My wife and I argue a lot about finances. Weíre trying to get more control over our money, and she has been listening to you. Thatís helped a lot. Sheís also a lot more frugal than I am, and our biggest point of contention right now is how we handle our spending money. Whenever I work overtime at my job, I feel like I should be able to put the overtime pay toward my spending money. What are your thoughts on this?
No way, dude. You donít work overtime for your little boy wants. You work overtime, and rake in that extra cash, for the good of your family. Thatís the manly thing to do.
Now, thatís not to say you both canít have a little spending money. It also doesnít mean that you canít treat yourself once in a while if youíre working your tail off. I mean, if Iím working 70 to 80 hours a week I may give myself a little inexpensive treat in the midst of all that. So, my spending money budget should reflect that. But it shouldnít reflect a sense that I get to play more because I work extra, while the rest of the family suffers.
Sorry, man. I think you knew what I was going to say. Step up, be good to your family first, and then your good times will come. If you havenít learned it already, youíll soon discover that those good times are best ones.
Teens and checkbooks
My daughter is 15, and sheís had jobs around the house and been on commission and the envelope system for years. Sheís very good about saving and not spending on silly things. We recently opened a checking account for her, and I was wondering what bills you think we should assign for her to pay on her own?
This sounds a lot like we did with our kids. Sheís obviously bright and motivated, so the first thing you do is explain to her the seriousness and responsibility associated with a checking account. The next step is for her to balance the checkbook with you looking over her shoulder. Do this with her for several months, while you keep one on the account, too. After that, I want her to do it alone and show you her work. Her balance should match yours and the one at the bank.
As soon as she demonstrates competency, and you feel comfortable that she can handle things, I want you to start putting her clothing budget in the account. You know, the weirdest thing happened with our girls at this stage. They suddenly started shopping at less expensive stores. Itís amazing when they see that the dollars associated with these purchases can run out. My bet is youíll see some changes in her value choices.
Just take it step-by-step, a little at a time. The more they exhibit competence, wisdom, and confidence, the more you can release them.
ó Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 12 million listeners each week on 575 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.