In December, Brett and I decided to change up our budget strategy. Here’s a piece of marriage advice that even a total noob can tell you: FIGURE YOUR MONEY SITUATION OUT FOLKS. Seriously. Don’t even mess around with that.
For about a year, Brett had been doing most of the legwork with our budget. He’s a numbers guy, so the fit felt natural at first. He paid the bills, checked our online accounts, and created our monthly budget. In December, it was family meeting time. We sat down and he confessed that he didn’t really feel comfortable making all those choices without more of my input. He often felt like because he “allocated” our budget categories that he was also “giving permission” for us to spend money or not. And that- was just not gravy with him.
In addition to sitting down together each month to craft our budget and set our savings goals, we decided to get a white board to keep track of our more fluid budget balances, like groceries, entertainment, mad money (I’ll talk about this in a second), etc. So if we want to go to a movie and there’s $5 in our entertainment budget- it’s not a matter of Brett or I being the keeper of the keys and saying “yes” or “no.” It’s just not available to us because our budget won’t allow it.
Another thing that Brett and I do that works great for us is a budget category called “Mad Money.” It’s simple an equal amount of money that each of us get to spend on whatever we want. Mine usually goes towards drinks with my friends and Brett’s is typical spent on vinyl records. The point is that we have the same amount of money and we can spend it, guilt free, regardless of the other person. We trust each other implicitly, but it’s really nice to have a chunk of change to spend each month with a little less discretion.
Lastly, this month we started using mint.com and we LOVE it. Each of us can access it from everywhere and that makes it convenient, transparent, and fair.
You can also see our “I love you because…” board. This was one of my first Pinterest projects. We try not to go more than a few days without jotting something on it. Usually a pun of some kind.
I also keep several cookbooks handy. If you look closely, you’ll see I have about 6 slow cooker cookbooks! I do our meal planning here because I use magazines, cookbooks, and Pinterest to help me plan. We have a mug for pens and a small dish for paperclips, business cards, junk. Of course, most days there are stacks of mail and coffee mugs and sunglasses, but those were cleared for the purposes of this demonstration.
This is one of my favorite places in our apartment. It’s small, but it really gets the job done!
(PS: I’m trying out some fancy blog photo edit stuff. Thoughts? Sorry for the onslaught of colors.. I’ll pick a scheme soon, I just wanted to play around.)