When I talked to Leah on Monday morning, she told me she had been unable to make the financial counselors appointment on base, because Eric couldn't get off work at the last minute. This was disappointing to both of us. That said, she had some very interesting things to share with me about her weekend. Last week, after she completed the Dave Ramsey online spreadsheet for budgeting, she was BLOWN AWAY by the fact that, even if all her debt was paid, she couldn't make ends meet on Eric's pay. This was not shocking to me at all. The budget projection based on the numbers she gave me back in October showed that they spend more than they make. The whole reason I wanted her to write everything down was because using a credit card and tallying it up later takes away the ownership of how much is actually being spent daily, and on what.
Then Leah and I had a fight--not our first! She blamed me for not putting those numbers in front of her last November when we met face to face , and instead spending 3 hours letting her and Eric tell me their familial stories of money in their past.
Leah can be mad and let down by me all she wants. In my professional opinion, she has been going through a process to get to this place of really getting it about how she is about money, and it's unfolding exactly as intended. I've got 23 years experience in "showing the numbers" and still having people not be able to "get it" or change their financial behavior. I still need to get Leah and Eric into my office in Atlanta, so I can complete the financial planning process and education that I promised. We are hoping to do this in February.
But now some good news. The best thing that came out of Leah's weekend was that she and Eric talked, then fought, then Eric did his own spreadsheet and came to the same conclusion that I, Leah and Dave Ramsey and everyone else already knew: They spend more than they make. Hallelujah!
Now maybe we can engage Eric fully in this process. He has spending issues too, and it is not fair that Leah takes all the burden for the debt and the spending. Ie, say goodbye to anything other than basic cable, Eric.
Some other really good news: When I got updated debt balances from Leah last week, she had reduced overall debt by over $6K in 3 months, mostly by following my advice of putting her unemployment check directly towards debt. I'm proud of her and I know she's trying. She also has some very exciting news to share with all of us as well, but I won't steal her spotlight, so hopefully she will share her secret with you in her blog.