Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Budgeting For Married Life

Marriage is hard work... and please by this don't think I mean I don't love it. Because Loving my husband is easy, being his wife is wonderful... but Marriage itself is hard work. 
This is primarily because for the first time in our lives we are both not only responsible for ourselves but also for one another...
The hardest part of this has been finding a happy medium in our budgets.

Those of you who know me well know that I am a shopper... those of you that know my husband well know that he likes to spend money on toys... (expensive toys like guns and vehicles and all sorts of stuff) the gist of life is that both of us like to spend money.

If we both went out every time we wanted something and spent the money our bills wouldn't get paid so we have a few simple rules to make a joint budget work.

Rule #1
Your Joint Bills Get Paid First ... and Together
I know this might seem like the biggest dur ever. But it's not as obvious as you would think. Your obligations have to be a part of your budget. This means writing down what obligations you have. I prefer to do this in an excel spread sheet but you can do it however you would like. Pen and paper, word doc, just something that you can keep from month to month.
It needs to include Rent if you rent, Phone bills, power bills, water bills, cable and internet bills, all your expenses that you have together. Those are the things that you have to satisfy as a couple. It isn't fair for one of you to always pay all the bills out of your paycheck and the other has their entire paycheck to blow each week.

Rule #2
Your Individual Bills... those get paid next
My budget also covers the individual debts R and I had coming into our marriage. I had a car payment, and he has student loans debt. Those things don't stop getting paid now that we are married. However the way we pay them has changed. We share the responsibility now for my car payment and his student loans. They get paid out of the household account rather than our personal accounts because that makes it easier for use to hold ourselves accountable.

Rule #3
Food & Gas... Fuel yourselves please
Groceries and Gas are also essentials that have to be in the budget. Set one that is realistic for what you need and what you can afford. If you don't drive your personal vehicle often life R, you don't need a huge budget for gas. If you drive on a daily basis like me you likely need more. Same goes for groceries... I get by on $30 or less a week when it's just me. But when R is home it is a bit more expensive to feed the two of us. So i have to adjust the budget accordingly.

Rule #4
Let the extras be special.
This one is a little less obvious. Because people are selfish and the things we want often feel like things we need. I hate to break it too you but the things you want aren't always the things you need and when it comes to a budget the needs are more important. Extras should be just that. The things you buy when you have extra money. We don't budget for me to shop, or him to buy new guns. But we will allow ourselves to splurge a little when my paycheck was extra good, or he picked up a few extra cash stops that week.  A big part of budgeting for our Marriage is balancing our "wants" with the things that we need to do to keep our lives balanced, and our checkbooks.

I don't know if these will help you guys. But for us these rule have kept us out of quite a few fights over the past few months because we both know what is important, what we can't live without, and what we can.

A budget isn't the key to a happy marriage but it is certainly a contributing factor.

Love, Tesla

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