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Finances: After the Wedding

There are so many things to think about the morning after your wedding or after your honeymoon. Like, where do we live? How about our careers? Do we build a family immediately? Are we getting a house help?

Genesis 2:24

“Therefore shall a man LEAVE his Father and his Mother and shall CLEAVE unto his wife: and they shall become one flesh.”

What does Leave and Cleave mean?

To LEAVE means to go, to separate, to be independent from the comfort you get from your parent’s provision (shelter, allowance, food, clothing). When you get married, living in the same house with your parents is NOT ideal. Why? Because there will be problems, there will be misunderstandings, there will be stress, there will be fights. All of those will happen because it is not God’s design for you.

To CLEAVE is to join, to be one, to be dependent with the person you married. Yes, I mean sharing everything in one roof— bed, toilet, food, sometimes toothbrush but most especially money. I understand, before getting married, each person gets to have their own money, own bank accounts, own savings. But marriage changes everything even your financial sense. With this, both individual must become— TRANSPARENT.

Join all accounts. Every peso that comes in and goes out must be transparent. Present day technology makes it easier for us. Go online! One must have access to the other’s account not to spend but to be informed. In marriage there is NO HIS OR HERS, IT IS BOTH YOURS.

And if some of you decides to have kids right away, take a look at this sample breakdown of monthly expenses I made…

expenses

Now, can you really say you are ready? You’d probably tell me I have no budget, no savings, no house, no car… Remember the objective I gave you on Finances: Before the Wedding?

Because when you OBEY GOD, he will always provide! How?

We are no Team Kramer or the ex Jolie-Pitts. Not a celebrity family who gets millions with just one photo. We are just a simple family of four living under one paycheck trying to make and enjoy our everyday.

Three things: PRAYER, PRIORITIES, TEAMWORK.

Just like some people, we didn’t start well in life. We were very young when we started our family, no house, no savings. After living in our parents’ for 5 years, My husband and I decided to fully obey God’s design for every family.

PRAYER

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

For the past 7 years I have seen how God worked in our lives. He has been our provider. October of 2014, Mike and I started PRAYING and looking for a house. We saw terrible ones and after 2 months we saw one that we considered but our hearts is not just in to it. Weeks after that, Mike’s cousin told us that there are houses for rent in their village but I negated the idea since their village is located in a good area near the central business district, we can never afford to live there.

Mike surprised me one day by visiting his cousin and checked out the house for rent just in front of theirs. Upon entering, I knew that this is it. A townhouse with 3 floors, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a car port. The only thing that’s stopping us is the advances the landlady is asking. We prayed for days and tried to negotiate and by God’s grace we were provided with the amount that we needed!

Paul said in his letter to the Philippians not to shy away from God when asking for something — big or small, do not be anxious. Either it’s a house, a car, a job, healing or just a good day that you want, lift it to the Lord. I find myself most of the time praying for Miguel to sleep 15 minutes more so I can finish a chore.

You might ask: if prayer then works, why didn’t I pray for us to own a dream house instead of just renting? Who doesn’t want their dream house, right? Every single day of my life I have been imagining of a nice house with a garden where the kids can freely play on nice sunny afternoons. Well that’s the original plan and we still have been praying for God to deliver us from the burden of paying rent but you must know that God gives us only what we can handle.

I remember sharing my dreams to my brother who lives in the US. I was telling him that we really wanted to own a house instead of renting and I was searching for a compassionate look on his face that says, “Yes you should really own a home!”, then I realized that only few people in America owns a house 1. Because it is very expensive, 2. There are people who would prefer to rent because they like to move from one place to another, they like to explore.

There are also people who discouraged us from renting and telling us that it’s as if throwing such amount every month. Friends, that is not true. Renting or owning, whatever you choose, don’t ever feel down. Whatever you have today, learn to accept and love it. Make a home not a house.

We have learned to accept God’s will for us. After all a rented house is still better than nothing. I will remain faithful up until the day he gives more.

PRIORITIES

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We started with a couch, a monobloc table, 22in TV, a fridge, washing machine all given/lent to us by our family. The only one we bought was a king size mattress (yes we still don’t have a bed frame!) because that’s the only thing we can afford. Logically speaking, we don’t and can’t have too much things in our house because Miguel is in a phase where he was just learning to stand and walk and discover the world around him. Less was best for us that time.

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Through prayers, we welcomed our 2016 with a new dining table and additional and functional furniture and decors.

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It’s never bad to have a lot. To have the things you always wanted. But if those things will pull you away from what is essential in life then that’s where the problem begins. We were once taught by our Ninong on how you can remember the important things in life: God being number 1.

HAND

I also made up this argument to stop me whenever I wanted to buy something that is not included in the budget: “will I die not having this?” If the answer is NO, I don’t buy it and wait until I have extra money. I realized that usually, the things that I wanted are just so I can feed my humanly desires.

Set your priorities and goals. Make a list of what you (really) need and your wants. Pray for God’s provision and be contented on what he gives. My husband drives an old, small car. A 1993 Honda civic hatchback to be exact. Yes, 2 door car and we fit ourselves in it and yes I would like to think sometimes that the car is an inconvenience but positively thinking it gives us way convenience than those people lining up at the taxi bay one rainy payday Friday. The car gets us where we needed to be. Sure, we pray for a new one sometimes but if a brand new car does not come along, it’s alright. The kids will grow up anyways to the point that we won’t be bringing them with us all the time. That day where it’s just going to be me and Mike once again.

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Prove to the Lord that you are worthy of the little things he is giving you for him to be able to give you big ones.

Did I mention that for 2 years we did not have house help? It was just recently when we hired a stay out helper who would cook and clean for us on a weekly basis. But for the last couple of years, we survived because of…

TEAMWORK

I remember when our daughter was still a baby and I was still working, Mike having a night shift job and I on the other hand has the 9-6, there were times that we don’t have a nanny so I would wait for Mike to come home before I leave for work and vice versa to take care of our child.

Basically from day one we did not depend on helpers knowing they come and go. We made a pact that parenting is a shared task.

Right now, Mike is the only one who is working (praise God he already has a regular hour work!) and I dedicate my time to be with the kids, homeschool them and attend to their needs each day. But this doesn’t mean my husband don’t help with the chores. He’s in charge with cleaning when he comes home at night, teaches Math to our daughter and takes care of the kids while I do heavy chores.

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It costs 700pesos to hire a plumber… I got one at home for free! He might not finish it properly on time but he gets it done! hehehe
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He cooks breakfast before going to work.
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Teaches Math.
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A baby haircut costs somewhere between 300-500 pesos. My husband charges nothing!

Truly, I am blessed and proud to have a husband who does dirty tasks with me. He does not mind wiping soiled bottoms or washing the dishes for me. So men, please know that God made you stronger than us because you are destined to be our help.

And to be honest I think it’s only here in the Philippines where people expect you to automatically have a helper where in fact in other countries they do everything by themselves and still they make it. We also believe it’s a good example for the kids to see us do everything on our own because they get to be responsible with some tasks too.

All in all, two years of independence turned out pretty well. It is not easy but everything is possible.

Several years ago, I remember a friend of mine motivated me to fully leave and cleave and I keep telling her that with what my husband is earning, we cannot do it. She re assured me that you can make it just go and check your finances and adjust what is needed to be adjusted and you will survive. Three years forward, here we are, making it, day by day, with confidence.

As I close, let me share with you an inspiring message from a pastor:

“It is not important how well you start in life, what matters is that you finish well.”

God bless you!

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