There Wasn’t Enough for all the Stuff: Kent & Chris Barnard’s Story
I read an article dated July 23, 2013 where researchers at Kansas State University had surveyed 4500 couples and revealed the top reason for divorce. They found that no matter how much a person makes, fights about money are the biggest contributors to divorce. The study also revealed that it takes couples longer to recover from a fight about finances than any other type of fight. Apparently, couples use harsher language with each other and the arguments last longer according to this study.
Kent and I were married nearly 30 years before we were sick enough of living pay check to pay check that we were finally ready to do something about it. Kent would sometimes want to have a budget meeting and I never wanted to because I knew the outcome before it started. There just wasn’t enough money to pay for all the “stuff” we had purchased.
About 17 years ago, in an entrepreneurial spirit, Kent quite his job and, along with his father, started a new business. The business was very slow to get rolling but we hung in there. During the course of the business he was awarded a patent. As time passed our credit card debts kept growing and growing, getting so high that I thought we would never get them paid off. We had no idea what our money was going toward….all we knew was it was gone before we even got it. We had acquired quite a large amount of bank debt and credit card debt. After 6 years of sacrifice and tens of thousands of dollars of debt, the business was a failure. He went back to work for a former employer to try to repay all the debt and fix the budget.
Around this same time someone gave us Dave Ramsey’s 13 Financial Peace University (FPU) CDs to listen to. After listening to them, we were ready to make a change in the way we were living, because the way we were living…..just wasn’t fun anymore. I convinced Kent that we should start tithing and I felt it necessary for our efforts to succeed. We had given to the church but nothing close to tithing. We didn’t know how this was going to work since our budget already needed cut to make ends meet.
We were both on board with making this lifestyle change and we entered this new adventure with “gazelle intensity!” We posted the Seven Baby Steps (FPU) on a bulletin board and marked off every one we accomplished. The debt snowball tool builds excitement as you progress through paying off each lender. Four years into debt reduction, tithing and being responsible with money, we got a call, out of nowhere, from a company wanting to purchase the patent! We believe this was divine intervention….God knew our situation and he could now trust us to make wise choices with money that would help grow His Kingdom.
We are all held responsible for what we have and for the way we spend money. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the money God has given us to manage. HE WILL BLESS YOU FOR THIS! Now we have frequent budget meetings and discuss our future and we know how much we spend on items like groceries, clothing, repairs to home, and dining out. Following our commitment to God in saving, tithing and debt he has blessed us beyond anything we deserve, in a unified marriage, in peacefulness, finances and all across our lives. Budget meetings are not painful anymore. They are just a time when we sit and talk about our future, our dreams, and plan and pray for guidance on our decisions. In the past I couldn’t imagine paying cash for a large item like a car but we have done that and it is the greatest feeling you can imagine.
One of the most crippling aspects of high debt and poor money management is seeing someone you want to help financially and you simply don’t have the money set aside so you can do it. We now know that we were missing out on some incredible blessing, as a giver. Get on a budget and tell your money where it’s to go before you even get it. Attend a FPU class and start working on those baby steps. You make the commitment and I promise…..it WILL change your life!
One Life Church hosts Financial Peace University classes each Spring. You can find more information about those classes here.