How Financial Peace University Improved Our Marriage: Basic Budgeting Tips for Newlyweds

When CJ asked permission to marry me, my dad had one condition – that we attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. *Insert Eye Roll* I was less than thrilled. But, I really wanted to marry CJ (and evidently he really wanted to marry me) so, we went. Looking back, I have to admit that learning these basic budgeting tips for newlyweds gave our marriage a strong financial foundation.

Kudos to Dad

First off, my Dad’s pretty smart. One time, he told me that I would make a good waitress. My sometimes snotty self brushed it off and told myself that that would never be something I would enjoy. A few years later, I got a job as a server….and LOVED it. Point for Dad.

He also told me that he thought I might enjoy majoring in logistics (I wasn’t thrilled with my current choice at the time). I looked into it, changed my major, and BOOM – LOVED it. 2 Points for Dad.

Those are the only 2 instances I’m going to share at this time…I don’t want to expose the true point spread. But, he’s totally in the lead.

Financial Planning for Newlyweds #financialpeace #budgeting #planning #money
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Fun and Finances

The class was once a week for 9 weeks. It was held at a place in town where I had a lot of childhood memories…which was kinda cool, and weird, all at the same time. I remember that we were the youngest ones in the group by a long shot.

We had no idea what to expect. We also had no idea how AWESOME and beneficial it would be for our marriage.

I never would have thought that we would have so much fun in a financial (yawn) class. To be honest, we were probably the only ones who thought it was as funny as we did…I remember getting a lot of turnaround stares, but we could not stop laughing.

I remember Dave Ramsey explaining the absurdity of why some people go in to debt. “It’s Christmas! We’ve gotta buy little Johnny all this plastic stuff! He’s gotta have the plastic stuff like his friends! Hurry, take out a loan so we can cover the floor in plastic stuff that he’s only going to play with once!” Little Johnny says, “I only wanted an Elmo.”

Ok, if you’re not laughing…I get it, but trust me, it was funny.

Financial Basics for Kids

Another reason that my Dad is pretty amazing is that he taught us the basics of finance from a young age. I don’t remember ever getting an allowance. I remember sweeping the garage once a week for a whopping $20/month. And I couldn’t just quickly sweep the garage floor…everything had to be moved and swept behind. Gotta work hard for that Andrew Jackson!

Once we all got to be old enough, we split the money my parents would have spent on a babysitter during the summer months to “watch ourselves.” The money went into our B.O.B. account (Bank of Blane). It was pretty official – with a spreadsheet and everything! Dad taught us to tithe, to save, to spend wisely.

The Basics – 6 Tips for Newlyweds

If you haven’t gone through any of Dave Ramsey’s programs, you should! But here’s the super basic and general principles (in the order I remember them):

1. Get $1,000 in your savings account ASAP.

aka your “Emergency Fund”

2. Use cash!

Spending cash registers similarly to pain in your brain. You are much more likely to be choosy about how you spend your cash than swiping a card, because it physically hurts!

3. If you don’t have the cash to buy it, don’t!

Just say no.

4. Negotiate.

It’s awkward at first, but do it! My first negotiated item was a used bike from a pawn shop…I felt pretty powerful.

5. Live on a budget and use the “envelope system.”

I love to hate those envelopes. I can testify that the system works – when the cash is gone, it’s gone. It totally takes away the “where did that extra $50 go?” conversation.

6. Slash Debt Like A Ninja

Do whatever you have to do to get out of debt (student loans, car, furniture, credit cards, whatever). Even if it’s tough, you can do anything for a short period of time…it’ll be worth it!

Financial Advice for Newlyweds #financialpeace #budget #planning
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Live Like No One Else…

So, where is all this coming from you may ask…well, last Friday, we paid off another one of our student loans! Commence happy dance! We started out with a hefty amount to pay back, but we’ve also since paid down a good chunk! I won’t tell you how much we pay each month, but it’s about 15% of our takehome pay each month. To be honest though, we pay more than the minimum because we HATE having it over our heads and imagining how else we could be spending that money.

Debt freedom is the one freedom that makes all other freedoms possible.

On Friday, we both took off of work for some family time. I had really wanted to go SeaWorld (I don’t care what other people say, I stinking love SeaWorld!), but we would have to renew CJ’s pass. That morning, our daughter was being a little fussy and I was having a hard time getting her down for a nap. While I was with her, CJ re-did our budget (hoorah budget meetings) and realized that if we lived on the envelope system (as we have strictly in the past), that we could put even more towards our student loans and be debt free in a year and a half.


Holla! Like I said, you can do anything for a defined amount of time. We did not go to SeaWorld, and that is ok! We had a lovely day around town and spent quality time together (and took a nap!). Dave Ramsey has a saying, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”

Sacrifices and good decision-making now will certainly be worth it in the long run.

I realize that this is a little different from how I normally write, but I felt like it was something helpful that almost everyone is dealing with in one way or another.

It’s more than just being debt free; it’s about using your resources wisely and not frivolously, it’s about not getting caught up in the rat race of materialism, it’s about being good stewards.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 – Matthew 6:20-21

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