Question: How can I convince my husband that budgeting is important? I'm a firm believer in it, but my husband doesn't think it will work in our situation.
Jim: Finances are a significant issue in any marriage. Disagreements about money can create huge problems between husband and wife, but the need for good communication is even more important. In fact, it's absolutely fundamental to the health and longevity of your relationship. So before tackling the question of a budget, I'd suggest you take steps to strengthen the foundation of your marriage, including some serious reading on the subject of marital communication and goal setting. (We can help with that -- see below.)
That said, I'd hazard a guess that "your situation" is probably one that's faced by millions of families: Your bills are bigger than your paycheck and you're spending more than you're earning. The good news is that things are not really as hopeless as they seem. You may need to seek professional assistance, but if you can learn to communicate with each other, you and your husband can come up with a workable plan for gaining control of your finances.
The key is to learn how to live on less than you earn. A budget will enable you to do this. In the process, it will also:
-- Establish a spending plan.
-- Encourage saving.
-- Reduce stress.
-- Allow for the unexpected.
-- Encourage charitable giving.
-- Discourage debt.
-- Facilitate flexibility.
To set up a budget, you have to discuss and establish your priorities -- which can take you a long way in the direction of relational and financial harmony.
For related articles and resources, see www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/money-and-finances. If you feel you need help sorting through these ideas and applying them to your situation, feel free to give our counselors a call at 855-771-HELP (4357).
Question: We don't fly frequently, so as parents we're wondering how to handle in-flight movies. Should we assume the "airline versions" are free from inappropriate material?
Bob Waliszewski, Director, Plugged-In: The short answer is, "No!" But that needs a bit of unpacking, given the rapidly changing ways airlines deliver movies. First, some aircraft within an airline's total fleet still offer in-flight films the "old-fashioned" way: an announcement about a single movie with everyone being encouraged to lower their window shades. If that's the case with your upcoming trip, you need to know that these particular airline versions can range from squeaky clean to quite problematic.
Much of that has to do with the original movie itself. If the film is something like "Dolphin Tale 2" or "When the Game Stands Tall," you're fortunate because movies like these require little to no editing. But for motion pictures like "Let's Be Cops" and "The Heat" (both R-rated originally, and recently shown in-flight on at least one airline), it's nearly impossible to edit out all inappropriate content. Plus, my personal experience is that editors of in-flight movies rarely think like you and me!
But there's something else at play in the sometimes-friendly skies these days. Many aircraft are wired for Wi-Fi and/or offer a plethora of media choices. I was recently on an international flight that advertised "over 1,800 channels of premium entertainment to keep you busy." Almost 2,000 options!
Another domestic carrier I regularly fly offers DirecTV and on-demand films for flights over two hours. If you're flying an airline that delivers dozens -- if not hundreds -- of airborne media choices, do some research ahead of time. Airline entertainment options can often be found online; then cross-reference with Pluggedin.com to determine appropriateness. You're likely to find an encouraging and uplifting film for your children (and you) to view, right there in plane sight!
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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