The emotional drain being in debt creates is in most cases worse than actually being in debt.
I'll make it clear that my husband and I are currently in financial crisis so you understand that I'm not writing without experience. In our marriage, we've been financially stable and we've been at the bottom of the barrel, and it seems rather than having an even keel where our money is concerned we've been on a roller coaster ride. When things are good, they're really good and when they're bad, we hold on and scream as the coaster dips us down and spins us around threatening our grip on reality.
I doubt you'll find any answers as to how to fix the money problems here, I haven't got there yet. More than anything, I want to address the issues these financial woes cause to you, your spouse, and your family. Money, taxes, checkbooks, bills, they all make me tense and angry. When I sit down with the pencil and calculator, everyone scatters.
As time goes by, I realize that I am allowing this inanimate object supreme control over me. Decisions need to be made almost daily about money. We need gas in the car, dinner on the table, donations for church, clothes for the kids, birthday presents for the friends, you know the drill. For years, my husband and I have let the money, the paycheck, determine our life choices instead of the other way around. We've skimped on groceries to pay for electric bills, shopped at Goodwill, bought clearance for just about everything, avoided talk of vacations, and freaked at car break-downs and home repair needs. We've fought and cried and wanted to give up. Only now, after twelve years together, are we learning that it has been our attitude toward money that has been the problem.
When we let our money control us, we are truly treating those greenbacks as a god. That's been hard for me to digest. Taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, we're starting to tell our money what to do instead of it always telling us what to do. Since starting the course four weeks ago, we've run the gamut of problems. Two mandatory auto repairs, frozen pipes, broken furnace amidst below zero temperatures, and the list goes on. What we've found, though is that this time, we're not stressed and we're not fighting because instead of pretending emergencies aren't going to happen, we're expecting them to happen and telling our money beforehand, "You are set aside for emergencies," and "You will pay for groceries."
The remarkable feeling of accomplishment took me by surprise after two weeks of horror with our household breakdowns. Typically, I would have been crying or heading to bed to sleep away the problems, but today, I feel like I have a grasp on the future and know that if I remain diligent in this new attitude, never again will money be able to tell me how to feel.