This is a blog that is about being a newlywed.
December 13, 2010 § 4 Comments
I think the hardest thing about being married is the money part. See, when you get married, you think, “Great! I’ll be twice as rich, now!” you know, ’cause there are going to be 2 paychecks at the household instead of one. No ever tells you that, in reality, you’re twice as poor because you have twice the bills, twice the expenses, twice the everything. My grandmother told me, “But now you have someone to lean on.”
Sorry, I’d rather take the 2 paychecks and only one set of bills.
And all that time I was preparing for marriage and every woman in my family and his felt it their duty to give me the sex talk, I really wish someone had thought it their duty to give me the money talk, because I think it would’ve been way more helpful.
My husband and I have been trying since May 22 to stick to some semblance of a budget, but after seven months in we just can’t seem to stick to anything revolving around money. But this isn’t for lack of trying. No, we’ve spent countless hours talking, planning, diagramming, etc. etc. on budgeting for our household, and we’ve come up with a couple of good ones, we just can’t seem to stick with them.
I think the major problem is the difference in thought. See, I am a tightwad, a cheapskate, a penny pincher–insert derogatory word about never spending money here. My husband isn’t. He doesn’t blow through money like it’s on fire or anything, and in general he’s fairly responsible. He just doesn’t have a NEVER SPEND MONEY EVER policy like I always have. And we’re both easily persuaded. I think three times this week we persuaded ourselves to have dinner out, instead of me cooking it. Neither of us seem to be able to stand our ground when it comes to no spending. And of course, Christmas didn’t make it any easier for this month.
I’m really kinda obsessed with magazines, and luckily for me, my mother-in-law shares this not so endearing quality. But it makes it easier for me and my husband since whenever I’m in a magazine mood, I go to her house and get a stack of 10 or 20 back issues of Martha Stewart, Real Simple, Redbook, Allure, or Woman’s Day that she has lying around from like the year 2000. (Have I told you that my MIL is awesome!) This means that I’m always a few seasons late in my information on pop culture, but at least I’m not spending thousands of dollars on magazines every week. And because of this, I recently read an article in All You’s magazine about their not-so-recent grocery challenge. This woman apparently feeds her family of 5 on $50 a week! On one income! And she has paid off around $16,000 in debt in almost a year. So naturally, I am now obsessed with her blog and have made it my mission to not only feed my family of 2 on $50 a week, but to pay off my husband’s car and the rest of his school loans by the end of the year, before my loans kick in pretty hard.
Our current (trying hard to stick on it) budget is:
$50/week for food
$50/week for gas
$50/week for miscellaneous things, like haircuts and date nights and gifts
I know Dave Ramsey does that whole thing where you have to equal the number to zero every week or month and I know people that carry like 50 envelopes everywhere marked “gifts,” and “food,” and “clothes,” etc. But that isn’t gonna fly with either of us, and unlike a ton of people nowadays, I believe in the banking system.
But after a month of trying hard to only spend $50 a week, and spending over $100 on Saturday for food, I’m thinking that this whole budget thing is just not going to work for us.
Here is a list of reasons why budgeting is hard for us:
1. Unlike my husband who gets paid once a week (every Thursday at midnight!), I only get paid once a month for one paper, and sporadically for my freelance papers. And unlike my husband who works fairly set hours every week, I once wrote 7 extra freelance articles one month, and 2 another month. So it’s hard to budget all our bills on just my husband’s checks, and we can’t budget mine until I know how much I get, and by then it’s usually too late.
2. Christmas. My husband, just like my father, is a big fan of buying Christmas gifts. So we’ve had to put a hold on any stringent budget keeping. But I’m happy to note that as of two Sundays ago, we were done with all present purchases.
3. I like to cook. It’s one of my favorite things. And I’ve tried $5 dinners and 3-ingredient recipes, and a lot of times, I just don’t like them. They have a tendency to be bland and inedible. Instead, I buy upwards of 10 ingredients for a recipe, but I try to model every other meal I eat that week around those same ingredients, so sometimes I only have to buy 2 things per recipe, and I’m still eating a glorious dinner. (This week, I had 22 things on my grocery list, and it cost us $107.)
4. I live in Mass. You know how expensive it is here??? A can of rotel is double what it is in Texas, and bread is quite literally four times as much. So the $50, however much it may work for the woman in Michigan, seems very much impossible for us over here in the stupid state of jacked up prices. The good thing: Gas is cheaper than Texas. At least, the prices in Texas at Thanksgiving 2 weeks ago were a couple cents higher than up here.
5. Laundry. If I have a chance to take it to my mother-in-law’s house, then it’s free. But her dryer is sort of messed up, and can take a couple hours to dry the clothes sometimes. If I have a chance to take it to a friend’s house, then it’s free. But then I can usually only do 1 maybe 2 loads before I feel too guilty. So I usually take it to a laundromat, which like other things in Texas, is double the price to wash and triple the price to dry–of course, that’s if I’m lucky. I once had to pay $4 to dry one load. And then you have to count how much gas it takes to drive to the laundromat, because the cheapest one is of course the farthest away.
I also want to make a pointed note: we are not poor. We’re just not good at budgeting. We have the luxury of going out to eat three times a week and are still able to pay rent (of course, how much money that is left over after rent is not discussable on this public forum). We had the luxury yesterday of being able to buy two gifts for Toys for Tots, and would’ve liked to buy more gifts, but as we don’t have a home church any longer and I’m wary of giving gifts for children that don’t through a church organization (’cause I’m shamefully cynical occasionally) we weren’t able to pick one of those families off the trees and buy gifts for them like we originally wanted to do.
And would I give up Mass to be in a state that has no sales tax (like New Hamsphire) or cheaper prices for a can of Rotel? Never. Because even though our car insurance company is made up of a group of idiots, and Mass won’t allow me to become a resident of the state, and it’s the one state that voted back in all the stupid liberals (note: they’re not stupid because they’re liberal, they’re stupid because, well, they are) I wouldn’t give up my state, or life with my husband, or the one walkable mile we live from my mother-in-law’s house and her free washer/dryer and endless supply of magazines, and a father-in-law who shares my zeal for The Closer. Nope, we’ll just try harder.
So continues month number 8 on getting this money thing straight. Am I asking for tips and suggestions? No, I’m not. Unless you are also a family of 2 that live in Mass, it’s doubtful I haven’t heard whatever tip you’ve come up with by reading blogs, books, and magazines.
But you can make checks directly payable to me. I’ll make sure you get the correct address.
And here’s a fabulous picture of me and my husband on our last trip to Texas.
Yes, my husband likes to pretend he is a cowboy.
Also, you can’t see it, be we are definitely wearing Bruins’ T-shirt.
Now, why would I ever want to give up a wonderful husband that not only has a strong imagination for someone his age, but will also not be embarrassed my being twinsies with his wife.
Even if we are close to bankruptcy sometimes.