so each one of these questions is from someone who follows us. And we’re gonna, we don’t have all the answers.

– [Jennifer] Nope.

– [Aaron] We will answer the best as we can, we’ll answer with scripture if we can, we will answer from experience, and we might say we don’t know on some of them. Because I’d rather say I don’t know than make up an answer that is false.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, and just right off the bat if we want to give some resources that you guys can look up for more information about finances, we do really like Dave Ramsey and just his whole ministry on helping people get out of debt,

– [Aaron] He’s helped a lot of people get out of debt.

– [Jennifer] Lead faithful lives in finances, so check him out, Financial Peace University is his thing. Also, Money Saving Mom is a great resource. She has a lot of good stuff, go check her out.

– [Aaron] Let’s start this episode. I want to read some scripture to give us a foundation of why we should even care about our finances, our money, getting out of debt, all of those things. And it’s found in 1 Corinthians 10, verses 24 through 27. “Do you not know that in a race, “all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? “So run that you may obtain it. “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. “They do it to receive a perishable wreath. “But we, an imperishable. “So I do not run aimlessly. “I do not box as one beating the air, “but I discipline my body and keep it under control “lest after preaching to others “I myself should be disqualified.” And what I love about this is Paul’s saying, he’s saying the race we’re running is this race of faith, it’s the race that we’re running toward heaven and with God and with the Holy Spirit, and our prize is imperishable. We’re not running to get a trophy, we’re running for an imperishable prize which is eternity with God. And Paul says here, he says “I don’t run aimlessly,” meaning he’s got a specific goal, he trains a certain way, he’s thoughtful about it and he knows what he’s doing. And then he says “I discipline my body “and keep it under control,” and again, the purpose of this is so that in our preaching, we’re not disqualified. The reason we talked about finances and getting out of debt and why these are important for the Christian to be aware of and to walk not aimlessly in is because we have a job to do in this world, and it’s to preach the Gospel. And part of preaching the Gospel and not being disqualified is are we an example? Do we have self-control in all things?

– [Jennifer] Yeah, including finances.

– [Aaron] Including finances. Or are we taken under by our own debt and our own cravings and desires and “Oh, I want that new car or I want that, “or I want to eat out all the time,” or whatever it is that sucks the money out of us and makes us incapacitated financially. Paul wants us to know that we shouldn’t be running aimlessly so we should have a plan, we should have a goal, we should have purpose in mind, and he wants to remind us that the Gospel that we’re preaching, we ourselves don’t want to be disqualified after we’ve preached it, so we need to be disciplined and self-disciplined and self-controlled. I just that’d be a good place to start.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, I love it, it’s really good, yeah.

– [Aaron] With this. It’s actually why we got out of debt. It’s part of our story. We left doing missions work. We’re doing the Lord’s work, we felt the Lord calling us home and saying “I want you debt-free so you can be free,” and we went home.

– [Jennifer] But we had a goal.

– [Aaron] Yeah, we went home specifically to get out of debt, so everything we did was focused around getting out of debt.

– [Jennifer] And I felt like that word aimlessly really stands out to me, because I feel like, because I feel like it’s really easy when you look at finances to almost avoid the hardship of finances or the things that weight us down, the stress that’s involved,

– [Aaron] Yeah, pretend it’s not there.

– [Jennifer] To pretend it’s not there or to ignore it, which leads to being aimless. If you’re not willing to face it and confront it, then the other option is to be aimless.

– [Aaron] Yeah, well there’s no goal, you’re floating, you’re like “Well, I’m gonna,”

– [Jennifer] Because if you have a goal, then you’re gonna be forced to look at what you have and say “Okay, this is how I get from point A to point B.”

– [Aaron] Yep, and we have to write those goals down too. We’ve just been talking about lists lately. And if you write it down, it becomes real. Just a quick tip, write down your goals, how much you want to pay off, when, when do you plan on getting out of debt, and then start hitting those goals and doing everything you can to hit them.

– [Jennifer] And even if you have a specific strategy and you guys figure out how you’re gonna do it, write that down too.

– [Aaron] Yep. Okay, let’s go right into question number one.

– [Jennifer] Okay, is there any rhyme or reason with any of these?

– [Aaron] No, it looks like you just put them in order from what you received them.

– [Jennifer] Okay, let’s do it.

– [Aaron] How do you view debt that one person brought into the marriage as ours, especially when the two of you are on different pages about spending before the debt is paid off?

– [Jennifer] Oh man, I feel like we answered this really good in our book, Marriage After God, because we share our different perspectives of money and the value it had in our lives, how we spent it, and this idea of debt.

– [Aaron] This was us. Whose debt did we have when we got married?

– [Jennifer] Well, I believed it was yours. It had your name written on it. But God had to teach me the lesson of what it meant to be ours.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and you married me, debt and all. You married me, sin and all. And we don’t get to marry someone but only choose the parts of them that we’re going to walk with and be one with. Now, when we have sin, those are things that need to be changed and repented of. Even the debt needs to be dealt with. There’s things that need to be dealt with, but we deal with it together.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, so to answer this question how do you view debt that one person brought in? View it as ours, so assume that responsibility as now ours, both of you working to do it, because I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t until God changed my heart and I received Him changing my heart on it being our debt that we actually were able to make change in knocking it off.

– [Aaron] Think about it, if you would have expected me just to deal with it, while you’re spending how you want. It was our money, right?

– [Jennifer] Yeah.

– [Aaron] But then if you spend it how you want, it would have made it that much harder for me to deal with it.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, you probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of debt.

– [Aaron] I would say yeah, ours, and then it says if we’re on different pages of spending,

– [Jennifer] Get on the same page.

– [Aaron] The reason you’re in debt and having a hard time paying debt off is because you’re on different pages about finances.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, get on the same page. That means that both of you are gonna have to make sacrifices to stay on that same page when it comes to spending, saving, paying off debt, all of it.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and a quick tip, make a rule. We made a rule, if there was anything over $25, we had to immediately bring it to, but when we were getting out of debt, we actually talked about everything that we spent.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, everything went to that.

– [Aaron] But now, we have rules about if it’s gonna cost so much, we actually ask permission. What happens though is it keeps us both accountable to what we’re spending, that it’s not just like “Oh, I accidentally spent $600, sorry,” that doesn’t happen.

– [Jennifer] Okay, I think we answered that one pretty good. Number two, what do you recommend in terms of building multiple streams of income?

– [Aaron] This is a cool question.

– [Jennifer] I also feel like in this day and age I feel like there is a lot of opportunity.

– [Aaron] Oh, we have infinite opportunities. People make money just on social media by not even selling anything, they just they post for other people and they make money.

– [Jennifer] Why do you think it’s a cool question?

– [Aaron] Well because we did this. The way we got out of debt was we started a photography business.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, we used our resources of what we had, which was a camera.

– [Aaron] We used our passion for photography and we had resources in relationships. We knew someone getting married and we were like “Hey, can we shoot your wedding?” And they said “Sure,” they needed a photographer, they didn’t have much money. Actually, we did that for free, they bought us a flash or something.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, I think the very first wedding we shot, we shot together for a flash, which she had to buy for us before the wedding.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and then I think we charged like $400, and I think it was like $600, and then it was like 850.

– [Jennifer] Each job that we got, we just, yeah, increased.

– [Aaron] Well we made a rule. We’re like “Every job, we’re gonna increase a little bit.” Until eventually we were making $1,200, $1,500 a wedding, and we were working Saturdays and Sundays, shooting families and weddings while working full-time jobs during the week.

– [Jennifer] It was crazy town.

– [Aaron] Now I want to say we had no kids back then.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, so we were able to.

– [Aaron] It would definitely look different today with having kids. But it is still possible. A couple of ideas we’ve had.

– [Jennifer] Well for starters just like you said about the seasons thing, I think it’s really important for couples to know that if you’re gonna go into a season of hard work, meaning either both of you or one of you is heavily working, there just needs to be an end date where you’re saying “Okay, we’re gonna sprint this season,”

– [Aaron] Yeah, this next six months we’re gonna work this hard.

– [Jennifer] We’re gonna work this hard and that way expectations are set and nobody can get mad at each other, and then there’s a season of rest. Don’t forget to give yourself that season of rest.

– [Aaron] Yeah, because you’ll, if you just get it working nights and weekends,

– [Jennifer] You’ll burn out.

– [Aaron] And all day, you’ll want–

– [Jennifer] Your family will burn out.

– [Aaron] You don’t want to do that. It’s a good reminder, and that’s how we’ve always looked at it, we did the photography thing for a season, it was a year and a half that we did it and we crushed hard at that, we were doing so much. By the end of it we hated weddings.

– [Jennifer] But it was fun.

– [Aaron] It was super fun, and really hard. We got out of debt though. The idea is, we have a few ideas. The first one that we have is publish a book. We make a living now off of books that we’ve published. And we learned how to do it on our own, but one of the little things we started a while ago is called bookworthy.com, it’s a course Jennifer and I made, teaching people how to self-publish, so if you’re interested and if you’re a writer, if you have children the book idea, if you do art or photography, publish a book, you might be able to make a little bit of money on Amazon. It’s actually free to do as long as you have all the time and energy and the talent to do it. Another one is start a small business based off skills or resources you and your husband have. Like our photography business.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, another one would be painting. If you like to paint, you can sell canvases of different things that you like to paint.

– [Aaron] Yeah, or if you have some tools for painting. I’ve known people to paint houses and make really good money on the weekends. Doing handyman work, there’s so many things that we have skill-wise that we don’t realize is actually valuable. There’s someone who needs what we have. Maybe as a couple write down the resources, the talents, the skills that you have and see how those can make money.

– [Jennifer] And you can utilize places like Etsy.com as a venue to sell your stuff.

– [Aaron] Yeah, we know someone that they just were really good at sewing little bows and start an Etsy store and sell a bunch of bows!

– [Jennifer] We also have people who’ve made a lot of money off, there’s a lot of companies out there that have great models. Things like Young Living.

– [Aaron] Yeah, they’ve made it really easy to sell anything. Those are just some ideas. There’s so many, so many ways to do it. But having a small business or doing some sort of side jobs it’s how we paid off all of our debt. And it does add levels of complexity to your life, but it’s totally doable, and it’s sometimes the only way to get out of debt. If your normal job doesn’t afford your enough financial liquidity to pay off debt, doing a side business for a while or a side job can definitely do that.

– [Jennifer] Okay, moving on to number three. How do you both feel about taking risks financially? Such as investing in something that might cost a lot up front, but also make money in the future. Which there’s no guarantee. Let’s just be straightforward.

– [Aaron] We always get told that, like this is a no-brainer, you just gotta start it. We always tell ourselves the best-case scenario and we don’t think practically through it, so I just wanted to read Luke 14:28 says “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, “does not first sit down and count the cost, “whether he has enough to complete it?” And I just wanted to remind us that wisdom should tell us “Okay, that sounds like a great idea, yes,” because it could totally be profitable to spend a little bit of money now, if you could figure out that it’s going to double or triple or whatever. But we gotta count the cost. What’s the time investment it’s gonna take? What’s the financial investment it’s gonna take? How long will it take to return that? How much time is it gonna take to maintain and build and grow? Those are all things that we have to think about when trying to take a financial risk. And then the, we’ve done this before. We’ve been really frugal in the past and avoided any sort of risk and we’ve also made mistakes in risk. And what would you say is the better side of it?

– [Jennifer] Well like you said, counting the cost. I think it’s always really important that we sit down and figure out how this will benefit our family or how this will hurt our family, and I think the times that we’ve made mistakes or the times that we don’t really count the cost,

– [Aaron] Yeah, and we rush into things. That’s been my fault, many a times.

– [Jennifer] Well, I wasn’t going to point the finger.

– [Aaron] Yeah it’s all right.

– [Jennifer] I was gonna say out of the two of us or how, because the question is how do you both feel about it, how do you feel about taking risks financially? What’s your process?

– [Aaron] I’m usually pretty safe, but I have made mistakes and it always comes back to I don’t fully think through it, I tell myself the best-case scenario, and often it’s a rush. And so now we have these rules of it’s a rush, it’s a no. For the most part. There’s been times, but usually if it’s a rush, it’s a no.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, when I think about this question, I think “Well, if it’s a risk for some sort of investment “or stocks or something like money-wise that way,” I always get really nervous and I’m like “Nope, I won’t do it,” but when it comes to a risk of taking a risk on someone or somebody’s talent, one of ours, something that we have a dream to do, that’s easier for me to say yes to, even if we waste a lot of money doing it. I don’t know why, but there’s something in my heart that just says “Let’s go for that.”

– [Aaron] Yeah, and if it could be a slow and minimal risk, that’s always, what we try and do is like how can we make this as little of risk as possible? Like if we’re gonna work with a new company that’s gonna print our books or advertise for us, or whatever it is. It’s all risk, technically, because they can mess up. You could buy the wrong thing, you could spend the wrong money, it just–

– [Jennifer] Would you say that it would be wise to also seek counsel on certain decisions, like maybe those close friends that you have, or–

– [Aaron] Oh 100%. Getting many wise counselors around you is the way we do battle and we win battles. I just wanted to read one more scripture on this. James 4:13-17 says: “Come now, you who say, “today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town “and spend a year there and trade and make a profit “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. “What is your life? “For you are a mist that appears “for a little time and then vanishes. “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. “All such boasting is evil. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, “for him it is sin.” I just wanted to bring this up because the other side of this is to remember that we have no control over tomorrow. We don’t know. I could invest today and the Lord can come tomorrow. We can, doesn’t mean not to, but James is telling us less have a heart of like “Well if the Lord wills it.” We’re gonna work, we’re gonna plan, we’re going to count the costs, we’re gonna get counsel, we’re gonna figure things out, but to be honest, if the Lord wants it to happen or not.

– [Jennifer] The other thing I want to add to this section about taking financial risks is you guys gotta be in unity when taking financial risks and don’t, not at the cost of your marriage. I don’t want people to jump into making decisions that, one spouse is for it, one spouse isn’t. I really think that there needs to be unity whenever you advance in making decisions like this.

– [Aaron] That’s a good point. Be in complete unity, have peace about it and I would say lastly, you should not taking a financial risk unless you have some extra money to play with.

– [Jennifer] To risk.

– [Aaron] If you’re literally not being able to buy groceries to risk this, that’s not a good strategy.

– [Jennifer] That’s good.

– [Aaron] It may mean sell some more things and say “Okay, we have this extra $1,000, “we can put it towards debt or we can start this thing, “but that $1,000, if it’s gone or not gone, “isn’t gonna hinder your family from being taken care of.”

– [Jennifer] That’s good, I’m glad you mentioned that. Okay, number four. Do you make a college fund for your children? If so, how much do you add to it each month?

– [Aaron] Do we have a college fund?

– [Jennifer] No. Short answer, no. Do we have a little bit of savings if they needed it? Sure, but we also want to encourage our kids, just in their future we talk about college. We want to encourage them to be hard workers, that if they needed to pay for their own college they could.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and teaching them the abilities that they have and how they can make money. We have an IRA that we put money into that could be used for school, but we don’t necessarily have a direct college fund.

– [Jennifer] And do we put money in it every month?

– [Aaron] We don’t put money in every month, we put it, for a while we were but we adjust that based off of how our income is. The next question is how do you feel about mortgages? Well I hate mortgages.

– [Jennifer] Everybody does.

– [Aaron] Who likes mortgages?

– [Jennifer] This is specifically, this couple was asking because they say “We are debt-free but live in NYC and it seems like “you can’t own a home without a mortgage. “Is that still being debt-free?” Having a mortgage?

– [Aaron] Well technically no, because you’re in debt. But some people would say “Well it’s good debt, “because it appreciates.” Well sure, as long the market is appreciating. There’s again, you don’t know what tomorrow’s gonna bring.

– [Jennifer] I feel like for the majority most people would say it doesn’t fall under the debt-free title.

– [Aaron] Yeah again, so we bought a house. We got a mortgage and we did the normal thing, but we had been debt-free for seven years before buying a house. There’s a season actually leading up to like six years into our debt-free-ness I didn’t even want to buy a house because I didn’t want to get in debt again. But you know, things change and we made a different decision and our goal was to treat that debt the same way we treated the other debt. Again, you have to count the costs and you have to make the decision that way and get wise counsel. Can you afford it? And then, because the way I looked at it is I was paying X amount of dollars for rent anyway, so if I could pay that to something I’m gonna own, that’s why we decided to buy a house finally.

– [Jennifer] We actually put a stipulation on it. You said we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna even look for a home to buy if the mortgage isn’t less than what we’re paying for rent.

– [Aaron] Yeah, that was a, man, because when we were looking it gets so easy to start looking outside your range.

– [Jennifer] Yeah and you keep going up and up.

– [Aaron] Like “Well it’s only another 10,000, “well, this is nicer.” I don’t know.

– [Jennifer] Are you repeating me?

– [Aaron] No! That’s my inside voice, I don’t know. But I did, I made us a hard stipulation. I said “I don’t want to buy a house “that mortgage’s gonna be more than our current rent.” And we did, we actually hit that. It took us a long time and it was really frustrating at times.

– [Jennifer] And we had to be patient, but I would just like the other questions I would say you guys have to be in unity if you are gonna go into that mortgage.

– [Aaron] Yeah and count the costs, it’s gonna be an investment that you have to put your own blood, sweat, and tears into.

– [Jennifer] Yeah.

– [Aaron] All right, cool, let’s move on. How do we not touch savings? It’s a pretty short question.

– [Jennifer] Bury it really deep in the backyard.

– [Aaron] If this is a self-control thing, then you need to learn self-control. Like if you’re just dipping in because you wanted to go out to eat or if you want to buy that thing–

– [Jennifer] Have that coffee.

– [Aaron] That’s, you’re never gonna be able to save if that’s how you are. If it’s a problem with you can’t pay your rent, dip into savings.

– [Jennifer] That’s what it’s there for.

– [Aaron] Yeah, that’s what it’s there for. I would say just practice. Give yourself goals. Say “We’re gonna save to this dollar amount, “and if we do, we’ll celebrate by spending a little bit, “1% of it.”

– [Jennifer] That’s a good idea.

– [Aaron] And that way you’re helping yourself, training yourself to go longer without dipping into your savings, and you have a goal you’re gonna hit.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, cool. Okay, number seven. How do you tithe when you’re financially struggling?

– [Aaron] How did we do it?

– [Jennifer] Sowe lived pretty radically, we still tithed even though we were struggling financially. We believed that everything that we got was God’s and we gave it back to him.

– [Aaron] All of it. Nobut we had this, I believed that generosity and giving and tithing were spiritual disciplines and I believed that I wanted to trust God. And I remember telling us, I said “Hey, the only place in the Bible that God tells His people “to test Him is in the Old Testament,” and He tells His people, He goes “Bring all the tithe “to the storehouse,” when He’s talking about the temple.

– [Jennifer] In Micah?

– [Aaron] Yeah, and He says “See that I will not open the floodgates of heaven,”

– [Jennifer] Or was it Malachi?

– [Aaron] Oh, it’s Malachi I think you’re right. It’s the last book of the Old Testament. And He just challenges them to challenge Him. Like “Hey, you do what you have been supposed to be doing “for all of these generations that you haven’t been doing it “and I will pour out my blessing on my people.” Now that was talking to the Jews, but God hasn’t changed. And so I looked at God and I said “I want to give. “I want to be a giver, I want to be generous, “I want to be a tither.” And what was awesome is a couple things happened. We were able to give and be generous, and it also changed our perspectives on money.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, we didn’t hold it so tightly.

– [Aaron] Which is the whole point of giving anyway, of knowing it’s all God’s. We actually, while we were trying to get out of debt, we made it a challenge to ourselves to see how much we could give. What is funny is it kept us from giving ourselves pretty much anything. We just had enough to live on and not only were we able to pay our debt off, but we were also able to give more than we ever were able to give. Not that that made us any more righteous or anything, it was our own personal challenge and it was pretty awesome to see that God still provided, God grew what we were able to give, and decreased our debt as we were faithful.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, I think one of the things we wanted to avoid too was, well once we were out of debt and we have money, is it gonna be harder for us to give then? You know what I mean? We wanted to build that habit–

– [Aaron] Well because the mentality’s always like “Oh I’ll give when I have more,” and I have a scripture to reference for this, but once I have more, that’s when I’ll give. And we’re not giving this as a command to anyone. You have to choose in your heart and decide in your heart what you’re gonna give and how you’re gonna give as a family, and that you are, at any level of giving, are you gonna trust God? Are you gonna seek Him and are you gonna be wise with your money? Because that’s what He wants from us. He wants us to be wise, not just frivolous and like “I’m just gonna throw it away, here’s that, “and oh, I can’t pay rent now,” no, be wise. If you want to give, pray and ask how you guys can give and ask God to change your hearts on what money means to you and where it goes and when it goes. And the verse I wanted to bring up about this is in Mark 12 and it’s about this Jesus recognizing how two different kinds of people are giving and he says “And he sat down opposite the treasury “and watched the people putting money into the offering box. “Many rich people put in large sums. “And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, “which make a penny. “And He called His disciples to Him and said to them “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more “than all these who are contributing to the offering box, “for they all contributed out of their abundance, “but she, out of her poverty, has put in everything she had, “all she had to live on.” And so just that mentality of once we have more then we’ll give, Jesus is showing us in this picture, he’s saying “Actually, she gave more out of her poverty “because she didn’t have much to give but she still gave.” Knowing that, if we have the mentality of one day we’ll give when we have more isn’t the right mentality to have. The right mentality to have is like “God is yours, teach me. “Teach me how to use it. “Where do you want it?”

– [Jennifer] Okay, number eight. What is your take on separate bank accounts and marriage?

– [Aaron] Well I think there’s a scripture that speaks clearly to this, and it’s in Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:8, Ephesians 5:31.

– [Jennifer] Hold on, those are a lot of verses.

– [Aaron] Oh, well they all say the same thing. It says the two shall become one. Our take is that it should just be, there’s one place that money goes, it’s our money, and we use it for God’s Kingdom.

– [Jennifer] And having the one bank account, it helps you in building that oneness and that unity and practicing and walking it out on a daily basis.

– [Aaron] Yeah so our perspective is you share a bank account. Now we have a savings account, we have a few accounts, but there’s not her money, my money.

– [Jennifer] No, we all have access and we all put into it and we all take out of it and we talk about it a lot.

– [Aaron] Yeah. Number nine, when budgeting, do you allow for a savings amount for birthday gifts, food, et cetera, or does it all come out of general?

– [Jennifer] Okay, so how we would do this is we would have in our budgeting we would account for food and even going out to eat, but then we’d just have a general fund where those kinds of things came out of. Birthday gifts and random things.

– [Aaron] Yeah, we called it our personal allowance, which was after we broke down all of our budget, whatever was left, which was usually nothing. Sometimes it was a little bit. But yeah, we’ve never been that specific, but you can totally get that specific. I know people that have broke their budget as specific as you can imagine.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, and I know having the app on our phone, the bank app has helped, because you’ll check right there as we’re checking out in line, making sure that we can afford that birthday gift or whatever it is extra that we were paying.

– [Aaron] If I have to transfer from savings or something like that. What’s number 10?

– [Jennifer] Number 10 is what percentage of the budget should be allowed for food, assuming that they’re talking about all food or just going out, I’m not really sure, but,

– [Aaron] If you’re in debt and you’re trying to get out of debt and you’re trying to save money, you just probably should not eat out. It’s way more expensive and if you’re going somewhere that’s cheaper than a restaurant, it’s probably not healthy. Eat at home, it’s cheaper, you can buy in bulk, you can organize it so your budget for food, our budget was always just food. And if we ate out, it came out of that budget, which hurt us because you have this eating out bill and then it took away from your groceries for that week.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, recently I was following someone on Instagram who posted a screenshot of a breakdown of what percentage of your budget should be for food, depending on your family size, and I thought it was really interesting. I don’t remember exactly where she got it from but if you just Googled it, it would show up.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and the way you can do this is go grocery shopping, and figure out what your normal grocery shopping list is and that’s your budget. If you need to break down your grocery shopping budget more and you can find, like, well we don’t need to get cereals this time, or pick the things that are less necessary or figure out how to buy things in bulk, but definitely if you’re trying to save money and get out of debt, grocery shopping, buying in bulk, freezing stuff is gonna be the best way to go and eating out should probably be put on the back burner for a while.

– [Jennifer] That’s funny, back burner, because we’re talking about making food at home. Don’t forget about it, don’t let it burn! Just kidding. Okay, number eleven. How much is a realistic amount to save each week?

– [Aaron] This is gonna be unique before we’ve seen a person’s budget. To be honest, we didn’t save a penny.

– [Jennifer] Until we were out of debt and beyond that.

– [Aaron] Yeah, my perspective on it is why are we saving money when we could be putting that money towards debt? Once we were out of debt, we started thinking about savings differently, but again, that’s gonna be dependent on your income, where you’re at, how much debt you have, and figuring out whatever percentage of your income can be saved, yeah. Number 12, my husband and I are in so much debt. We don’t know how to budget. Any advice, we want to be debt-free and not living paycheck to paycheck. My advice to this couple is get on the same page, start talking about it, get real. We have to recognize that we can’t just play with these things. If you need to stop eating out, there’s areas that you’re spending money that you shouldn’t. If it means finding a better job, start looking. Maybe your second job you have is looking for a better job. If you’re only making ends meet on this current job, you’re not getting enough hours, look for a better one. Right now we’re in the best economy if you’re looking for a job. And I know that’s easier said than done, but sometimes you just need to pull the Band-Aid off and realize, “Okay, this sore’s not getting healed. “We need to sit down, we need to write down everything. “Every penny, where it goes. “We need to start selling everything we have. “We need to start just,” boil your life down to what you need and scramble to get out of debt.

– [Jennifer] Also we shouldn’t neglect the power of prayer. I feel like there have been so many testimonies from our friend’s life and just our life of praying for our specific needs. What kind of job do you have and do you need that God could be fulfilling for you given the opportunity to open your eyes and show you and give you exactly what you need?

– [Aaron] And then start looking actively. Send resumes. Now don’t tell your current job that you’re doing that, because they might fire you, but that’s what I would do. I would start looking today. Number 13, we have three boys. How should we decide what they can and can’t do because of the budget? They love sports, music, et cetera.

– [Jennifer] Okay, so again, going back to the unity I feel like you and your husband, you and your spouse need to be on the same page about what the budget can allot for, where is there room to do stuff, and if the budget for that season doesn’t, doesn’t have room for those extra things, it’s gonna be hard, but you have to be able to say no and you just have to explain to your family what that means.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and our kids are not gonna fall apart, become less of citizens in this country and immoral because they don’t do sports. We sometimes have those draws of like “Well if they don’t do these things, “they’re gonna miss out on,” but we have to remember, there’s so many other ways that our kids will learn. Whatever skills they can learn in those sports or those activities.

– [Jennifer] And don’t forget that they’re also learning the discipline of being a good start with finances, and this is part of learning and they’ll have to know that in life, there’s seasons when you can’t do as much, and that has to be okay.

– [Aaron] Think about this, that sports is like a team sport thing, right? Getting out of debt’s a team sport. Your children are in your family, they’re on your team, and they need to be a part of that. And you can bring them in and you can say “Well, guys, we’re gonna go through a season “that’s gonna be hard, but we’re gonna do it together.”

– [Jennifer] Yeah, here’s the downside if you’re not doing it together. Let’s say, let’s say mom is pushing for the team sports and dad’s saying “Well, we can’t afford it this time,” what are the children gonna see? They’re gonna see division in the marriage, they’re gonna see–

– [Aaron] Yeah, and they’ll react to that.

– [Jennifer] And they’ll react to it and then they also may start to favor the parent who’s for them and for what the things that they want to do.

– [Aaron] Or worse become bitter towards the other parent.

– [Jennifer] Or become bitter towards the other parent. And we want to avoid that. At Marriage After God, understands the power of unity and doesn’t lose sight of that.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and so being on the same page again, as a couple, so that our children see our unity and strength and they will learn more from that than they’ll learn probably from any sport in my opinion.

– [Jennifer] Okay, number 14. What do you do for health insurance? We are self-employed and we’d love to hear what you do.

– [Aaron] For a long time, we were on, what was that company called? It was not, Samaritan’s Purse is one of them, yeah, it was called MediShare. It’s a Christian healthcare, it’s a shared thing where you put money in and that money helps other people in their bills and vice versa. We did that for a while, actually. There’s MediShare and then there’s Samaritan’s Purse and I know there’s a couple others, but just look for Christian shared health plans.

– [Jennifer] Number 15 is how do you navigate financial stress as a team? What are some ways, practical ways, that we can help each other when there’s financial stress?

– [Aaron] Lots of conversations about what’s going on. Planning together, writing things down, prayer, and just constantly reminding each other that we’re gonna get through it together, that we’re gonna do it together, that we’re gonna make choices together, and not getting off, out of hand and sneaking around and spending money over here or making choices over here behind each other’s backs, but actually–

– [Jennifer] Or arguing about it, right, in front of everyone.

– [Aaron] Or arguing about it, yeah, which has happened. But yeah, just that team, doing it together. Having the conversations at night, putting the strategies in place.

– [Jennifer] I think too, a huge win would be reminding each other of the future. We started out the episode, that later, living life later, what does that look like?

– [Aaron] We did this a lot.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, so envision for each other what that future looks like and enjoy that moment right then and there.

– [Aaron] Well and recognize like “Hey, what we’re doing right now is gonna give us “something else, it’s gonna give us something better, “the fruit it’s gonna bear is gonna be good,” and so that’s such a good reminder, because we did that. Because it was so hard at times, right in the middle of it, you’re like “Gosh, this is just too hard,” to be like “Hey, but just know in a few years, “this is gonna be so far behind us, “and we’re gonna be able to make choices “that we weren’t able to make before, “and it’s gonna feel so good and freeing,” so yeah, as a team, just reminding each other of what it’s gonna do, working hard at these things. We got a few more. Why don’t you let us know what the next? Okay, so we got a few more questions. Why don’t you hit the next question for us.

– [Jennifer] Okay, number 16 is what do you guys use for a budget? Which if they don’t know, Aaron does most of the budgeting, which I like, because I don’t really have the mental space right now to do it.

– [Aaron] There’s two parts to our budget. I’m gonna be honest, we don’t focus on our budget as much as we used to, as micro as we used to. But we still use a lot of the general disciplines, but when we were getting out of debt, man, I was looking at that thing every single day.

– [Jennifer] Yeah, heightenly aware.

– [Aaron] Yeah, so what I did is I just created a Google Sheet, a spreadsheet, or you can use Microsoft, what’s it called? Excel. And I literally wrote down on the sheet every single thing that we spend money on. I looked at our grocery bills to see how much we spent on groceries, I looked at our gas bills to see what our average was each month, and then I rounded them all up a little bit, because if it was like one month this high, one month it was low, I rounded them all up a little bit, and then I took the total and then I broke down by actual things that we owed, like bills, and then right there we found out what our budget was. It was like every month, to live, we needed $1,800 or $1,250 or whatever it was. And that was phone bill, that was gas, that was literally every single penny we had to spend to live. And then anything that was left over, I broke up in percentages. 10% to tithe, or 12%, whatever our number was, and then how much of it was gonna go to debt, actually no, so then whatever was left over I broke up into allowance and to tithe and savings. But for a while, allowance and savings was zero and tithe was the only thing that we had extra. That’s how we did it, and the second part of it was we opened up several different bank accounts. One was our bills bank accounts, so every penny that was owed to bills for the month went into that account and all our bills were paid from it. And then we had our savings account, our tithe account, and our allowance account. And based off the spreadsheet, we just put the money, it’s like the envelope system that Dave Ramsey does but we did it digitally. That’s how we budgeted.

– [Jennifer] Okay, these next few which we’re gonna wrap up with are all the same, so I’m gonna read them all and then we’ll try and answer them. 17 is how do you budget with kids with one income and a stay at home mom? Number 18 is I want to be a stay at home mom, but we are not sure we can afford it. What should we do? And number 19. Do you have any advice on seeing if you’re ready to go to a one-income household? How do you prepare to go to one income with a second baby? All surrounding that, one income, stay at home mom, one kid or more, how do you budget? How do you do it?

– [Aaron] Well, strict. Get real strict. Frugality. Learning, finding all the tricks of the trade of how to save money, how to couponing, and where’s the best place to grocery shop and getting hand-me-downs, clothes-wise and shopping at thrift stores if you need to. That’s, to be honest I always think like “Why are we buying brand new clothes? “These kids grow out of them so fast.”

– [Jennifer] Well we’ve saved a lot of ours.

– [Aaron] Yeah, we save our, oh, that’s frugality. We buy something and then we save it, and all of our kids get the same clothes.

– [Jennifer] We needed new ones when Olive came along, because she’s a girl.

– [Aaron] Just, there’s so many resources out there. There’s bloggers and YouTubers and Instagrammers that talk about this. And creating a strategy and praying through it, getting wisdom and advice, and then figuring out the process.

– [Jennifer] I think a really huge encouragement here would be if you’re preparing to go to that one-income household and mom’s gonna be staying at home or maybe mom’s already home and there’s another baby on the way and money just feels tight, in those seasons I would just encourage you to be reminded, both of you be reminded of your why. Why is mom staying at home? Because the ministry–

– [Aaron] What’s important for ya?

– [Jennifer] The ministry of raising children and managing a home and having attention there is so valuable. More valuable than having that extra income or having multiple streams of revenue just for the sake of building your guys’ financial security, and I just want to encourage those moms who are at home who are just working so hard to be home with their kids and to have that type of lifestyle, even if it means forsaking an extra income. Find a way to make it work and be motivated because of that value.

– [Aaron] Yeah, and then going back to the living paycheck to paycheck, be praying and actively looking for a better paying job. Maybe it’s gonna take some night school to learn a new skill, but work hard and let the family know that it’s gonna be a hard season until this date when things will change, because I’m gonna be in school or looking for a new job or working a new job or a second job. And figure those things out. And I do want to say, our current world has made it exceedingly difficult to do family the way it’s always been done. I just wanted to commiserate with that and I wanted to let everyone know to be praying through that and asking God to show them, and to reveal how they can make that happen in their home, if that’s the desire they have. That’s the end of our questions.

– [Jennifer] That wraps up the questions that you guys asked, and we just want to say thank you for sharing those questions with us. Hopefully we did them some justice and encouraged, send them some encouragement with how we answered them.

– [Aaron] Yeah. Before we pray for you guys, I just wanted to remind you that at Marriage After God, the whole reason we’re doing this is that we want to please God. We want to chase after His will for our lives. We want to be used by Him. We want our marriages to be used to grow His Kingdom. And a Marriage After God doesn’t neglect and doesn’t aimlessly go through life financially. We do these things with purpose and I know it can seem hard, and it is hard, but that’s what we’re doing, we’re doing hard things. And we’re doing it by the power of the Holy Spirit, and so we just want to encourage you to press on, to begin to learn self-control and learn to beat your bodies so that you’re not disqualified in this race. And know that we’re doing it with you.

– [Jennifer] Okay, we just want to ask that you join us in prayer. Dear Lord, thank you for everything you give to us. Thank you for our finances and thank you for our jobs so that we can provide for our families, so that we can give back to you and be generous with others. We pray we would be good stewards of all that you give to us especially money. We pray we would be faithful to use our money the way you want us to. Help us to be united in our marriage in the way that we spend, save, and give. Help us to make financial decisions with wisdom and with wise counsel. Please help us to live debt-free, and may our lives be a testimony to others of your faithfulness. May we be people who seek to use our finances to build your Kingdom, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Thank you guys so much for joining us this week and we’ll see you next time.

– [Narrator] Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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