Monday, April 29, 2013

Marriage Mondays ~ Money

The dreaded "M" word.  It's that one word that no one wants to have anything to do with.  Everyone wants LOTS of it and no one wants to know where it goes, and how it gets there.

I've talked about this before.  I've talked about our version of the Dave Ramsey Program.  How much we love doing this and seeing our credit cards go down and slowly our savings to go up!

This past year has really shown us what we need to have.  When we lost our baby things started to pile up.  Costs that we weren't ready for, and never should have to think about while expecting a baby, let alone your own children babies or not.  And slowly our Emergency Fund started to sink lower and lower.

We are so blessed to have family who loves us and cares for us in every way we can and have helped to pay for different parts of the funeral until we could.  It has been such a blessing.

Now we are back on our feet.  Our debts have been paid off and paid back and slowly we are getting there.  Slowly we are seeing the light.

Which brings me to why I'm posting about Money in my Marriage Mondays posts. 

I've been thinking a lot about how some people have *no* idea where their money is going, where it has come from and what is going to happen to it.  Some people just don't have a clue to what is happening in their own family.

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer my mom had a "field trip" to the basement to go through all the important papers they have.  All their taxes, files, etc..  So much stuff to go through and learn.  And that was about the point that Arnold and I chose to make sure we were BOTH in our on money.  And it has become part of our marriage.

When we were first married we had little to no money.  Isn't that always how it works?  Eventually we gained some more, lost LOTS more and slowly got ourselves on our feet.  We had bank accounts in 3 different banks.  It was crazy.  And just before we had gotten married I made the stupidest choice I have *ever* made.  I got a department store credit card.  I thought, hey why not?  It will help our credit.

It took FOREVER to pay off.  Like so much time.  Even now I'm never comfortable going to stores that ask me if I want their credit card.  Most of the time I follow it up with things like "no thank you I'm trying to pay off all of mine" or " are you crazy?  I don't have that kind of extra cash laying around to pay the interest rate you want!".  Generally people leave me alone after that.

Any who.. back to the point of writing this.  I'm hoping to do something called "Marriage Mondays Money Posts" on the last Monday of the month.  Just something about how our budgeting works for us.  not for everyone else mind you.  We each need to find something that works for us and go with it.  I read a lot about money and what people say to earn more, keep more when doing taxes and how to save that "$6000.00" a year with simple changes.  But it always leads me back to just being careful with my own money.

So first things first.  Dave Ramsey teaches us to get right with your 4 walls.  Make sure you can live within your means.  It's different for everyone.  We pay a lot in rent.  When most people find out how much we pay they are always shocked and ask why we don't buy our own house right now!  And generally speaking, we would/could but we don't have the credit or the down payment needed.  And to be honest, I don't want one yet. I'm not ready to commit to a place.  For example... From the time Arnold and I got married we moved 7 times.  It gets to the point that when I do my spring cleaning the boys ask if we are moving again.  They are just so used to it.  While we love our neighbourhood and we wouldn't want to move I'm not ready to commit to staying here.

For us (again different for everyone) our 4 walls meant having enough money to pay for food (I'll get into that later), to pay for rent,  and to pay for hydro/gas/water/electric.  Everything above and beyond that is "extras" that get put into your budget later.

So we have to make sure we can afford all those.  While it's not a lot to think about at first.  When Arnolds pay cheque comes in (as we are a 1.25 income family right now) we have to think about where our money is going and what we are/can do about it. 

I was talking to a friend who has started looking at her money as a family.  She can't understand where the money goes and how 1 pay cheque has to get them through the whole month!  I asked her what happen to the first pay?  I was told it's their "Rent" money.  Well... then I got it.  For a LONG time we did the same thing.  We paid our whole rent cheque out of our first pay of the month.  It was almost impossible for US to get that to work.  Slowly I realized if I saved part of the pay it wasn't so hard. 

Now we work like this:

about $400 - $500.00 of our rent comes from pay #1.  It gets set aside into an account and we add it all up later in the month.
The rest of our pay comes out of our second cheque so that we aren't scrounging to make it for a whole month on one pay.

Next time I'm going to talk about our grocery budget and how we make that work for US!  This may not work for you but it's what works for our family.  Hopefully, if nothing else, it gives you an idea of how we do it.

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