In our house, I manage the finances: the day-to-day bookkeeping, bills, budgets, etc.
This works out well for the both of us, because I married an academically-minded guy who hates nothing more than thinking and worrying about money.
We generally have two types of conversations about money:
E: Can I go out to lunch today?
Me: Ok, but you have a total of $30 left for fast food this month
Me: and don't forget to bring me the receipt
Me: honey, what is this $37 Amazon charge on our credit card?
E: (sheepish grin) ummmm, ok. don't get mad, but I needed a couple of books.
(he spends more money on books that on anything else)
Me: *rolls eyes* this means I get to buy a new pair of shoes
We covered "money" as a topic in our pre-marital counseling, but I certainly had no idea how challenging it could be for two people to manage a shared income with completely different priorities on how it should be spent.
I'm definitely the more spendy of the two of us. I like to make continual small purchases(online shopping...ugh!), and E usually likes to have the best of the big purchases (an HDTV we bought after Christmas...and the MAC he is dying to have once his computer konks out)
We're getting a little better at planning and spending with a tiny discretionary income, but in general we've done a poor job at sticking to our budget--particularly for food and clothes. I blame this partly on the fact that we created our budget before marriage, and it needs some updating. But I also think it can be traced back to the fact that I grew up thinking I was poor, because I have parents who were thrifty to the extreme, and almost never bought anything brand new, and often sacrificed quality for savings.
In college when I met E, I started to search for a balance--learning that spending wisely sometimes (often) meant spending more.
After a couple years, I also have learned we need some self-control. Despite our small income in Southern California, I know we can and should be living on less, paying off loans and saving--at least for emergencies. We pay our credit card bill in full every month, so our only debt is student loans, but there are months when I have to draw out of savings, and it kills me.
I recently started following this blog, written by 3 wives (a mother and 2 daughters) with helpful, every-day, money-saving tips
I was really motivated by the debt recovery progress of Katie & Ryan on Bless This Nest
It's taken me a while to think less selfishly about money, and make some sacrifices, but I hope to much more diligent about our spending in our second year of marriage.
Who handles the money in your family? Do you follow any other great money-saving blogs? (please share!)
ps. www.mint.com is a great resource for managing your accounts, bill payments, budget and savings/debt goals. Best of all...it's free!