Monthly Archives: January 2013

Jan 30

Share Awesome New Experiences Together with Unbucket

By Dustin | Romance

Go experience an Engaged Marriage list on Unbucket!

As you know, at Engaged Marriage we’re all about experiences.

A shared experience with your spouse or fiance doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money to have a real impact on your relationship and bring you closer.

That’s what I love about Unbucket – it’s an amazing place to come explore and live out experiences together.  I think their motto “Collect experiences, not things” says it best.

You might recall that the Engaged Marriage community was invited to be part of the beta group several months ago to put Unbucket to the test.  Well, thanks to your participation along with many others, plus lots of hard work from the co-founders of the platform – Unbucket officially opened to the public today!

Get Started with Our Very First Engaged Marriage List

Given that our ideals match up so well, we’re proud to be a content partner on Unbucket.

This means that EM has the opportunity to create suggested lists of experiences that couples can grab and complete together.  This is a cool way for you and your spouse to connect in a new way!

For our first list, we’ve set up a list of 15 memorable Day Dates – you can grab this list, add to it or delete some that aren’t your thing, and check off each new experience that you enjoy together.

Of course, there are many other great lists available for you to explore and you can make your own to share or keep for yourselves.

The Unbucket platform lets you do a lot of cool things, and they certainly aren’t limited to married couples.  The idea for the project actually came about as a Mother’s Day gift – a list of things to do together given from son to mother.

What Other Unbucket Lists Would You Like to See?

I hope you’ll go sign up for Unbucket and check it out for yourself.  It’s totally free, and we don’t stand to gain anything from it other than a chance to help you out in a new way.

On that note, what other lists would you like to see for our community here at Engaged Marriage?  Feel free to share in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Of course, you can also create your own and share it as well.

Now go enjoy something together!

Jan 10

5 Reasons You Need a Debt-Free Marriage

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

5 Reasons You Need a Debt-Free MarriageWhen I shared our family’s story of how we paid off $54,500 in debt, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and I heard from a lot of people who were in the process of shedding their debt (or at least wanted to get started).

However, the reasons that I heard for becoming debt-free were mostly focused on the usual, more material motivations.

It seems that most people dream of paying off their debts to reclaim more freedom in their financial life.

The idea of getting creditors off their back and having more of their income to save or buy things to improve their quality of life is very appealing.  Honestly, that was a big part of why my wife and I decided we wanted to become debt free, and we achieved that goal (other than our home mortgage) three years ago.

I think the purely financial benefits are pretty clear and widely written about.

Instead, I want to share with you some of the awesome marriage benefits that a debt-free lifestyle provides.  While they weren’t our original motivation, our experiences in these areas have really grown our passion for getting (and staying) debt free.

5 Fantastic Benefits of a Debt-Free Marriage

1. Contentment

A funny thing happens when you get control of your money – you cling to it less.  With financial freedom comes a renewed focus on the things that really matter in life.  And when your values are in the right place, you depend much less on “stuff” and the false happiness that comes with it.

2. Communication

If you are married and you want to make substantial changes to your financial situation, you will need to talk…a lot.  The process of getting out of debt will require a real intimacy with your spouse and a deepening of the trust between you.  The spirit of teamwork you develop on your financial journey together carries over to other areas of your marriage as well.

3. Courage

If you have a lot of debt to pay off and/or you are already on a tight budget, achieving debt freedom will be a significant accomplishment.  When you meet a major goal, it fuels your faith in yourself and your ability to work alongside your spouse.  And it fills your relationship with the courage to face any challenge.

4. Change (for your whole family)

When you decide to shed your payments, you are breaking a cycle that most of us have witnessed throughout our lives, and you are setting a new example for your own kids.  With a solid financial plan, you’ll actually have resources available to help with your children’s future, retire with dignity and have the freedom of time to spend more with your family.

Personally, the best benefit that we’ve experienced since paying off our consumer debt is an increased ability and desire to give.  When we are generous with the gifts we’ve been given, we can change not only our own family tree but a little piece of the world as well.

5. Comfort

I will be the first to say that money doesn’t solve all of your problems, and no one should expect that debt freedom somehow brings instant happiness.  However, we certainly do sleep a little better at night knowing that we owe no one (other than our mortgage company ) and we have a healthy emergency fund in the bank.  This feeling of security and comfort is what financial peace is all about.

Debt Freedom Sounds Great, But How?

There are many great resources available to learn the mechanics of getting out of debt.  For us, it was Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps alongside a solid budget that provided the game plan we needed.  I would encourage anyone interested in paying off debt and building a solid financial plan to pick up Dave Ramsey’s very popular book The Total Money Makeover.

Establishing a game plan and garnering motivation from these resources is great.  However, I have to say that we have discovered the real key to becoming and remaining debt free: mindset.

You have to believe that it is possible.  And you have to want it.  Bad.

Read the five benefits above again, and talk to your spouse about them. If you have debt, take some time to discuss what would be different in your life if you paid everything off.  Only you can decide if financial freedom and going against cultural norms is worth it for your family.

How bad do YOU want it?

(photo source)