Dear Dave,

My wife and I are trying to improve our finances by living on a budget and following your plan. Weíre in the middle of Baby Step 2, so weíre working to pay off everything but our house using the debt snowball. We only bring home about $40,000 a year combined right now, so how should we handle Christmas budgeting in the middle of working our debt snowball?

ó Scot

Dear Scot,

Working to get out of debt can cause stress within a relationship. That stress is sometimes magnified if youíre serious about getting out of debt during the holidays. Iím glad you two are on the same page where your finances are concerned. The fact that youíre committed to becoming debt-free as a couple will go a long way toward ensuring a merrier Christmas.

Just sit down together, have a look at your budget, and ask what she thinks is a reasonable amount to spend on gifts and things while youíre trying to get out of debt. If you think her suggestion is a manageable figure, just give her a hug, tell her you agree, and move on. If youíve been trying to get out of debt for a while, you might even propose using last yearís Christmas budget.

The important thing is to make sure you listen to each other, and approach this together. On the off chance one of you wants to spend what the other considers to be too much, talk about how and why you arrived at that figure. Then, using your budget as a guide, gently and lovingly talk things out.

Honestly, I donít think youíre going have problems if youíve already been working together to get your finances in order. And remember, you donít have to spend a lot of money to make people happy. Delicious homemade treats and thoughtful, handcrafted gifts can put a smile on anyoneís face.

Merry Christmas!


ó Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 13 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.