Here is round two of the Q & A..thanks to all of you for the great questions! Molly asked: “Now that you are living “larger” than before (though still not “large” by any means), how do you resist the temptation to over accumulate?”
The one thing that keeps my desires to buy, buy, buy in check...is staying on a cash budget. I mentioned this in the last Q & A post, but it's worth saying again! When I have an exact amount of cash that I can spend that week, I turn into the most frugal girl around! :) I take out cash for 3 things: groceries, dining out/coffee (we go out once a week after church as a family tradition), and misc. expenses. The rest is automatically debited from our checking (all bills, etc.). I write checks for a few things...like rent and tithing. I also try to stay out of places that I know are tempting for me...Target, Pier 1, World Market...ETSY! :) I still love pretty things...and believe that it's my job as a wife and mother to create an inviting and warm home for my family. It's just a matter of planning, budgeting, buying used, etc. It also helps that I seem to have gotten a lot of my "spend" mentality out of my system in my early college years. I racked up a crazy amount of credit card debt on silly things and it was very difficult to pay off. I never want to have to go through that again! We don't have any credit cards at all...and if we do take out a loan for something, it's with great deliberation and prayer.
We also believe that everything we have is God's...and that it's just on loan to us. That includes our paychecks! It's a much different way of thinking when you are just taking care of God's resources for Him...that they were never yours to begin with.
Lindsay asked: “I would love to hear about how you and Matt are able to have such a good relationship.”
I attribute our healthy relationship to three things:
- Our love of God and our desire to glorify Him by following a scriptural view of marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33) For us, this means that Matt is the head of the household and I am his helper. He is ultimately responsible to God for the spiritual, financial, and emotional health of our family...and I release him into that role by submitting to him. When I say submitting, it doesn't mean that we aren't a team. We have mutual respect for each other, but when it comes down to it, I will always defer to him. In any decision that we make, we will discuss it together and hear each others views and go from there. If we are still having trouble deciding, HE is the one who will have to make the decision and be accountable for it. This is not always easy...because I have a more "dominant" personality ... compared to Matt's easy-going demeanor :) But it is absolutely the best way for us...when there are "two bosses" , life gets rather difficult!
- We spend A LOT of time together. Matt and I are best friends...and it's been that way since we met 10 years ago. I LOVE being with him...he's funny, charming, generous, and resourceful. We have lived in very small spaces together...which helps you to either love or hate someone! Obviously, we came out on the love side. :) We know each others quirks and rhythms like we know our own. And most importantly, we never go to bed angry! I can't even remember a time when we've stayed upset at each other for more than 5 minutes. So...we talk, we laugh, we plan, we dream...TOGETHER.
- We kiss...and stuff. Physical touch is extremely important to a marriage and it is THE WAY that men feel valued and loved. For women, it's usually different. Talking and connection emotionally is more important than touch. I try very hard to be available to Matt whenever he wants to be physical with me, because I know that is so important to his self-esteem and also his perception of our relationship. It's also biblical! See 1 Corinthians 7:5. This is a topic that I could go on and on about...but just know this: when we aren't making love on a regular basis for whatever reason, we don't have a very happy home life. God created us for intimacy with our spouse and it's an amazing gift...not one that we use to manipulate with, but one that we can enjoy together.
Sarah D. asked: “What do you do for health insurance?"
The last time we had health insurance was when we were working full time in the corporate world (2006). Since then, we haven't had any. To some, this may be foolish...but for us, it's the right decision. We have looked into several options for "catastrophic" insurance...the kind that would cover you if you had a huge medical bill, but for nothing else. But even that monthly payment was more than we wanted to spend. We have a chosen a more pro-active approach to our health care...eating a clean vegetarian diet, being active, chiropractic care, sleeping :) , washing our hands a lot, etc ... all things that help a person stay out of the doctor's office. And it's worked for now. I don't even remember the last time we went to the doctor for an illness. Of course, we know that doing these things is not a guarantee that we will avoid a serious car accident or some other unforeseen chronic or terminal illness...but if something like that happened, we would deal with it. I just have a real problem paying thousands of dollars a year to a corrupt insurance system...just IN CASE something might happen. Consider these findings from a 2005 Harvard study on bankruptcies related to medical bills:
The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children. Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.
Today's health insurance policies -- with high deductibles, co-pays, and many exclusions -- offer little protection during a serious illness. The paradox is that the costliest health system in the world performs so poorly. We waste one-third of every health care dollar on insurance bureaucracy and profits while two million people go bankrupt annually and we leave 45 million uninsured. said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program.
After reading about these types of findings...I don't put too much confidence in having insurance for preventative measures. I do realize that we are very blessed to not have any serious health issues that we need to take daily medications for...something that like that would obviously change how we would handle this issue. But for now, we will continue to pay out of pocket for any needs that arise (i.e. homebirth, etc.). On another note...we DO have pretty substantial life insurance for both of us and have had that since we got married.