Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Budgeting 101 : Managing Money as a Couple

Hi! I feel like it's been forever since we talked. I had every intention of being here on Monday to share all about my weekend, I actually did a lot! But, after getting home late Sunday night from a full day of life, hopping on the computer was not anywhere on my to-do list. And the thought of rushing a post Monday morning just to put something up seemed disingenuous. So, sorry, real life got in the way of the Internet.

If you've been around for a while you know I've written a few budgeting posts, and am no stranger to the world of managing my own money. I make smart choices (mostly) that are leading me in the direction I want to go, which is eventually, early retirement and a retirement filled with travel. So, even though I'm 26 I'm making moves to set myself up for that. And, in a weird, twisted, sense of the word, it's actually kind of fun.

But, what happens when you bring another person into the mix? Now you're morphing two sets of goals into one, hopefully shared vision, and trying to make it happen. But, double the money, double the trouble. There may be more money between the two of you now, but there are also two people who could make a choice to spend it.


Mr. Sass makes fun of me for being the cheapest mofo ever. While I don't exactly deny the accusation, I prefer to think of myself as selectively frugal. It's like selective hearing, but with my money spending habits. A trip to Africa + safari? I'll gladly drop $10K. Paying $40 to check a bag on a domestic flight? No thank you, you best believe I'll jut shove everything I need in my carry-on.

We're under 100 days until Mr. Sass & I officially tie the knot, and I know, because every time I go to our wedding website, we're reminded. They also send out emails to remind us of all the shit we haven't done yet, but need to. Gee thanks, The Knot.

One thing I haven't seen on any Knot to-do lists though? Make a budget. No, not for the wedding, for your lives. I've talked before about the 6 steps to start making a budget, but this is more than that. You're combining budgets. While some budget categories may truly double, like the amount you spend on gas will probably not change once you're married, however, the amount you spend on groceries or housing may. While you may have been able to push off saving money, you can't anymore. Do you want to buy a house someday? Or take a vacation together? Better start saving!

We've been super honest about money from the start, and it's far from a taboo subject between the two of us. I know exactly what Mr. Sass makes, what he spends it on, what he's got in savings, and what he still owes on the house (which will soon be what we owe on the house, just as soon as we're officially married.). He knows the same about me - and I view that knowledge with a sense of pride.

Not only have we shared the nitty gritty details of our finances, but also our financial goals. It's no secret that we both would love to retire early, mid-50's or earlier, and not have to worry about how we'll fund the rest of our lives. We want retirement to be filled with travel, and since by no means are we cut out to sit around all day, I imagine we'll find some sort of side hustle that may make money, but mostly keeps us out of trouble.

While I think we manage our money well as individuals, and we've talked about how we'll manage it as a couple, we haven't exactly begun executing our plan yet. We haven't officially made our budget yet, but it's on our to-do list.

As I navigate through this new budgeting world for the first time, I figured I would post as we go, outline our financial goals as a couple - which we've broken down in to a 5 year plan of sorts. How we'll budget for the first year, hopefully Mr. Sass won't mind me sharing real numbers, but I respect that it's now both of our money, + how we're managing money in the interim engagement period of our lives.

What's your biggest money struggle as a couple?
Are all your accounts joined?
Any budgeting questions for me - or something you're nosy about?

Linking up with Amanda.

18 comments:

  1. I took over my Hubs's money before we were even engaged. He was in debt and needed help getting out of it, so I sorted it out for him. Which was awesome, because then we started our life together without that hanging over us and I was able to get a handle on how everything would work. He's a spender, I'm a saver, so it only made sense that I become the prime money handler. I also update him on everything and he has full access. That just works for us.

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    1. Sounds like it's a great system for you guys! I love that you were able to help him get out of debt! What a huge step. :)

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  2. I'm the book-keeper of the house because I'm just a control freak like that. I *NEED* to know expense vs income in order to be above at that threshold so I don't stress out. That said, we have several accounts: joint where both of our paychecks are deposited and where the bills are paid, I have my own account for my business (that I have to keep separate) so all of my business expenses come out of there and DH has his own little "bike" account where he takes part of his pay to deposit in there so he can buy whatever bike things he wants without me having to freak out about it since I hate seeing non-bill things being withdrawn from the joint account.

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    1. I think we may have to do something like that...obviously MY running purchases are JUSTIFIED & NECESSARY - but hunting equipment for Mr.Sass? Nope. I'm like "really, you needed that, you NEEEDED that? Are you sure? How much was it? How often will you use it? Were they having a sale?" Haha. And I know he doesn't love that...

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  3. People give us so much crap because we keep seperate accounts - & we just sort of divide the bills. & of course, we share expenses as much as we can - but its just nice that I dont have to account to him for what i spend & he does the same to me... it works for us. I think that's it - WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU - you do that. People have told us, marriages HAVE to share bank accounts... well, here we are married for 21 years & its never been an issue for us at all.

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    1. I actually know several couples with nothing joined, or like half joined. To that I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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  4. I've heard that money can be one of the biggest struggles in a relationship, and I love that you covered it here.

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    1. I've definitely heard that as well, so we want to make it a point to be very open about it so hopefully we can avoid ever fighting about it!

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  5. It sounds like we have the same spending habits. I'm a self proclaimed "bargainista" (way better that tight arse/cheap ass) whereas Jesse finds money burns a hole in his pocket :P

    We actually don't have joint accounts - but only because I'm too lazy to have multiple accounts and we just split who pays what anyway - and because my business accounts are tied to my personal accounts and joint accounts make tax time even more complicated for me as a small business owner!

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    1. I would definitely think you'd want things separate for business things. It's funny 'cause even though Mr. Sass is the "spender" he's just less of a tight ass than I am. Haha. Like oh geeze, you splurged on cheese. Things that would make real splurgers think we were batty.

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  6. I'm really lucky, because Dan and I share the same view and philosophy on money. We've actually never had an argument or disagreement on budgeting because we both think the exact same way. One thing that helps is we each have our own personal accounts as well as a shared joint account. My personal account only gets about 10% of my take home pay, but that gives me the freedom to get whatever I want and I don't have to worry about making sure Dan's ok with how I spend that. Definitely helps a lot!

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    1. YESSSS! I think this is what we're leaning towards, but just aren't sure what percentage or $ amount makes sense to keep for ourselves. He also works a lot of OT from time to time - and we're trying to talk out where that money goes. Does he get to keep it all? On one hand, he is doing the physical work, on the other, it's more about the sacrifice of time, we're both giving up time with each other for him to take the shift.

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  7. We're planning to keep our own separate accounts and then also have a joint account that we both put equal amounts in every month- one for shared bills and an emergency fund. We'll also have a joint savings account for trips we're planning together or larger purchases. It just works better for us to feel independent and like we can do anything within reason in our own accounts! I'm proud of your savings/get out of debt ability and have no doubt you will be rocking that retirement backpacking in your 50s!

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    1. Whoooo! I definitely like the idea of having some money that's yours and yours alone, especially since we both have hobbies. Like. I'm not going to justify needing a new sports bra to keep my shit locked & loaded. Ya know.

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  8. What's your biggest money struggle as a couple? - I am/was a spender and love to shop, KC loves to save and not spend. I love to travel and think it's a good use of money, KC would likely stay in KY forever if I didn't drag him out ;) but over the years we have meshed together and I don't spend as much as I used to, we save pretty well and have the same goals with how to use our money - and KC likes to travel a wee bit more than he did when we got together. That's a lie - he's always liked to travel, just not spend money on it, so he didn't. But anyway. We used to fight a lot because I would spend spend spend and we both hated that we fought about it, but it needdd to be done so we could get where we are. which is a good place, i think. money is really hard if you have different views on it - KC and I both grew up relatively poor/not well off, so to me, when I have money I want to spend it! if my account is not in negative and I've paid the bills, I'm good. KC is not like that at all. all the rainy day savings needed. which i totally get now, but i never did. now, he's like i need new shoes and i'm like no you don't, your old ones are fine, you are not spending $50. hahaha.
    Are all your accounts joined? - yes. this was something i was nervous about because of my spending habits, but it 100% helped me overcome them because of the accountability. i have a friend who doesn't have a joint account and while i think they can totally work for some couples (i know several) but this particular friend hides her spending from her husband but because they don't have joint accounts she doesn't consider it hiding, even though she's racked up a bunch of credit card debt and whatnot. i don't know, each to their own and all that jazz, i just think the accountability helped me the most, and of course when you start to pay bills, it's annoying to split them. it's easier if it all goes in one pot and you agree on where it all goes - bills, savings, etc.
    i am always nosy about other people's budgeting. i definitely think it's a what works for you is what works, end of story. like i said, joint works for us, it doesn't work for others. we still get to spend fun things, and if i do want to spend 'my own' money then i will use paypal money from ebates or ebay or whatever. we don't have a set amount of 'fun' money each month that i know some couples do, they can do whatever they want with, because i know i would spend it if i had it, if that makes sense. anyway. sorry for rambling, clearly i've missed you too ;)

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    1. I love all of this - you two forever seem like the perfect balance between you two. And I love that you drag his ass out places.

      I think joint to a certain extent is good for us, mostly 'cause I'm nosy & I want to make sure I know where our money is going. Even for things like bills or groceries or mortgage.

      Not that I think it would ever happen, since we've always been so open about money, but that spending hiding thing is some shady shit that I would obviously not be a fan of.

      And you're killing me telling KC no now when he says he needs new shoes. haha.

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  9. This is superinteresting and I love hearing about how other couples manage their money! So, do share away!!

    Our situation is somewhat complicated, but when it comes to money, at least we are on the same page. I have to admit though: we never really had "the money talk". We were both still in school when we met and neither of us had a real income. He supported us for a while, then I supported us for a while, currently we live on one income (but we're lucky to have quite a bit of savings stashed away already).
    We still maintain separate accounts, but we treat everything as one (if that makes sense). I take care of all the bills and the budgeting, but I am also - if we had to label both of us - the 'spender' (which means, I like to buy things every now an then, but I am still pretty frugal) and he's the 'saver' (which means, he basically spends nothing on himself if I don't make him.

    So far, it worked out pretty well.

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    1. If it ain't broke - don't fix it. Definitely an interesting thought about how different couples might manage money differently based on how much they had when they got together. Mr Sass and I were in very similar positions money wise, both have good jobs, both debt free, etc. It has allowed us to be on very even footing & I think discuss things very rationally since we didn't feel like one of us was making poor money choices that the other would have to live with.

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