On The Same Page...

Like all couples - we have often had some rather 'interesting discussions' about money (shall we say *grin*)! He is a saver, but also a rather spontaneous spender - can you get this, let me tell you... YES! And I am a spender, but a careful spender; as in, all the bills are paid and everything done that needs to be done - but there is never any money left at the end of the pay period!

Mr.C - well he likes to think he is a saver... and when he sets his mind to it, he goes hard out and gets quite anal about every single cent spent. But in-between these extremes, he is very generous and is quite happy to spend money on - well, anyone really, but in particular me and Button! He doesn't often buy things for himself, but when he does - it is the best (such as Levi jeans etc)...

We have had to replace the fridge, washing machine, my mobile phone, my engagement ring and a number of other smaller items this year. It has been a tough year - but they are all paid off now, except the fridge... and now it's Christmas! We have been very 'lax with budgeting since coming down to one income - using the excuse 'we don't have any money anyway'; but it turns out we do when we put our minds to it. We have been able to put what I call, quite significant, sums of money each pay period on the credit card and yet not feel like we're missing it. 

It has been bothering me a little, as we'd stopped things like our tithe to our local church in order to pay the credit card off - but we were still being rather frivolous with our money each time. 

So the other night I decided it was time we discussed it, and set ourselves up with a working budget... starting next year *grin*! The funny thing was - Mr.C had been thinking the same thing, at the same time; how coincidental is that! In my life though - I call this God-cidental; He'd obviously been 'speaking' to us both at the same time about the same thing... how amazing is that! This meant, that for the first time in a while, we'd been able to sit down and really discuss the money issue properly - no serious arguments, no accusations flying, no blame-shifting... actually to be honest, some of the above did still happen, but not to the extent it normally does!

We also were able to discuss with each other where we felt our strengths and weaknesses were when it comes to handling money, and how to use them logically so it works for us! Like I said - Mr.C is good at enforcing and saving when he sets his mind, but I am good at bill-paying! So we're going to sit down one night this week, set up a working budget between us that we're both happy with - making sure we'll be saving (to either pay off debt or for our future) each pay period, and also making sure there'll be money aside for bigger bills (such as car rego's and insurance - we ALWAYS get caught out with these). Then he is going to be the main-budget keeper, while I pay the bills and keep the spreadsheet up-to-date... basically this means that anything over a certain (agreed to) amount that I want to spend, has to be run past him (and vice versa). 

It also means things like - taking cash to the Supermarket, so when we run out, well tough! These days we just get everything we think we need, and look in shock at the Cashier when they tell us what we owe; but pay it anyway! Not anymore - we have done it this way before, and it worked well... we kept a jar with any spare change we got each shop, and it meant that if we ran out of something before the next big shop; we could (hopefully) purchase it without going over our budget! It also means I HAVE to be more organised and write up shopping lists, maybe even do some menu planning (heaven help me - literally)! It means no more extra trips to the shops for things we forgot - this is where we are wasting most of our money, we can go down and do small shops 2 and 3 times within a pay period, coming out spending another $50 or more each time. Ouch! Add that up with the original 'big shop' and our budget became a bit of a joke...

So the end of frivolous spending is over, and a period of growing up is about to take place... there is always pain when you are being stretched and changed in an area, but hopefully this time we'll both find we can stick it out. It isn't one person's decision, it is something we both feel very passionate about...

How do you cope with money within your marriage/family? Do you stick to a budget? Feel free to share any and all tips with me about what does or doesn't work for you - I would rather NOT learn the hard way if I don't have to *grin*! 


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