(2006: Nancy & Will while dating)

Let me begin with this: Will and I grew up with very different financial backgrounds. He, like a lot of high school kids, had a part time job, paid for his own gas, shared the family car, earned his own money. If he wanted to go to Moe’s for lunch, he counted the cost. If he wanted a new gadget or “toy,” he paid for it out of his pocket. Granted, he’d be the first to tell you he would happily spend his hard-earned money on Moe’s, concerts, and frivolous high school outings. But he had a work ethic and understanding of money that I didn’t. His parents provided his needs, he provided his wants.

My parents simply provided it all. I am so grateful for my upbringing… I was never in want; my parents worked hard for many years building a successful business, and I was extremely blessed for it. However, I didn’t even slightly grasp the value of a dollar. I would eat out, go shopping, go on trips with friends, go to any and every concert/camp/vacation/missions trip that I wanted, because I knew my parents would pay for it. I was the first person in my 9th grade class to get a cell phone. My 16th birthday present was a car. I went to any college of my choosing, knowing it would be paid for.

So, as you can imagine, when the two of us fell in love, dated through college, and then got engaged, we were setup for certain financial stress in our marriage.

Honestly, it was a disaster waiting to happen.

While we were engaged, a friend of ours gave us Financial Peace University as a gift. Will began listening to the Audio CDs that came with the kit in the car, and Will told me, “You have to listen to this! It’s really going to help our marriage.”

My response? “That’s okay, hon. You just listen to it alone and manage our finances for us. Just let me know what I can and can’t spend. I’d rather not be involved in all that money stuff.”

Bless his heart. Will kept pursuing me, convincing me I would enjoy it. Yeah right! Enjoy listening to financial CD’s while I drive?! Pfft! That’s ridiculous. Give me John Mayer and Jason Mraz instead. (Hello high school music.) After many sweet attempts, I finally caved, and I popped in the first CD while alone in my car.

Wow, this Dave guy actually makes money interesting.
And he’s funny!
Oh, I never thought of stewardship like that before.
I really do want to be on the same page with Will, but I just hate the idea of making budget. Bleh.
Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. Hmm.
The biggest problem with your money is who you see in the mirror. (Ouch.) 

The selling point for me was when Dave began talking about marriage, and how finances are an integral part of communicating, being on the same page, and having a healthy relationship. How does he know this is true? Because statistics show that financial problems are the number one cause of divorce in this country. Yikes

Then he talked about how in each couple, one person is a “nerd” and the other is a “free spirit.” I immediately knew:

Will = Nerd.
Nancy = Free Spirit.

(See below.)

(2006: Dating)

The Nerd enjoys making a budget, paying attention to numbers, learning about investments, organizing the finances.
The Free spirit enjoys shopping, eating out, spending money, and has a very low attention span when it comes to anything related to finances.

But it was crucial that we still worked together. On our budget, on our finances, on our marriage. This could not be all of Will’s responsibility: I had to get in the game.  I had to own up to my “adulthood,” to my marriage, and take responsibility. I had to stop acting like a child. (Truth.)

After realizing this, I made a decision. I was all in. I was going to sacrifice my pride and my money-is-boring-and-you-can-take-care-of-it-honey mentality. I was going to do my part, and allow Will to lead us in this.

And I had no idea how this decision was going to change my life.

(2007: While engaged)

And so began our journey. We got married, combined our finances, and made our first monthly budget. Starting out on a household income of about $37,000 while I was still a full time student (yes we got married while I was still in college), it was a tight budget. But we were doing this thing, and we refused to let finances rob us of a healthy, wonderful marriage.

(More to come tomorrow! Read Will’s take on our store here.)

Sign Up to Receive our FREE PDF - "5 Steps to Preserve Your Legacy Through Photographs"

And join The Nancy Ray News!

No Spam, we promise! Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

[…] husband Will have an amazing story of paying off their house in 32 months. Read it in five parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, […]

[…] Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 And, because I love to hear from you guys… Do you have a financial success story you would like to share? Have any of you put some of these things in to practice? Leave a comment below and share your story! […]

[…] we put towards our house, and we ended up paying off our house in 32 months. (Read our full story: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part […]

After taking y’alls (yes, I’m from the South, lol), I am soooo about getting my budgeting in order! I completed my Dave Ramsey monthly cash flow sheet for December and have made my own makeshift envelope system. I have such a cute little wallet that I couldn’t see myself buying one of his even though I may buy the tracking sheets to keep in there. Just like y’all said, I currently have like 9 envelopes, but as I get the swing of this over the next few months I hope I can get that number down more.

One crazy thing I noticed is that I really can’t tell where some of my money has been going! After making the flow chart, I still had a lot (not like millionaire money but a lot LOT) of money left over that I had to stick somewhere. I was thinking “what on earth have I been doing with this money?!!? lol.

My husband isn’t quite on the budgeting train yet, but he’s not too bad with money anyway. He’s from a third world country so he doesn’t shop or spend money too frequently anyway. He thinks “Americans” are just spending crazy, lol.

Well, I’ll be keeping y’all updated on how it all goes via my IG and the #winwithmoney hashtag. God bless your family and your hearts.


[…] mentioned in Part 1 of our story that Will and I grew up very differently regarding money. I'm going to be honest – […]

Thanks for posting! I am newly married and I am “Will” and he is “You”. It can be challenging for the both of us. However your story is inspirational and we have listed out our goals for 2013 and created a budget.


Thanks so much for sharing your financial journey. After reading your post last week, I have cut up my credit cards and applied for a second job to more aggressively tackle my student loan debt. It’s amazing how each of us is more in control of our behavior than we think. Can’t wait for Part 2 of your series!


Wow! My husband and I are newlyweds and we recently started budgeting our money based on a few of Dave Ramsey’s philosophies. Things will be very tight for while but in the end…we’ll be debt free and on our way to purchasing our first home. I have you to thank for pointing me in this direction, Nancy. You have inspired me and in turn, I’ve inspired my husband. Thank you! We can’t wait to do our “Debt Free” scream.

Looking forward to reading the rest of your financial story.

Nancy! Your journey to financial freedom has already been such an inspiration for me. After ready your post on the visit to the Dave Ramsey show, my husband and I sat down and had a real and honest talk about our finances. We made a commitment to free ourselves from debt and have already started to make progress, what a wonderful feeling! Thank you so much for sharing.

We are so glad you are here!

Welcome to the NRP Blog! Enjoy getting to know our hearts and our work. We are so grateful you stopped by!