Photo courtesy Olivia Gray
Editor’s note: This post is written by my wife, Pam. Hope you enjoy.
If you are anything like me and my husband, you’ve had some struggles over finances in your marriage. Sometimes we agree on where our money should go and sometimes we don’t. We’ve had ups and downs with promotions, job failures and job successes.
We both brought different ideas about money into marriage. I was such a tightwad when we first married – didn’t think we could spend money on anything. He didn’t have to worry about me going on any spending sprees. But having a tightwad for a spouse can be just as frustrating as being married to a shopaholic.
Eight years after we married, I joined some of my prior co-workers to start a new company. We struggled, pinched pennies, ate Ramen noodles and PB&J, eliminated non-essentials. Though the company didn’t make it, after two years we learned a lot of valuable lessons about life and about money.
Here are some of the money lessons:
- Be content with what you’ve got. “Thanks Eve – your walkin’ around naked in paradise and had to eat the apple.” The grass isn’t always greener, ladies, so look for the positives in your current situation. Want to upgrade to a new house? Figure out ways to organize or spruce your current home up – it’ll save you money and a lot of moving headaches. Want to upgrade the car? Cars run a couple hundred thousand miles these days. Why not stick it out with ole faithful, pay her off and use that money for something else. Hold off on that fifth pair of brown shoes with matching purse -four will do.
- Budget. Take a month or two and write down everything you spend money on. Everything. I bet you’ll be amazed at where some of your money goes. You can’t make effective changes without knowing what needs changed. Then, write out a budget with your spouse so you both know what to expect. Hold each other accountable. Take responsibility for the areas that you have the bigger impact on be it grocery shopping, clothes for kids, whatever. If you want to work in a big vacation – do it. Budgets include fun stuff as well as the basic living expenses. Don’t forget to budget saving for retirement!
- Give. Be good stewards. Odds are, someone has helped you financially in tough times. Be intentional about doing the same. Giving at church is an important thing for us. You may have organizations or individuals that have impacted you in the past – support them. It’s a good feeling to know you’ve impacted another person.
- Communicate. Budgeting will help this. First of all, hopefully you agreed on the budget together. Then, you and your spouse can track it and check status on how you are doing. Some couples share a bank account and some prefer separate accounts – whatever works for you.
- Enjoy life. While saving is important, it’s also important to enjoy life while you’re living it. Early on, I had Corey so scared about spending money that he wouldn’t even “splurge” on a Valentine’s Day card because he was afraid I would get upset that he spent money. Wow. Was I a dragon or what? On the other hand, don’t make your husband scared to get the credit card bill each month.