Save, Spend, Give: Bob & Linda Lotich
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Ready to think outside the box as you spend, save, and give? Author Bob Lotich paid off $400K in debt and gave $1 million by age 40. Start here.
Save, Spend, Give: Bob & Linda Lotich
Bob: —a month.
Bob: So you don’t have move! You just need to cook a few meals at home.
Linda: Or I mean,—
Bob: It’s such a simple problem.
Linda: —what I like to think about this is: “Okay, you’re spending $800; you can continue spending $800. This is your choice if you want to move. It doesn’t matter to me what you do. That’s your choice: however you want to spend it.”
Bob: Because we all spend money according to our values and what’s important to us. It’s good to know that!—
Dave: Oh, yes.
Bob: — to know: “I’m choosing to eat out for $800 a month and move out of our house.”
Ann: —“so we can eat out.”
Bob: Yes! That’s why it’s so important to track/to know what’s going on, because you can’t identify the problems if you don’t know that they’re there.
Ann: Okay, so that’s our number-one step: “Start tracking.” Okay, are you ready for this, Dave?
Dave: I—I—I’ve already done it! [Laughter]
Ann: No, you haven’t!
Dave: I track everything.
Ann: [Laughing] No, you don’t!
Dave: Anyway, keep going.
Ann: Now, what’s our next step? We’re starting to see where it’s going.
Linda: So yes; this is good information for us. The people, who aren’t paying attention,—
Ann: You see how she’s looking at me? [Laughter]
Dave: —for us!
Linda: No, but this is you and me.
Linda: I remember Bob came to me one time and said, “Do you know you’re spending”—what was it?
Bob: Oh, I think it was $200 or $300 a month.
Linda: —“$200 or $300 a month on Starbucks?” It was like he just handed me this information; and then, he walked away. I mean, which was brilliant; because now, he left it to me to make the decision.
Here’s why he could do that: we have our budget set up in a way that we each have our own personal spending money, which is another marriage game-changer. You don’t have to ask him permission to do stuff that you want to do.
Ann: Does he have to tell me how much it’s going to be?
Linda: And he doesn’t have to ask your permission. He can save up his money as long as he wants and then go buy his whatever—guitar, motorcycle—
Bob: —third telecaster. [Laughter]
Dave: You’ve got to have three of those!
Linda: And you don’t care!
Ann: I don’t care.
Linda: Because that’s not affecting you and what you spend—
Ann: Well, my problem is—
Linda: —and vice versa.
Ann: —I usually don’t care anyway, [Laughter] like, “Go get your…I don’t care!”; you know? Because I know I’m spending money; so I’m almost feeling better that he’s doing it.
Linda: That’s hilarious.
Ann: But this is better this way.
Linda: Right; because now, you’re not feeling guilty for any of the money you’re spending.
Linda: And then, he doesn’t care either.
Bob: It minimizes—
Ann: How do you determine how much that is?
Bob: I mean, that’s different for every family; but you’re no longer having to have a conversation with your spouse about: “Hey, can I buy this?” So many couples are doing that, constantly asking each other. It’s another point of contention that’s unnecessary; so eliminating that by having your own budgeting categories.
Now, I’m all for, you know, them being joint accounts. I’m not advocating hiding money from your spouse; but I think it’s really powerful and important to have your own money, where you can be you, without judgment from your spouse.
Bob: We’ll keep it at that.
Dave: So if you really want to get something that’s a little more expensive than what you’re getting monthly, you’re going to save.
Linda: I have to save up for it.
Dave: You’re not going to Bob, and going, “Hey, I need more money.” You’re going to say, “You know what? I’m going to save.”
Linda: I mean, sometimes I will; [Laughter] let’s be honest!
Dave: I was going to say, “He just looked at you!”
Ann: I was going to say—$200 a month—it’s going to take a while to save up for something big.
Linda: —for something big; right.
So he hands me this information—right?—let’s go back to this. And since it’s coming out of my spending money, he doesn’t really care, which is just a mirror check.
Dave: That’s a great thing, right there! That would change the game, right there.
Linda: So he just says, “Here’s this information; I just want you to have it.”
Bob: Yes, I think it was $2400 a year is what we figured out.
Linda: And then, he walks away; and I’m like, “Oh, man! Now I can’t un-know this!”; [Laughter] right? But then, you get to make the decision that you want to make, based on the information you have.
I think that’s why this is so powerful, because you can decide what you want to do next. But when you don’t have any of that information—I think that’s why there are so many fights—nobody has any of this information; and they’re all just guessing, based on how it feels: “It feels like you just bought four saws this month.” And he’s like, “Well, it feels like you just bought three pairs of shoes!” We’re both having this—
Ann: —tug of war.
Linda: But we don’t actually know what’s going on.
Ann: Yes, that’s good.
Linda: So to me, this is game-changing.
Ann: Even those two things—you have your seed account; you have a personal account for personal spending—if my money goes toward giving things to people/buying things for people, does that come out of my personal or my seed?
Bob: I mean, we pull it out of seed. But at the same time, this is one of those things, where God is just constantly working in our heart. You’ve had moments, where you felt like God wanted you to give out of your spending.
Linda: Right; just as a practice, to be like, “Whose money, really, is this?”; you know.
Ann: Yes, that’s good.
Linda: I remember getting $100 from my mom for my birthday one year, and I had spent that $100—25 ways in my head—[Laughter]—because I’m that kind of girl. But I drove through the Chick-fil-A® in Franklin, Tennessee. Okay, it’s very/Franklin is a nice part of town; okay?
Ann: It’s beautiful.
Linda: I drive through this Chick-fil-A. There was a man standing there, with a sign saying, “I’ve lost my job. I have kids to support.” I remember pulling through, and I had that crisp $100 bill sitting in my wallet. God was like, “That’s for him.” I was like, “Oh! But actually, that’s for me. [Laughter] That came from my mom!
Ann: “But I thought…”; yes.
Linda: “It’s from my parents! It’s for my birthday.” He was like, “No.” And then, I was like, “Okay”; so it came from my spending money.
It was really good; because for me, it just reminded me: “Where is my trust? Where is…”—you know—“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I was like, “My treasure is more in helping someone else than in just getting that necklace I wanted,” or whatever.
Dave: I mean, do you feel like you ever drive by that person, and not feel a nudge to give? Because every time I see one,—
Dave: —I think, “I should be giving whatever’s in my wallet.”
Ann: I didn’t know you feel that!
Dave: I often feel that, and I feel really bad when I don’t.
Linda: See?—you need a seed account.
Dave: I mean, yes. I’m thinking I’m just going to give cash rather than what we give, because we have a giving percentage that we give. But I’ve never seen it like that—the seed account—so maybe, that’s the way to think of it.
Linda: That’s the way to think of it.
Dave: Because I don’t think you [Ann] would ever drive by somebody without stopping.
Ann: No, I totally do!
Ann: Yes, I kind of wait for that nudge of God, putting that on my heart to give; so yes, I do.
Dave: Okay; I didn’t know. See, we have no knowledge. [Laughter]
Ann: Dave and I are doing therapy right now.
Dave: Here we are—right here!—[Laughter]—we’re that couple.
Linda: But see, that makes it easy, if you have this money that’s designated to give; it makes it like: “Oh, yes; let’s just/here we go! How much, Lord?” Then, it’s just, “How much?”
Ann: Well, and sometimes, I will keep cash with me in order to give it to people.
Ann: And another thing that I’ve done is: I’ll buy gift cards for food—
Ann: —that I can give away to people, if I see somebody on the road, or who needs it.
Bob: That’s a great idea.
Ann: Yes; and I think it’s really good, too, if you have kids, that they see the generosity of your heart.
Dave: Yes, and I’m just thinking, as we wrap today, if there’s a family that’s going to start writing down what’s going on financially, that’s a big step; right?
Dave: That’s huge!
Ann: And what do you do if your spouse won’t do it with you?
Bob: It makes it fun; right?
Linda: Well, I mean, you don’t have to—I don’t want to say you don’t need their permission—but I don’t think that they would necessarily have a problem with you just looking at what’s going on; right?—it’s like: “That’s just information.”
Bob: Well, I mean, there are so many different variables and different marital tensions present.
Linda: I know; you guys are the experts here. [Laughter]
Bob: But you know, I think, like anything else—you know, if I were married to Linda, and she weren’t walking with the Lord—I would still do my best to walk with the Lord. Even though it’s great when we’re walking, arm in arm—and I think the same thing, financially—it’s like you make the most of what you can.
Ann: I think, too, to not put the emotion with it.
Ann: Because my first instinct would be defensiveness; because I would think, “Oh, Dave’s doing this so I spend less money.” You know, I get defensive, even with his tone, like, “Hey, we need to start clamping down!” And I feel like he’s saying, “This is all your fault.”
Ann: Do you know what I mean?
Ann: And so to have that discussion, like, “I think what I’d like to do is talk about money. I’d like to be able to not feel this bondage for both of us. I don’t want the tension in our relationship.”
Dave: I mean, the conversation would have to require a lot of humility. Because even when you were saying that, I’m like, “Okay, if I were the one tracking it, and Ann didn’t want to, the only way to come to her with that knowledge is to go, ‘Hey, we have goals; right? I think we both would love to save money; we’d love to someday feel freedom with money. I’ve done a little homework. Can we just talk? Here’s where we are t.’”
Ann: And I say, “Is this all on me? Are you doing this because you’re mad at me?”
Ann: I would ask those questions.
Dave: Well, the humility would have to be [there]. I’m not coming in like—like you guys started yesterday, saying—“We’re not going to come in here and yell at you about money.”
Dave: “We’re just saying—
Bob: —“’That doesn’t work.’” [Laughter]
Ann: “’It doesn’t work’”; yes.
Linda: Right; and “What’s frustrating you that we can fix? Let’s figure out how to fix this”; you know?
If you’re frustrated because you think you always have to ask permission, then he needs to know that; so that you can fix that problem; right?
Linda: It’s not just a one-sided thing. It’s about: “How can we make this better for both of us?”
Dave: And once you have the knowledge, she’s also going to be able to go, “Well, look at this: you spent $1,000 on one thing.”
Ann: I don’t think I would even say that.
Dave: No, but you would have the knowledge to go—
Linda: —because some people would!
Ann: It would be on the paper.
Linda: I would!
Dave: Me too.
Linda: I’m being honest! [Laughter]
Dave: I mean, if one spouse is saying, “Hey, this is all you,”—and then, you have knowledge to go—“Well, it is me; but it’s both of us,” that’s really helpful.
Ann: And what you’re saying, too, is: “This can make your marriage better.”
Shelby: You’re listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Bob and Linda Lotich on FamilyLife Today. Bob’s got a great quote on money from the famous Billy Graham that you’ll want to hear in just a second.
But first, we’d love to send you a copy of Bob and Linda’s book; it’s called Simple Money, Rich Life. It will be our “Thank you,” to you when you partner, financially, today with us. You can give, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329; that’s 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Okay; now, here’s Bob Lotich with a profound word from Billy Graham.
Bob: It’s so funny—as we’ve gotten our money in line, it’s just helped our marriage so much—in so many different ways. I remember Billy Graham has a quote, where he said something to the effect of—and he was talking about a person—but he said: “If a person gets their relationship with money sorted out, it affects basically every other area of their life.” I think that’s true.
Shelby: Now, tomorrow, on FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson are joined, again, by Bob and Linda Lotich to get us all thinking about the question: “Does God have your heart when it comes to your finances? Are those two things connected well with one another?” That’s tomorrow.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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