Finance Talk and the Fun of a Budget Date

I love talking about finances and money. I mean, after all, money is such a big part of our lives, right? Definitely not the most important thing in life, but hey, try not to have it. I am a big fan of a few personal finance / early retirement / money management blogs and I impatiently wait for their new posts and discussions in the ‘comments’ section. I check on my investment accounts every day regularly and get excited about ‘playing’ with the ‘retirement calculator’ to see how much my investments will grow over time depending on the rate of return / contribution amount / and the age of retirement. I am slightly crazy like that.

Budget date

T. on the other hand, if I did not push it, would never want to talk about finances, budgeting and planning. What he does like to say though is ‘We are on the same page’. On the same page with what? I mean, since we almost never talk about money. We make it, allocate it and spend it more separately rather than together.

To some extent I like it but to some extent I hate it too. I mean, how does a couple ever plan for big purchases (such as home) without budgeting together?

For the first 3 years of our marriage both of us literally did ‘our own thing’. With some sort of guidelines on who is paying for what, my part was paying a small fraction of our rent ($200) with T. paying the rest of it. I would cover utilities ($150 or so per month), I would also pay for groceries here and there as well as provide the ever priceless health insurance for both of us through my work.  The rest of my paycheck would go towards my personal expenses, toiletries, gifts (if any), money to help out my dad and I would put away the rest (mostly towards retirement savings). Except the rest of the bills (rent, car lease and overall car expenses, travel), I would have no idea where T.’s money was going. And we would have no idea how much we spend each month, well we still don’t..

** Source: Dave Ramsey FB Page

** Source: Dave Ramsey FB Page

And so last November I started ‘the talk’. Well, I first prepped T. for it by asking to disclose all banking and retirement accounts, credit and debit cards and I did the same. That was an easy part. We don’t mind sharing this info. So I prepared an excel spreadsheet and put all of that in. And then I uttered the word ‘budget’.

Oh my.

I want to do what? ‘Put him on the budget?’ And then million excuses followed.
‘What if each month is different than another’, ‘what if I need to spend more’, ‘what if a business dinner comes up’, ‘what if I need to travel’, ‘it is what it is and we are frugal already anyway’, ‘I am not going to put limits on groceries’.

Ugh, fine.

I wonder sometimes which one is more common. My (the above) scenario or the scenarios that I see just too often on frugal or personal finance blogs:

  • ‘And then my husband and I set with a glass of wine and we peacefully discussed our budget for the following month’
  • ‘My husband came up with some great ideas on how we can cut down on our spendings’
  • ‘My husband and I are super excited to start our ‘no spend month’
  • ‘And then my husband and I agreed on $20 in blow money each month but it turned out that actually he did not spend any and rolled it over towards credit card debt’

Seriously, who are those men? Do they truly exist or is this all made up for a sake of a blog post?

Well..

A couple of next ‘budget talks’ followed and both of us ended up arguing and being upset. The idea of following a budget is just not working out in my household and I am going to acknowledge it. I do have to say that T. is careful with money but he does like to splurge here and there occasionally. But I have to give it to him, he is not wasteful. So maybe I will just embrace that. I have a feeling I will always be the one who is more ‘obsessed’. What we did agree on is that it may be smart to manage the money together moving forward, even without following the budget. That was a success.

So I came up with a better idea. All the bills are being paid now from T.’s salary. We are paying for everything with money that he makes. Life has been good to us and whatever he makes is enough to cover all of our expenses. And what I make? All I make is being saved (after taxes, health insurance and other expenses taken out before I even see my paycheck). I know I am a better saver than he is so this makes more sense. This way I know for sure that money is being put away, while before it was not necessarily the case. And it’s for both of us anyway.

Are YOU and your spouse in a perfect ‘synch’ financially?

 

6 comments

  1. Amber says:

    Don’t give up on the budget meetings just yet. I’ve been a huge fan of Dave Ramsey for 10+ years and have seen him live twice. He says that some of the first budget meetings can be tense, but things will get better. My husband and I don’t have budget meetings, but we’re aggressively saving to pay cash for our next house. So, we’re on the same page… spend as little money as possible until that goal.

    It may help to set aside each month some blow money for yourselves, for your coffee lunches and his “guys’ out” time. Another suggestion I may give is to make goals together and dream together. It is easier to be on the same page with savings when each of you are working toward the same thing. I’m not sure if that helps, but there is hope. My husband and I never fight about money and it has strengthened our relationship. What about going to a Financial Peace class together?

    I, too, eagerly wait for your next post! Your life seems different than mine, but it is interesting to see how it is the same.

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      Dear Amber, I like the ‘dreaming together’ part. 🙂

      I am dreaming about a home and T. knows it. It is hopefully the next step. Whenever I stumble upon a home that fits the criteria (less than $250K and preferably paid cash – yes please, so we don’t go into mortgage debt for the next 20 years) I txt my finds to him, and encourage him to dream with me.

      It IS working 🙂 As he admitted to me, he never thought about getting a home until we met. He is the ‘backpacking traveler, never settling kind’ so it takes a lot of convincing and ‘meeting in the middle’.

  2. TerriC says:

    I think the two of you came up with the solution that will work best for the two of you. Yes, my husband and I are on the same page but in our relationship I am the one who will spend a little here for this and a little there for that while he will save save save. We’ve had lots of money talks now over the period of our relationship and I can say honestly that there are times it was tense. What we’ve come to appreciate about one another is that we each see the benefit of what the other is doing. I always used to say that I was good with the pennies and he was good with the dollars. He makes savings a priority. I make living off his wages possible. It works for us, lol.

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      Dear Terri, your words always come through with so much wisdom (and peace). I trust it takes a bit of time before two people get ‘in synch’.

      For me it has been HARD to come from ‘single’ and managing my own things to become ‘two’ and now things need to align and work. It is always a working progress for me. I think the current ‘deal’ with me saving ‘my’ earnings and spending ‘his’ works best for me. Ha. I think this way we will put aside most.

  3. Janet says:

    As an older woman in her 60s having been married twice. Here is my advice for you and your hubby. Try budget meetings upside down.
    At the end of the month or start of the next month meet and talk about what the money from the past month has been spent on and where it went it sounds to me like this is T’s kind of budget. He is working on being frugal and he feels he knows what to do with the money. So just hold your meeting upside down find out where it went / instead of telling him what to do with it. He feels he knows what to do with it.

    • SimpleIsGood4U says:

      I like that, Janet 🙂 And this is what we will do tomorrow (May 1st) when we go over April’s expenses.
      I told T. this will work and will be a bit of a compromise too. I think the idea of the budget is much more scarier (to him) as compared to ‘let’s see how we spent the money last month’.
      I actually have a feeling he was a bit more frugal than I was this past month (yikes). [lots of lattes out and fabric on sale on my side]

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