This monthly money tip is brought to you by one of my new blog contributors, Lindsay! I am so excited to be able to bring you some money saving tips especially to kick off the New Year! My goal is to bring you fresh, new content through my contributors. Content that I have always hoped to add to my blog but because of time restrictions with three kids, another job and maintaining the style & motherhood aspect of this blog – I haven’t been able to add these sections to my blog. I am beyond thrilled to have her on board with us and I hope you are too!
It’s dead winter. You’re begging for some warm weather and for the snow to melt! You know how it goes. You are at Target. Your cart is (nearly) full. You KNOW that your partner would just DIE if he or she saw you walk in with those floral and pink pillows that just scream SPRING! The thing is, you definitely need to leave this in your trunk in the garage until you can sneak it into your linen closet. The next warm day, you break out those gorgeous pillows as you’re starting to decorate for the season. Your partner asks “hey, are those new pillows on the couch?” and you respond with “Oh, no, honey, those aren’t new.” You feel the guilt in your gut as you “fib” through your teeth. Yeah, I used to do this, too *insert eye roll emoji here*.
Cultivating this triangle between you, your marriage or partnership, and money is so important. I grew up never really truly knowing money. I was blind when it came to how to save and what to do with money. My parents really didn’t agree on how to spend or save their money. You hear that money breaks up so many marriages and relationships so I want to point out a few things you can do, that my husband and I have done that have definitely made me feel comfortable not hiding those pillows from him when I come in the house.
Here are some of the things we’ve done to keep from arguing about money that we recommend to others:
- Put your money together. This is something that my husband and I did as soon as we got married that I don’t hear about many others doing (or at least they don’t talk about it). This could be one of the most important things that we have done in order to be transparent with one another when it comes to finances. It seems that others tend to keep separate accounts in order to keep from arguing about what each person does with their money. We found it was important that we both know what’s going on with all our finances especially as we started talking about buying a home.
- Talk about your salaries/income. It’s important to not let the amount of money you each make divide you. Chances are one of you makes more money than the other. This was definitely a part of our journey as well. My husband’s industry and role paid more from the beginning. This was difficult for me but the more we talked about how it didn’t matter and it truly didn’t bother my husband, the more confident I became and less guilty I felt. The key here was that he didn’t feel ‘entitled’ and hold it over my head. He made it very clear that we are equals and who made more money did not matter.
- Create a monthly budget. This is important as it allows you see where all your money is going. This allows you to put every dollar in a certain spot. This means you have a place in your budget to purchase the pillows (without hiding them) or anything else you might want throughout the month. This doesn’t need to be a non-changing budget. We create a “new” budget every month and move our dollars around to make sure we cover everything we expect to spend or save that month.
- Talk about your shared short- and long-term plans and set concrete goals for each. If you don’t have a plan, how do you know where to start or if you have reached the finish line? Some of the short-term goals we had were to pay off all our loans ($55,000 worth of student and car loans) and save 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. Our immediate long-term goal was to save for a 20% down payment on a home.
Keep in mind that these may not work for everybody and there are other options, but if you feel like you need a change, some of these small changes may be worth a shot. Maybe in a couple months, you won’t feel like you have to tip toe those pillows into your linen closet!