Dear Dave: My wife and I are on Baby Step 2 of your plan. About eight months ago, she gave birth to our second child, and now she would like to have a mommy makeover. I want her to be comfortable and feel good about herself, but those procedures can be really expensive. I don’t know how to fit that in with trying to pay off debt and get control of our money. What do you think? – Greg:
Basically, this kind of cosmetic surgery isn’t an emergency. It’s a desire. It can, in many cases, be a valid and reasonable desire. But if you guys are serious about getting out of debt and gaining control of your finances, I’d advise waiting until after Baby Step 3 to make this happen. At that point, you’ll have paid off all your debt — except for your home — and you’ll have a fully funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses in the bank.
Going on vacation isn’t a need, it’s a want. Buying a new couch isn’t a need, it’s a want. I know you love your wife, and you want her to be happy and feel good about herself. But right now, this is a want. If it were a medical procedure required to save her life, it would be an emergency — a need. In a case like that, you’d stop what you’re doing right now and address the issue.
This may be something you both agree is a valid expense. If it’s something you’ve talked through together, and something you both want, that’s fine. It’s a reasonable goal under the circumstances. But I would wait until after you’re out of debt and you have your emergency fund in place. Being out of debt will make it so much easier to save up and take care of any out-of-pocket expenses you might have to pay.
All in all, it’s money well spent to help your wife look and feel like herself again. Just do it at the proper time where your finances are concerned! —Dave
Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, a bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard locally on KROC-AM. For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com.