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The Sixty-Minute Money Workout

Family Personal Finance

How would you like to be financially transformed in only one hour per week?

A Stopwatch Indicating 60 Minutes

When my husband, Bob, and I were first married, we didn’t like to say that we “argued” about money.

Since he was a born spender and I was a born saver, it was natural that learning to manage money as a couple would require a certain amount of give and take—but the word “argue” was just a wee bit too negative for newlyweds like ourselves.

So we called it “intense fellowship” instead! We learned that there was a fitting way to approach this delicate topic and a very, very wrong way.

We decided to try an experiment. We set aside an hour a week and developed a very strategic plan as to how we spent that hour. We found that we stopped arguing, and eventually, our finances began to change for the better. Just as a physical workout takes dedication and hard work, our moneymaker workout was vigorous, but it was worth it.

We got out of debt, began to pay cash for household goods, and even planned a debt free family vacation.

I believe that every person’s finances can be transformed by strategically investing one hour a week.

The Pre-Workout

I was once at a formal event when someone started to throw rolls, and before we knew it, there was a roll war going on amongst the ball gowns and tuxedos!

It just goes to show that even classy people can digress into bad behavior without boundaries.

The first step is to get a money buddy (your spouse or a trusted friend) and set up some limits that will be observed during the money workout.

These borders should be uniquely yours, but here are a few boundaries to get you started:

  • No condescending attitudes
  • No negativity
  • No name-calling
  • Each workout section will be timed
  • The workout will begin and end on a positive note
  • No throwing food (particularly rolls)

In the years since Bob and I developed our money workout, I’ve shared it with thousands of couples who have gone from fighting to financial freedom in a few months.

Like any physical workout, the key is consistency and intensity. It’s also important to realize that you won’t solve all your problems in just one hour, but you’ll make progress each time. (Tweet this)

So let’s get started. Get a timer and set it for each part of the one-hour workout.

1. Make Up Your Mind Warm-Up (five minutes)

The first part of this workout is twofold: decide on the financial topic and say something positive.

Here are some sample money topics to choose from:

  • Budgeting
  • Debt reduction
  • Vacation planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Kids and allowances
  • Stretching the entertainment budget
  • Building up savings accounts
  • College funding
  • Cutting the fat in the spending plan
  • Buying a car
  • Refinancing the house
  • Homebased Business plan

You get the idea.

Next, say something positive to your partner. For example, let’s say that the topic is “debt” you could say, “I believe we can dig out of this debt if we work together.”

Speaking of debt, Bob and I had $40,000 in consumer debt when we got married.

In our money workout, we decided to get out of debt and made immediate changes in our lifestyle to live on a budget in order to accomplish this goal.

We made up our minds, looked for resources to help, and within 2.5 years, we were debt free!

During this part of the workout, make up your mind about today’s workout topic and say something positive.

2. Strength Training (10 minutes)

During this part of the money maker workout, write down the desired outcomes based on your money topic. By writing down goals on paper, you can work toward a tangible and objective standard.

For example, if your topic is “debt,” some goals might include:

  1. We will stop spending more than we make,
  2. We will pay the interest on the debt we have accumulated and/or
  3. We want to retire the debt.

3. Budget Burn (20 minutes)

By the time you are on this section, you are getting into the nuts and bolts of your money topic.

For example, if your topic is setting up a budget, then this is the time to crunch the numbers, negotiate each category in the spending plan and agree to the new budget.

This may not seem like a lot of time on this topic, but realize that you may not get it finished during the first money workout.

The key is to keep the discussion moving and catch what you missed the next time around.

If you want to see a variety of helpful tools, including an online budget, go to elliekay.com.

By limiting the time set on each section, you are motivated to keep working hard toward your goals and won’t be as likely to waste time on rabbit trails (such as arguing or pontificating.)

4. Taking Your Heart Rate (20 minutes)

This is the section where you continue to work toward resolution and the specific goals that you set for the hour.

You may need to gather facts on your money topic.

For example, if your topic is “debt,” you might gather debt information by ordering a free copy of your credit report at Annual Credit Report.

5. Congratulations Cool Down (5 minutes)

You are at the end of your money workout. Sit back and grab a glass of something cool to drink and reflect on all you’ve accomplished in just one hour!

Take this time to tell your partner one thing you appreciate about them in order to end this on a positive note.

For example, “Thank you for crunching those numbers as we were working on the budget. I know you were getting tired, but you kept going and I appreciate that.”

Next, sync your calendars, and set a date for your next money workout.

Keep in mind that just as you don’t get physically buff in one workout, your finances aren’t going to get in shape after the first try, either. But after you have exercised with this money workout several times, you’ll find yourself stronger, smarter, and more fiscally fit.

What area of your finances would you like to transform through this money workout?

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