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Dave Says - Dave Ramsey

Give each other the gift of a budget

Dear Dave,

My wife and I are trying to improve our finances by living on a budget and following your plan. We’re in the middle of Baby Step 2, so we’re working to pay off everything but our house using the debt snowball. We bring home only about $40,000 a year combined right now, so how should we handle Christmas budgeting in the middle of working our debt snowball?

– Scot

Dear Scot,

Working to get out of debt can cause stress within a relationship. That stress is sometimes magnified if you’re serious about getting out of debt during the holidays. I’m glad you two are on the same page where your finances are concerned. The fact that you’re committed to becoming debt-free as a couple will go a long way toward ensuring a merrier Christmas.

Just sit down together, have a look at your budget, and ask what she thinks is a reasonable amount to spend on gifts and things while you’re trying to get out of debt. If you think her suggestion is a manageable figure, just give her a hug, tell her you agree, and move on. If you’ve been trying to get out of debt for a while, you might even propose using last year’s Christmas budget.

The important thing is to make sure you listen to each other, and approach this together. On the off chance one of you wants to spend what the other considers to be too much, talk about how and why you arrived at that figure. Then, using your budget as a guide, gently and lovingly talk things out.

Honestly, I don’t think you’re going have problems if you’ve already been working together to get your finances in order. And remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make people happy. Delicious homemade treats and thoughtful, handcrafted gifts can put a smile on anyone’s face.

Merry Christmas!

– Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter (@DaveRamsey), or go to daveramsey.com.

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