I’ve got something a little different for you all today! Val from Tangled In Texas shares a little bit about how the handle money in their household. Did you know that financial issues are one of the top causes for divorce? So I feel that this is something every couple needs to work on. We can’t just let ourselves blow all kinds of money and then declare bankruptcy… that’s just not okay, being responsible with money is part of being an adult. SO here is one of the sweetest Texan Ladies I know, and her take on Money.
Hey y’all! My name is Val a.k.a. Tangled In Texas. I am *super* excited to be guest blogging for Zara! She kind of gave me carte blanche to discuss whatever I wanted (which is awesome!), so I thought we could talk about money. Yep, the evil green monster that we can’t live without. I want to share with y’all why and how The Hubby and I don’t argue over money.
I love being married, but I also have an affinity for food and fashion…which can get expensive. The Hubby says we don’t argue over money because we don’t have any - ha ha! (I am currently a stay-at-home-mama)…but I say it’s because of that and because we treat each other as equals. By having a set budget and a small amount of fluff money to work with each month, we really have no reason to argue about money.
The Hubby and I have been married almost ten years - July 2012. Eek! To read our love story click here. He admits that when we were first married, he was a little worried that I would spend all of our money. I knew I wouldn’t do that, but I was accustomed to spending most of what I earned when I lived with my parents. Of course I paid my bills (a car payment and a gas credit card), but I didn’t have any other obligations, so I would usually spend most of what was left. When we got married, I knew that my spending habits had to change immediately. After all, I had a husband, an apartment, and lots of bills now!
In my opinion…in most relationships…
-There is a “spender” and a “saver”. I guess I’m the spender!
-The male is usually the breadwinner. Unfortunately, women’s lib hasn’t completely caught up to our salaries yet.
Here’s what works for us:
1. Having completely joint accounts.
All the money goes in one account, so it doesn’t matter who makes more, etc. We’re supposed to be a team after all.
2. Creating a filing system.
This can be as simple as an accordion folder or as elaborate as a filing cabinet with a folder for each individual category (ex: house payments, bank statements, utilities, etc.)
3. Creating a budget spreadsheet in Excel.
Use formulas to calculate surplus so the amounts can change as needs, expenditures, and income change. We input realistic numbers in every single category we can think of, but also include a miscellaneous category for unexpected purchases.
4. Setting realistic goals for what we want to accomplish financially.
(Ex: pay off our house early, maximize retirement savings, open a 529 college savings plan)
5. Giving ourselves a set amount of “fluff money” .
This amount is withdrawn at the beginning of each month for each person to blow on whatever they want or save it for future fun. Again, adjust as income and/or needs change.
6. All budgeted expenditures are paid with either a credit card or a check.
There is just an understanding that neither person will “go crazy” with the credit card. The only purchases that should ever be on there are normal household things like gas, groceries, tires, etc. The credit cards are paid off in full every month. We only use credit cards that pay cash back or accrue points that can be redeemed for gift cards for household things (ex: Lowe’s or Shell gas). The checkbook stays at home where it is safe, rather than being carted around town all the time.
7. To save money, discuss downgrading household bills.
Go through the spreadsheet to see where things can be cut - such as downgrading cable/dish, cell phone services. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish when you begin calling companies and researching your bills.
8. For large fluff purchases, allow each person to have the same amount of money.
For example, if I found an amazing bag that I just couldn’t live without, I would either see if Hubby wanted something too or we would discuss the fluff purchase to make sure the other person was totally okay with it.
I realize that these tips and tricks may not work for everyone, but it’s what works for us. It keeps us honest and on budget, which results in…no arguments!
Thanks again for allowing me to guest post, Zara!
*Tangled lives near Dallas with her husband and their 16 month old son. The Hubby quit his lawyer job to pursue his dream of being a teacher. He is currently a principal in the public school system. Tangled quit her job as a banking officer to be a stay-at-home mom.
What do you all think? What are some things you do to budget? Do you feel you have a good handle on money?