Hello everyone! This is Sonja Sarr again, from Practical Stewardship thankful to be guest posting here on Stacy’s blog.
A few years ago it was apparent that it was time for the Sarrs to get a new-to-us family car. We bought our little white 1994 Toyota Tercel for $5000 cash in 1999 when we got married. We paid cash $4950 for our used Volkswagon Passat Wagon in 2006. By the time 2009 rolled around we had our third child. Before having our little guy, I made sure three car seats would fit in the back seat. We made it work, but it was anything but ideal.
By the time 2010 rolled around the car was falling apart little piece by little piece. We weren’t really excited about all of the little plastic parts disintegrating: the head rest, the glove box (several times-we ended up holding it in place with part of a plastic coat hanger), the locks, side mirrors, and just about anything else on the car’s interior that was made of plastic. To make it even more interesting, Jonathan (also affectionately known as JSarr) was virtually certain the engine was built around the alternator. Very strange. It was really strange, actually. It was time to get a new-to-us car.
We had already paid off JSarr’s $38,000 college debt, and were able to focus on saving for a car. We saved $7000. I was perfectly content with buying a $7000 car. But Jonathan, on the other hand, really wanted to get something that cost a lot more. Like $10,000 more. This is where we disagreed. I thought since we didn’t have the money, we shouldn’t spend $17,000. JSarr was of a different persuasion. He thought since we were able to borrow money from someone we knew and who trusted us, we should get something of quality even if it meant having a loan. Although if we were having to finance through a company, JSarr would not have wanted to buy a more expensive car.
So we talked, and it didn’t take long to make a decision. We didn’t shout. We didn’t fight…
So what should you do when your spouse and you don’t agree about money? Submit. Talk kindly. Try to make a decision together. Pray that God’s will be done (not for your own way to be done). If your spouse thinks he is right and that’s that, then leave it. This is hard to hear, and even harder to do. In the case of Jonathan and myself, I knew us. If we had a debt to pay, all extra money would go to it, and we would get “gazelle intense” to borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey. We would pay it down as quickly as possible. My goal was to pay $1,000 a month and be done with the loan in 10 months. We ended up paying off the loan in 9 months. Sometimes I even made weekly payments to be done with it. If you haven’t ever paid down debt before, it’s totally addicting and fun! Call me crazy. Anyway, we haven’t had a loan since except for home loans.
Looking back I am still not excited about the fact that we had a loan for a car. I think you should live within your means. If I were to counsel others about getting a car loan, depending on the situation, in most instances I would be inclined to say, “Don’t get it if you don’t have the money!” And Jonathan mostly agrees, too. We don’t spend recklessly. So for the sake of fellowship, loving and submitting to my husband, I agreed to take this personal loan. Ultimately, I trusted Jonathan’s judgement and wisdom as the Lord works in him. Once the decision was made to take out the loan I didn’t grouse, grumble or complain (Jonathan read this and I guess he agrees because he didn’t edit this sentence out). We got to the debt right away and took care of it. Loan paid off, burden lifted, still in fellowship! Ephesians 5:18-33.
What do you do when you disagree with your spouse about money? Do you spend money prayerfully?
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Note from Stacy and Barry: This is a challenging article – the idea of biblical submission PLUS a discussion on money?!?! That’s a big one. Barry has written a few articles that may give you some additional direction on this topic, if you want to dig a little deeper.