Thursday, February 21, 2013

money can be fun, too

The money situation in our little baby family by turns frustrates me almost to tears and makes me feel very hopeful. Mostly the tears just happen while I'm PMSing and revolve around feeling stuck in our living situation, so it's not really fair to blame it all on the money. It's a process, though. Money doesn't grow on trees we earn it through giving away our time and we keep it by making (sometimes hard) choices about what is and isn't worth spending.

This week is a hopeful one. We're making a change to our lifestyle that I don't really want to talk about too much but should free up hundreds of dollars a month for savings. Which means we are that much closer to living the dream (of living on our own). After a nasty surprise about the state of one of our bank accounts earlier this month this is a huge thing.

I've also noticed changes in my own spending habits recently. We're still being lazy and operating on separate accounts - though we've mandated weekly updates to each other so there are no more shocks in the future - and almost everything that's not a necessity has to come out of "my" account because that's where the free, unallocated money lies.

It's become second nature to me to whip out my debit card when we're out to dinner together. Not because it's my job to pay, but our entertainment budget happens to sit in my account. I don't even think about it anymore, and when I make the effort to think about it I realize how truly I see the money there as both of ours. Even with expenses that could be called "mine" alone - like all the money that's being spent on aspect's of a dear friend's wedding, I'm making better choices. I technically could just whip it out of our savings, but instead shoe shopping comes out of my personal fun budget. Gifts will be a different matter, but we have a very clear set budget for what we spend on gifts now for any occasion.

Bunny's even gotten on board with giving himself a fun money allowance, although I think we need to talk about what exactly is all entailed in fun money. He's not giving himself enough freedom in some ways, and we're not always on the same page about what comes out of what. For me, if we say "screw it, I want McDonald's" while we're out shopping and it's not a proper date, that's fun money. For him, that's not. Which accounts for the very different allocations. I also view fun money as something that I choose to do my entertainment expenses from - so if I want to take a trip down to see a friend for no reason, the travel expenses come from there. He uses the general budget for that. So we've still got some talks to get on the same page and we'll both flex a bit, but hey progress is progress.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, this stuff it's hard. For us it's the accumulation of little things that suddenly add up to larger quantities. It is often the "let's just eat at Mcdonald's" kind of situation that you described above, but also unexpected gifts here and there, or coffee plus cake there, or let's go to the movies....
    For the "bigger" expenses (stuff like a new pan), or clothes, or shoes, or travel we sit and think and budget and decide.
    But those other little things, we just do them as they come and that's when you spend more money than you expected because it's all small-ish quantities (less than 15 USD each time for instance).

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    1. Those smallish quantities are the real budget killers to me. Which is why I've always given myself an allowance for personal expenses that can cover those expenses. It's sometimes hard negotiating what exactly we can spend from our regular budget and what we need to pay for out of allowance money. It's such a small thing but it's not easy to get on the same page about.

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