There are so many conversations you should have before you get married and while you’re married; one of those conversations is money. It can become a sore spot in a relationship if you let it, but that doesn’t have to happen! Money – our thoughts, views, budget, and everything surrounding it plays a big role in your home.
One thing we agreed on was that money would be a frequent conversation. It’s something we know we have to be on the same page about and if not, we would have to work to come to an understanding because there will be times when we disagree.
Today I wanted to share with you how we keep everything organized when it comes to money and budget in out home. As singles, we each managed our own budget but we knew in order for things to go smoothly, one person would have to be primarily in control. We both have a finance background so each of us is capable. We had to decide who was going to be the gatekeeper and somehow I ended up with the magic wand. I still don’t know how that happened!
It’s a bit stressful for me in in the beginning because if I screwed something up, it wasn’t going to only affect me, but E as well (no pressure there)!
Time to Come Clean
We had to come clean with our individual budgets and share those as well as all of our bills. We’ve been together long enough so we already knew what a lot of those were, but of course, there are those that aren’t talked about. Such as my DIY craft addiction and his love of sports jerseys.
We had to have several long conversations about what we were going to give up for what we wanted. The main thing we wanted was a house. We weren’t going to deprive ourselves, but we knew our sometimes frivolous spending and numerous trip taking needed to take a break.
Creating Our Budget
To create our budget,
- We placed every bill we had in a basket in my office. Most of them are sent electronically so I just printed them out. I then grabbed a Google doc and listed every bill we had and the amount.
- I went through the list and looked for duplicates and canceled those.
- I checked the list to see which bills could be combined to receive multi-account discounts.
- I called providers to see if they offered any long time customer discounts.
- I looked at the list to see if either of us should change providers because the other was less expensive. For example, changing my insurance cut my premium in half. Who doesn’t love that?!
I’m gonna to be honest; the above took some time to complete and I spent a lot of time on the phone, but guess what? Following the steps above saved us about $500 each month! Come on y’all – who couldn’t use an extra $500 every month? I don’t know about you, but I’m ALWAYS happy to save that kind of money. There are PLENTY of things I can do with that $6,000 each year!
Setting Up A Budget That’s Friendly
That sounds funny, doesn’t it? A budget that’s friendly? For us friendly meant:
- Accessible at any time
- Both of us can make changes and those changes are available to us quickly
Google Docs to the rescue! Being in finance, security is always something we thnk about so we use Google’s 2-way authentication function.
With the one spreadsheet, we have many tabs.
- The first page is the list I mentioned earlier so we know what bills we have.
- The second page is the annual budget with all of the calculations, our income, and what’s left over.
- The third page breaks down each pay period and what will be paid when.
- I then have a tab for each month with the bill, how much was paid and if there is a variance, I make a note of what the variance was from.
I know it sounds like a lot, but once you get going, it’s quite simple! Don’t have a budget already set-up? You can get mine. Just enter your name and email address in the boxes below.
Budget Friendly Bank Accounts
One of my concerns at first was bank accounts. There was no way we could live in one account. We each kept our own individual bank accounts and opened a joint checking and savings account. This allows us to spend money as we wish and not feel as if we have to “ask” for money. The joint account acts as our household account.
We sat down together and decided on a certain amount of money that would be our “allowance.” Every two weeks I transfer that amount into our bank accounts plus money for gas. The main goal is to keep hands out of the household account. The household account is used only to deposit our paychecks, pay bills, and any other household expenses such as groceries, home repairs, etc.
Doing things this way helps as I said earlier to give us some freedom to spend and it’s easier to pinpoint where our money is going.
Managing Each Month
At the beginning of the month, we sit and discuss anything we have going on that’s out of the norm and anything coming up within the next 90 days to 6 months. With summer coming soon, we like to take a lot of extended weekend trips, but with the wedding in the Spring, those trips won’t be as plentiful as they have in previous years.
Major Purchases + Savings
We try to plan for major purchases as much as possible, but since you can’t always plan for them, saving is so important. At the bare minimum, you should have 6 months of expenses saved up. It may seem like a lot, but if something should happen, such as you lose your job, it goes quickly! From 2007 – 20014, I was laid off 4 times. I can definitely attest to the fact that 6 months isn’t much!
We will need to purchase a car later this year, a major purchase. To prepare, we have started adding that into our budget now so that it isn’t such a shock later and we can make adjustments as needed now, rather than later. Right now we can have a car payment, without having a car payment!
Keeping A Happy Home
Discussing money can be a touchy, intense subject, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping the lines of communication open, being honest, and preparing keeps a happy home and an organized budget. Making sure everyone stays in the know, leads to happy faces and a happy life!
How does your family manage your budget? Share your tips!
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