Wednesday, December 12, 2012

constructing a married budget

I've started making some progress on this whole "budget" thing Bunny and I have been working on. Well really it's my show, I'm the dedicated money manager in the household. (Bunny's the dedicated dog walker - somehow I think I get the better deal.) So forward motion.

We finally have a picture of how we spend our money in a given month. Our expenses are fairly low, other than the truck and loan payments. We're spending more on wants than we probably should be but it's manageable and we both agree that right now as long as we are saving strong we need a bigger wants budget to help emotionally deal with living with my mom. Sometimes for us a dinner out is a necessity because it lets us spend some quality time away from everyone else in a way that we can't do at home.

Now we're on to the points of negotiation and compromise. We're trying to decide what expenses need their own budget and what expenses need to come out of just our allowances. Clothes, for example, are a tricky one. I've always bought clothes either out of my fun money or, very occasionally, my savings. But is it fair to either Bunny or I to spend our allowance on clothes for work? Or a winter jacket or boots when we don't have one? So clothes get a budget, though we're trying to figure out just what that should be and what clothes that includes. (A pair of reasonably priced winter boots, perhaps. But just the first pair.) There's the fact that I think some of our expenses are not very well thought out, and we both need to figure out ways to live on less.

Then it's decisions on how much to save, how much to put towards debt repayments, which debts to pay off first. We seem to have a pretty straightforward idea: get rid of the last vestiges of credit card debt (we each have a couple hundred dollars there, but nothing crippling), make the minimums on my student loans and save hard for a house. It's deciding how far to claw back our want budget when we don't have a lot of "needs" right now. And balancing the emotional aspect of that is hard, too.

We'll actually put together our numbers later on, but so far things are looking pretty promising. Essentially we're already living on one income even with our high wants, which means that we can put aside some hefty savings every month and that Bunny's freelance is all going to be gravy. I already had a suspicion that we were doing well, but the hard confirmation of that is nice.

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