Welcome back to Wife Talk Wednesday!
Today I thought I would talk about how Simeon and I try to balance our personal spending habits. I say try because there are plenty of times where, even with our systems in place, we argue about spending money and on what. And I know for a fact that it is a hot topic for many different couples as well. According to this article, about 30% of couples who argue about money end in divorce.
And since I for one never want to go through that, keeping a open conversation about money is key! Simeon is much more of a saver. He plans to save. He cuts luxuries to save more. Even when it comes time to spend the money on the things that he saved for, he is very hesitant to spend that money and looks for the best deal. (This all even applies to how he spends money during games so if you ever play league or any board games, watch out!). On the other hand, while I can save for things that I really really really want, I don't mind spending money if I want or need to. And little luxuries are things that I tend to hate to go without and I'm fine with spending money for a little convenience.
As you can probably see, with these very different spending habits, we tend to disagree on how to spend our money, which was why a budget became such a big deal to us!
Before budget, it constantly felt like I was having to ask to spend money on myself or extra on groceries if anything ever came up. Simeon did his own budgeting on the side and was always pouring what he thought was just extra money into our savings. But it would always not seem balanced as I was the one who did most of the grocery shopping and paying the bills.
It just never felt like it made any sense. I couldn't access Simeon's budget because he just did it on a post it on his laptop. And I had no idea the limits that SImeon was assuming for groceries and other things. So then Simeon would be frustrated when our bank account wasn't matching up with what he imagined would be our targets for groceries and spending.
And a spreadsheet on my computer didn't make any sense either because Simeon was a lot better at updating a budget on a regular basis than I was, and it frustrated Simeon to not have a little control on the budget.
So we moved it to Google Drive. Lovely thing google drive! You can share documents and both make edits and see what the other is planning. But we still had the problem of me constantly feeling like I needed permission to spend money. As I've gotten myself through the majority of the last five years on my own, it felt like a giant pain to now have to "report" to someone to get what I wanted and do what I wanted.
And that was when I decided that our budget needed to be so much more than saving, groceries and bills. It needed to loosen up. Make our marriage a priority instead of something that just lead to this budget.
So we added new categories. We each were given a monthly spending budget (that you could use if you wanted or if you didn't), my blog & business were given a budget, and date nights were automatically counted in as well. Instead of these things being seen as EXCESS, they started being seen as something that we both needed. Simeon needing the structure of a tight budget, and I needing the freedom to buy something if I wanted or needed to.
And I would suggest this strategy to anyone who felt like money was becoming a big problem in their marriage. I Know that it has solved plenty of our own fights,though it has also lead to a few when one or both of us don't pay attention to the budget.
Budgeting has to be something that you work on together. Not just once a month, but constantly.