Friday, July 23, 2010

Money Honey

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
E: Awwww....
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!


4 comments:

MayLove said...

Ok, don't judge me, but we have yet to sit down and discuss finances. I know, I know. He makes twice what I make, and I have a decent salary, so it hasn't been an issue. We haven't combined our finances, and I don't think we will and we are both pretty good as managing our own money. He pays the mortgage, and I pay the rest of the bills, and we have enough to do whatever else we want within reason. We don't go out to fancy dinners (we eat fast food way too much though), we don't make huge purchases (though some are coming up). We are controlled spenders, so that helps a lot. I know we need to sit down and do this, but we've been so busy with other things, and since it's not really an issue we've pushed it down the list. I will definitely follow the blogs you mentioned though b/c I am a cheapo at heart. You sound like a phenomenal family financier- great job! I'm jealous!

Morgan said...

I've heard good things about Mint.com, so thanks for another recommendation for it! We are going to sit down and go over our finances next month, but I don't think we'll be combining things quite yet. We're going to do a joint savings account, and determine who is responsible for what bills (we already pretty much have that set), and as long as we're each contributing the set minimum to savings each month, we don't really need to know what the other is spending (him on electronics gadgets and me on shoes).

M and C said...

Funny! I just wrote a post about our budget this week and have one in the works about Mint.com I haven't tried it yet and am looking for feedback from users.

bekapaige said...

Great resources- I really agree that the money thing is hard, although in our relationship Sean is the one monitoring the checkbook. It's really hard when, like you said, we should be saving and paying off debt but there *always* seems to be something new cropping up. For instance, both our cars need all four tires replaced this month... ugh!

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