Date Night: Dave Ramsey Edition

Date nights, or days, are something I look forward to and cherish each week. It's a chance for me to get out of the house, which is a big deal since I work from home & can EASILY go 5 days with out leaving our Ghoens compound, AND it's fun, quality time with my sweetie. Our date nights are typically pretty simple, but we usually do something twice over the course of a weekend.

Around Christmas time, we felt that God was laying on our hearts to do more and be more proactive with our finances. I've always been pretty frugal, giving & savings focused when it comes to our finances, but we still spend a lot each month of things we don't track (Amazon Prime, lunch/dinner, wine, new gadgets). Although the way we're living is very comfortable and widely accepted as "normal," I'd consider us to be living paycheck to paycheck. Not because we have to, but because we choose to. We make a conscious choice to choose as little or much to save or spend depending on our day to day, week to week or month to month whims. I'm not saying that's bad, but we sensed a need for change.

I'm pretty familiar with Dave Ramsey not just because of his presence as the author of the Total Money Makeover, but also Entreleadership (a personal development book for my business). I'm also an avid podcast listener, so I enjoy tuning into his "channel" and listening to his advice or opinions. I know several people who are in the middle of his Total Money Maker, but figured we were on the slower, "funner" track (insert LOL). 

After asking Nate to learn more, listen in with me & having many, many discussions, we decided that this might be our next step as a family. Financial discipline and PURPOSE.

We sat down and looked at my very organized expenditure list. We discussed our budget for personal spending (groceries, gas, dog food, date money, etc) & did the math.. We were SHOCKED to see the $$$$ that was left over each month that we've been ALLOWING to disappear.

Then.. we did the math on how long it would take to use that money each month (+ the money we won't need in our savings/emergency fund anymore) and snow ball our debt.. "Nate, we could pay off my CAR {that we just upgraded to} in APRIL.... and we could pay off your student loan this year too! ....and have our big kid emergency fund done by next summer or sooner." Our jaws dropped. 

The most convicting part of our conversation was that we could tithe CONSISTENTLY and continue giving as we have been and be just fine. Wow. Just wow. All of those scattered Sundays of giving back to God- because we've actually been selfishly indulging. NOT strapped and stuck at 5%. This is my flesh speaking.. my desperately wicked heart revealing selfish humanity. All this time, we had Jesus on a budget, rather than ourselves.

So we set out to start immediately. To prioritize our finances and map out our game plan. 

1. Jesus
2. Cost of us & dogs living
3. Debt snowball
4. Date night
5. Individual fun money

While this process isn't always easy and stress free.. I feel peace knowing that we're honoring the Lord, focused less on materialistic things & are setting ourselves up for a future of SUCCESS.

"If you live like now one else now, one day you CAN live unlike anyone else.."

Intentionality leads to freedom.

You inspired yet?? Shoot..

Okay. So my post was about date night and you had to read all of this first? Yeah. Sorry I'm not sorry!

So while date night is not high on the priority list in regards to how much it's fed from our budget, it IS high on our priority list in our relationship.

We decided to keep it that way, but get creative! We wanted to spend time together doing lots of things we enjoy, while remembering to keep it simple and enjoy each other more than anything else.

So we came up with our date night jar.

* artwork courtesy of my sweet husband and myself*

 We filled this jar with date ideas that we could do at home or somewhere else. Ideas that cost $ and others that don't. Things that we've been meaning to do, but make ourselves too busy to enjoy.

Each Friday, our plan is to choose one of these and make time to do it over the course of the weekend.. Please note and laugh at the date suggestions that we will not be partaking in until we complete our 60 day challenge (His: Hammer and Chisel// Mine: 22 Minute Hard Corps).

I LOVE this idea because it's simple and special. I love that this is something we can do now as a couple and one day with our .... kids (possibly).

I challenge you to consider a date jar or family fun night jar.. even if you aren't on the Dave Ramsey train. Make your spouse and family a priority and focus on the quality of your time together instead of the bells & whistles #preachingtothechoir .

Until next time, friends!!

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