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Day 26: Starting Over with Finances

Well, when my husband reads this title, he will chuckle before he even opens the post. We have an almost perfect marriage and argue very seldom. However, the one thing we will occasionally argue about is the budget. I have come to hate the word. The first part of the word seems so friendly – like we are buds or something, and then the second half – get, well it is obviously an oxymoron. I’m sure my hubby hates the second part of the word more than I do.

In my mind, me and money are not buds and we tend to part ways too often. Now, Jay and money are very close buds! They seem to never have a falling out and they remain very close to this day. I think they’ve been friends forever, and I hate it when I have to come in between them, but it is necessary at times. I mean a girl just wants to have fun. And, I can’t go naked – especially with this body. There are things on my getting list that he and his buds just can’t find a place for on the spreadsheet.

When you think about things you do with your friends, what comes to mind? Well, first on my list is shopping.  I like shopping with his friends, but I think he gets a little jealous, and wants them to stay home with him. I have tried to explain that it’s about the experience and it means nothing to me to shop with his friends, but…. all my explanations were not making him feel any better, so I had to make a decision. Do I continue to see his/our friends in secret or is there some other way to make this work? I mean grocery shopping at Wal-Mart was just not working out. I was getting way more than groceries.

My favorite word...
My favorite word…

Twenty-two years ago, me and his/our friends finally came to an understanding and we’ve worked out a plan that seems to keep everybody happy. I listened to the audio-book, “The Total Money Makeover,” by Dave Ramsey and voila, our arguing almost came to a screeching halt. We began using the envelope system. As much as I hate the word, we came up with a budget with allowances for each category of spending and I became the manager of all household expenses. He remained the manager of big-ticket items with us having “finance” meetings on a bi-weekly basis.  The key to the success of this plan, was my education on the expenses of our household, my accountability for managing a part of the finances, and a plan for how to do it all.

Total Marriage Makeover...
Total Marriage Makeover

It took some work at first. We sat down and wrote out every single thing we spent money on and even had to add things after a couple of weeks, but we did it. Our envelopes are as follows:

  1. Groceries
  2. Entertainment
  3. Household
  4. Gifts
  5. Cosmetics/Haircuts
  6. Postage
  7. Lunch Allowance
  8. Clothing

Each payday we allot our budgeted amount to these individual envelopes and when the envelope is empty, there’s no more money until next payday. It forced me to live within my means and has been a character builder as well as an answer to my spending issues.

Mortgage, insurance payments, etc. were all decided to be “big-ticket” items and I was happy to have him continue making those payments. Because, like I said, me and money are not buds and I am happy with my “nest egg” to manage bi-weekly.

I know it scares my hubby to death, but I’ve recently stopped using the envelopes. I’ve not stopped using the budget, I’ve just decided to let our friends live unencumbered by folded paper. We shall see how it works. If my expenses seem to prompt more “finance meetings”, our friends may have to report back to their wrapper.

You know we always say that friendships are more valuable than money; but in this case, there will just have to be a little give and take…


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