Monday, 12 December 2011

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*! 


8 comments :

Sophie Slim said...

Budgets are amazing. My hubby and I have such a tight one, but its planned down to the cent. And I LOVE meal planning (all my meals are plain ol boring and carbo loaded) but it means at 4pm I'm not wondering whats fr dinner. I buy exactly what i need in the groceries and nothing more. Food doesn't get wasted.

I really find it hard to believe that people dont shop like this!

Girl Schmuck said...

I am going to tell you something that my mother in law told me.
If your not tithing your stealing from God. It is His money to begin with. You came into this world with nothing and you leave this world with nothing. Everything you have is temporarily borrowed.

Now that said, I will tell you after Military Man and I got our minds set on Asking Gods permission about items we should be spending on, and setting up our tithe first, everything else fell into place. No more bounced check fees, no more transfering money to make ends meet. and the budget of course. Grocery bills still throw us off because I also foget all kinds of stuff at the store even with a list.
The fact that you can talk about it, agree it needs to be done is a fantastic start. Don't blame just lift each other up with, "Hey I am here to help you with that, and your here to help me. With Gods help we can do this" And you can. Button will have great examples of how to stay out of future debt because your setting up the plan now. Great work. Thanks for a great post.

Melissa Wenger said...

We don't use a budget but I'd really like to start. I think I'd feel better knowing exactly how much I have to spend on groceries, etc. We always seem to have enough money for the things we need but are not doing very good about saving. I'd love to hear what system you decide to use...I'm just not sure where to start!

Aynsley said...

We have a pretty loose grocery budget - I know about what we should be spending on groceries and the like but don't stress to much if we are over one week as invariably we are under the week after. I meal plan for the week before I do our grocery shop - I totally agree with Sophie Slim (above) that it just makes things so much easier preparing for dinner. Ours is reasonably flexible in that we can shift meals from night to night if we need to - especially if Lucy is needing me more in the afternoons or Matt is late in etc. Our shopping bills are so much less, we have much less food going to waste (fresh, frozen and tinned products that expire before we use them) and it also means I can see that we are having enough variety. I try and schedule vegetarian meals in and try and base our meals off fresh seasonal produce either that we have grown ourselves or what is available cheaply at the market. This is so much easier now I am home and have the time to spend doing this. Our current favourite is vege fritatta with courgette, leeks and spinach from the garden served with home made tomato relish - delish!. We also have "pocket money" - a life saver. We can spend it anyway we want without having to feel guilty. It covers coffees, meals out, movies, books, craft stuff for me, fishing and biking stuff for Matt. We also have a spreadsheet that we fill in each fortnight to track how we are going. We add notes about large bills (rates etc) and any other extraordinary spending. It has been great watching the mortage reduce right before our eyes! I'm a beleiver that you have to take control of your money to acheive things. It doesn't happen by magic!

Ange (Tall, Short and Tiny) said...

We had a similar discussion recently - struggling to understand how we could spend nearly all of Tall's salary each month. For one month I kept a record of everything we spent. It was a real eye-opener! My biggest expenditure was food - groceries, lunches out, coffees... Since talking about it, we've both been so much better with our spending, it's amazing. For me, it was a big wake up call, and I realised I was still in the mindset of spending 2 salaries, despite me not having worked since Nov '09!
I've found keeping track of things really helped, as does thinking before I spend on the extras. Tall also made it into a bit of a challenge for me which made it more "fun".
Being on the same page certainly helps :)

MaxineD said...

Don't know that we have followed a budget closely for years now, but we have always started with the tithe - that was the main non-negotiable we have had over the past 37 yrs +.
Blessings
M

Amy said...

Hey Elizabeth,
Sounds like you guys have had some really cool revelations about how you each 'work' with money! So helpful knowing where you are coming from to start with (Boyo and I are very different money personalities!). Boyo and I have always had a budget as you know, but have found it particularly helpful the past few years (happy to share it with you if you would like it). We put money aside every month for big regular bills, have a small amount of pocket money each (which I am really missing at the moment!), and we also live off last month's income - which has been such a lifesaver as it gives us a whole month to contingency plan if we have sick days or similar (no sick leave for my work). And we tithe. Which I should have said first as there is a blessing on all our money when we put God first in it!
Hope you come up with something that works really well for you both!
Amy

Miriam said...

I've shopped with cash all year and it has been great. The other thing we do in our budget which I think is really helpful is that we each get a little bit of pocket money each pay which we can use for whatever we like for me it's usually fabric or op-shopping and it makes life not feel like a sentence inside the budget. I would recommend setting a little aside each pay for you. We also have heaps of online accts without eftpos cards for all our different expenses - one is car and insurances and a bit goes in every pay so when those things come up the money is there.