Checks and Balances
February 23, 2021
Every good system needs a way to keep it on track. Having checks and balances in our homes, finances, and marriage is a good way to make sure we are taking care of what's most important and no going overboard. Listen today as we discuss how to make checks and balances more of a daily habit.
Checks and Balances
The Mom Training Podcast with Diana Ballard
Diana: Okay, so, what do about checks and balances? So, there are different systems set up all over the world about how to make sure something's balanced, how to make sure that it's not crossing the line over here and not crossing the line on the other side. So, do you have checks and balances in areas of your life like finances?
This is something that I learned from multiple people, that we're going to talk about today, that has saved me a lot of pain and struggle in my marriage, and just in my life in general, because our money doesn't just waste away. So, what form of checks and balances do you have in your finances? Are you going through your finances, checking things out? Are you talking with your husband?
One thing that I was taught and that I have practiced and has really been awesome, but also sucks at the same time is… And I'll explain why… Is that any purchase that I make that’s out of the ordinary of like, supplies, maybe some clothes for the kids, or food. Things that, you know - shampoo, stuff like that. Like that's like, you know… I don't talk to my husband about those kinds of things.
But if I'm going to buy, like I just bought a new plastic dresser drawer for my daughter, because they're small, or had four drawers, I don't have to worry about having a big dresser drawer in their room. I have all three kids in one room, on purpose. We have an office as our third bedroom. And so, we have to really condense things. And only the amount of clothes that fit in that high-quality plastic dresser drawer for each child is what they have. And that's what they choose from. That's what they use. And it helps the room stay a lot more organized.
But my daughter had been using these plastic shelves, that you kind of like put together with little pieces. I don’t know if it makes sense. Like it has, you can build your own structure with it. There's like pieces, little connecting things that you can build. And so, she has this shelf that she's been keeping her clothes on, and then she has one section where she puts all her arts and crafts, and her special things.
And her clothes have gotten pulled out. I mean, for her to be able to look for a shirt, she has to pull all of the shirts out of this like little cubby that she has to find the one shirt that she wants. So, I have been thinking about, for a long time, how I've wanted to get her a little plastic dresser drawer like I have for my two sons. Because it helps keep the clothes contained. My three-year-old likes to pull everything out every once in a while, as well. But, hey, we’re still working on that.
But her clothes could more easily be organized in drawers that she could open, be able to kind of dig through to find what she wants, instead of having to pull everything out. So, I'm just trying to find out solutions of how I can keep less clothes on the floor and more clothes in her drawers and where they're supposed to be.
So, I looked online, and I found a dresser drawer that was the brand like I have for my son's. It wasn't the same color, but I was like, “You know what, this one has four drawers my son's only three, this is perfect.” If she wants to organize, she could put her tights in one, and tutus and whatever else. It’ll be nice for her to have four. And it was only $62 and so, I brought it to my husband and said “Hey, I'm thinking about getting this.” To me it was not that big of a deal.
But he gave me some resistance on it, which was not my favorite thing, obviously.
So, here he comes with checks and balances. This is a good example for you. We had to have a conversation of why and what, and we had to work it out. And I did end up getting the dresser drawer, but it came with some conversation. It came with some uncomfortableness of the emotions that can come of feeling, “Oh, I just want to get something but I'm going to check in with my husband.” Because I check in with him with anything other than my normal things that I buy.
And I know that that could tip some of you off. That could make you like really mad to even think about that. “I can do whatever I want. I can spend whatever money I want. I don't have to talk to him when I want to.” Okay. Well, all I know is, in the research that I've done, the more the couple is involved in the finances together, the more that they have checks and balances, and being able to communicate with each other of, “Hey, I'm going to buy a new tool… Hey, I'm thinking of buying this new hobby… or this new desk”, or things like that.
And being able to bounce ideas off each other of, “Hey, that's not really necessary right now, and that's kind of expensive. Can we wait a while? Can we do this?” And the more that they communicate in their finances, the less problems there are.
The relationships that I have studied over the last nine years, the ones that have the most fights with money, the ones that have addiction to spending, the ones that literally, buying things is like their next high, there is a lot of problems in that marriage. And it's more than just the money, it's how much stuff is around the house, how many things are bought that are never used because there's no checks and balances. There's no conversation back and forth of, “Hey, I'm thinking of buying this.” “Why you don't even really need that.”
And there might be moments when it’s like, “Okay, cool. Yeah, I totally.... I'm on board with you. That's great. I think that's a good idea.” So, it doesn't always have to be resistance, but don't be afraid of a little bit of resistance when you're trying to balance out your finances.
And maybe you don't have a spouse, and maybe you're on your own. What kind of checks and balances do you have? How are you checking yourself that you're not overspending, buying a bunch of crap that's going to sit in your house? Or in your storage unit? Or out in your garage? Or in your attic? Or in a closet? Or clutter up all over your child's room? I mean, what checks and balances do you have?
Communicating with our spouse is a great way to have checks and balances. Another checks and balances you can have, I recommend, more than one - is being in your finances, seeing what you're doing. And we've talked about that. You go in and see what exactly you're spending money on, and that should nip your butt. You add up in a month’s period of time, how much money you’ve spent, and what for, then you're going to be like, “Ooh gosh, I really need to get on that.”
Eventually, it's going to hurt bad enough, it's going to sting bad enough that you’re seeing that, it's like, “Uhm, yeah. I’m going to stop doing that.”
But I will tell you, the best way that I have found, for checks and balances in my finances, is involving my husband in everything that I do with finances. For example, I'm going to give you a couple more examples, I guess. So, we have a cash stash in our house that’s like when we go buy things that are used, or we are paying someone for their services that come help us mow our lawn or, you know, just different things like that. It's not very much, a couple 100 bucks, but it gets used regularly for different things. Like we're going out somewhere, we're going someplace you can only pay cash or whatever.
And so, when I replenish that, that's part of my conversation for finances. “Hey, can we go through to the finances?” “Go ahead.” “Here's the numbers. I also pulled out, $60, to put back in the cash stash to get back to $200.” Things like that.
So, being able to let him know, “Hey, this is exactly what's going on in the finances.” If I'm going to take out a chunk of money for myself, that is something I definitely am talking to him about. Because the thing that I want most in my marriage is trust in finances. I mean, there are lots of things we could want in our marriages. But trust in finances is huge.
As I studied families, moms, relationships, before I got married, and even through now and continuing going… Finances are one of the biggest problems in marriages. Those are where you're going to find the most fights, the most contention, the blaming each other when there's a problem.
I just cringed when COVID hit. A lot of people lost their jobs. People didn't have savings. I mean people that I would never have expected to get divorced, did, during this crazy season. Not like a ton of people… I'm optimistic that people are still working things out or whatever. But a good handful of them were ones that lost their job and had absolutely no savings.
And how much blame can go on both sides, for what money is being spent. “If you would have just brought your lunch to work every day, maybe we would have been able to save that much.” “If you wouldn't have bought so many clothes for you and the kids.” Or this and that… Took the kids for ice cream every other day… You know what I'm saying?
There could be things that could bring up so, many fights with finances - racking up debt, struggling, not being able to cover bills… I mean it’s rough. So, you do not want to get caught in the middle of a financial battle with your spouse. Because it is something you can prevent. You’re like, “How can I prevent, like a money fight?”
Oh, my gosh, just what I’m telling you right now, checks and balances. Are you communicating with your spouse? Are you saying, “Hey, this is what we're going to spend money on… Hey, this is what the food budget is… Hey, this is exactly what our bills are each month, for some reason, we're bleeding out 150 to $200 a month, and I am not exactly sure why; let's go through the finances… This should be what our thing is, okay, we bought an extra thing here. We went to go visit a friend that lived farther away. Gas costs more…” Things like that, where we're going through together and we both know what's going on.
Now, I'm the one always in the finances. I’m always in them. I mean, multiple times a week, I'm checking it out, looking through things, seeing how things are, getting in, doing the finances by percentages, and I’m communicating with him.
And I'll tell you, having to communicate all of my spending things, with him kind of does rub me raw sometimes. I'm going to be straight up because I mean, how many times we’re like, “I just want to be able to buy something without there being like a problem or a conversation.” And like with that little dresser drawer that I was talking about. 62 bucks, like it's not that big a deal. Like I don't buy things often. But I still bring it to him for checks and balances. Because that's what we do.
And it is sometimes annoying to do things that are going to not prevent problems, yeah… Preventing problems is not always comfortable. Like making it so, there's harmony in the financial part of your marriage takes work. And sometimes it's uncomfortable. Sometimes it's addressing, “Hey, we've been spending way too much money here”, or “Can you pull back spending here?” I mean, it's really something that might be a little painful in the moment. But overall, in the end, it is so, much better to have more money saved than not.
And I'll tell you when we lost our job in October of 2020, and luckily, praise the Lord, we were only unemployed for three months… I mean, we had a pretty good amount of savings, and that money went quick. I was shocked to see how fast the amount of money that we had went, when there was no more of main money coming in. Because my money, that I make, it's on the side, completely different bank account. It's for fun. If it was needed, I could totally bring some over to our regular account. But I mean, money can go really fast. Whether that is a $15 shirt every once in a while, going out to eat a lot more… Money can waste away super fast if we're not careful.
So, what checks and balances do you have? What do you have in place to help you stay focused in your finances, to prevent problems in your marriage and in your life? Really important. One of the top things, marriages struggle with.
If your struggling with the soft addiction of buying things, I highly recommend you work on whatever you need to do - deleting the apps, getting rid of whatever you need to, cutting up credit cards, erasing credit cards from different buying sites. Whatever you need to do because you got to have those checks and balances. You've got to get in there and stop yourself from just freely spending all the time. As good as it might feel, it's going to feel so much better in the end, when you haven't wasted all your money.
Let me know what you do for checks and balances. Shoot me a message and we'll see you next Tuesday on the Mom Training Podcast. And, and, and, and girl share the podcast, The Mom Training Podcast with one of your friends right now. Please do. Let’s make this a great year. We’ll see you next week.