Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fuss Budget

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday....

While March actually went out like a lamb, April arrived cold, rainy and blustery.  I am typically 36 hours behind whatever weather GF and Dani are having, or, if the wind is blowing the other way, I am about 6 hours behind whatever weather Lane is having.  So not sure who got this first, but it was a shock to the system..


And speaking of shocks. 

Have I mentioned we are budgeting?

Have I mentioned that we have never typically budgeted?

Sigh...

We started this budget on January 1st.  We have an online tracking tool and we enter everything.  It can be tedious, but also empowering.  We have budgeted amounts and we try very hard to stick to them.

We talk about money.


When you are both working and have good incomes, you tend to not think about these things.  We have good pensions built up, we have invested (I won't talk about the losses of the last few years), but we have never tracked how we spend money until now.  For us, money was definitely an art.  We could spend with the best of them!  And on such nice things!

Why the change?  Well my husband's retirement and new part-time business has meant that he has reduced monthly income and sporadic business income.  My sabbatical has me considering a career change.  We have one child in university, the other potentially about to start.  We need to finish paying off our house and we needed to save, stat.

Look honey, our ship has come in. our investments in Blackberry worked!

The early conversations were NOT all this cheerful...

It turns out that I was secretive.  I did not want to share how much some of the things I have cost.  He suddenly wanted to take up a hobby that would cost $20,000 to learn. 

But, we have just finished month three and we are doing much better.  We sat down today, revised our expenditure numbers downward again, to squeeze a little more out of our wallets and we survived the conversation intact.  I only wanted to yell once, and I didn't.  Really, I felt like someone should buy me a pair of shoes and a new skirt as a reward.  Oh wait, that was the weekend's shenanigans...

For 28 years I have managed our money and did our taxes and that was that.  And we never talked about money except when we had a situation arise.   This was due in part to my need to control and his complete lack of interest in anything monetary.  Now we are taking a team approach and I must say, it feels really good.  We didn't fight about money often, which is good according to this article.  But we were not on the same page at all, and I think if we hade been earlier, we would have even more socked away!

My next step is to actually sit down individually with each of my children and show them our budget.  Right now, they each get an allowance.  They help out around the house.  They have work in the summer.  But they need to learn to have these conversations and make good choices early, since who knows how easy it will be to get good jobs or affordable homes when they are finally out on their own. 

My dad never talked to us about money.  He just squeezed every penny till it screamed.  I think there must be a middle ground.  While our kids have always had to put some away, I think we can all do better and they can learn to be a good financial partner.

So yup, I am a bit of a fuss-budget these days!  How about you all - is money an easy topic of conversation around your house?

Have a great day and stay safe out there!


38 comments:

  1. Conversations about budget at mine are very Civilized. The pooch doesn't talk back. :) Just kidding...

    It's important to start the conversations about budgeting and showing kids how much things cost early. For me, the best thing that happened was having to live on my own. A student with a full load, a part- time job and a hefty loan teaches you budgeting and responsibility really quickly.

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    1. No idea why the iPad decided to capitalize the word 'civilized.' :)

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    2. Hi Rose - you know it is so funny - I always did better with my money when I was alone and then we also did better with money when we had a whole lot less. Actually, I liked the capital C!

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  2. Ooooh the 'B' word. We try to have a budget, but it doesn't really work.
    We need to renovate this year, though, so we should have one.
    I really don't like thinking about money..... At all.
    You sound very sensible and sorted and grown up in your approach. We definitely need to start being a bit more adult, I think, seeing as we're not young.

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    1. Ruth you sound like us - we have been together 28 years and are just now following one faithfully!

      As for sensible and grown up - no way - we just really needed to sock it away and live more simply. And I think money is a real hot-button issue with couples as it is about what we spend!

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  3. Well good morning! I was taught very early on about budgets, investing, etc by my father and fortunately it has paid off. I also am a numbers girl and actually enjoy all that. Money can be a very sticky subject so it is good that you are now somewhat on the same page. And truthfully the best way to start is to track everything for a month...that includes your cash not just your actual bills.

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    1. BB you are right! We track every bit of money we spend, not just bills. We can tell you what we spend on everything! You are really fortunate that you are a numbers girl - we could have used you on our team 20 years ago!

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  4. Well I am a fuss-budget too, I organize the bills and the savings and I buy the stuff for the house, I even organize all vacations start to finish. MrBP hates talking about details or administrative stuff of any kind and that includes money and budgeting. I do sit down with him and my books every couple of months and make him look at things. I think he feels very relieved to know I look after all of it and that we are on the same page with our goals, paying our mortgage off, saving saving, and a plan for later on.
    However if I pop off he'll be like a 1950's housewife and won't know what to do!
    Good for you and Barry to track everything. I put everything on the same card so I can track it easily and I don't carry cash so I'm not tempted to buy the small things that really add up.
    Oh and our weather was hideous yesterday all day, blustery cold whipping snow. It's calmed down slightly this morning, stay warm my dear!

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    1. I think Barry and Mr. BP sounds very similar. I can almost hear him saying "lalalala" while I talk to him about money! But he is learning and I make him help pay the bills and we look at money together so we are both spending less. The difference between he and I is that I am a serial spending on a lot of $60 things, he is a BIG spender - when he spends, he spends a LOT!

      Maybe we should put you in charge of our money as well!

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  5. Hi Wendy!
    I am not really a numbers girl,so usually i just let my husband handle itand create a budget(i know i am embaressed).
    He lets me do my own thing as long as i (kind of) stick to the plan.

    Btw. did you see my feed update:)
    Thanks for your encouragement!!
    Thanks also to GetFresh:it was not my cache,but i had to remove a URL from my feeder thingie.

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    1. Hi Ina! Don't be embarassed - my husband had no clue until about 3 months ago!

      Remember how you did this in case you need to help one of the rest of us fix ourselves in the future! It is so complicated, isn't it! SO glad when I saw you on the roll this a.m.!

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  6. I'm like Barry and Mr. BP. I actually put my fingers in my ears if anything monetary comes up from my husband. So I'm a real juvenile, 1950's housewife sort. But I'm a good cook!

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    1. Kathy I bet David is good at this sort of thing. I've often wished I didn't have to do it, I find it a bit painful. A big part of it is just tracking everything endlessly and it can be boring.
      And Wendy, MrBP is the same as Barry, when he spends look out it's big!

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    2. You three could be hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil!

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    3. Yes, David is good at this - and also makes all our travel arrangements etc. But when he spends, he spends big as well. Fine, if he thinks we can afford it I don't care. I get very anxious in banks, post offices, any government offices. If I wasn't married, I'd probably live off the grid, out of neuroses, not out of choice.

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  7. Hi WMM, my husband is intensely interested in things monetary, so he handles all that. For many years we had a mortgage and didn't have a lot of discretionary income, so we were very careful in spending. Over the years we have bought and sold several houses, so we don't have a mortgage at present (but will probably have to get one for the next place); our cars are all paid off too. (Husband starts saving for the next car just after he's bought the current one!) I think it helps that I grew up with very little and so I'm used to thinking long and hard about big purchases, or simply doing without. However, I have to admit I can be a bit of an impulsive spender when it comes to small things, so I think tracking would be a good idea for us.

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    1. Oh good for you and he! We are pressured now due to changes and people at university, and then that will pass. Oh wait, then it will be grandchildren and weddings!

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    2. Oh, yes the university thing! I would say we had a window of a couple of years where we were very comfortable - so that we could buy the cars outright, travel, etc. - but now we are back to being a bit more careful, even though we have been putting money aside for uni.
      But, as you say, then come the weddings etc.!

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  8. We are pretty good about sticking to our plan, but not great. I have my own funds to play with that DH doesn't really pay attention to. I think because we got married when I was 30, and because I'm very independent, I need my own stash. Plus my upbringing was fraught with money fights and issues.
    We are like you and Barry though - never really discussing money except for big stuff - trips, remodels, furniture. Thankfully we are in ok shape - but more could always be saved. We are working on that-but then something always seems to come up.

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    1. Life is funny isn't it - there is always something! I have never had my own stash - probably because we were 22 when we married and there was nothing to stash!

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  9. I too need to be better at a budget. I have spent a fortune on clotbes the last two years. Bad thing about losing some weight is that nothing fits. I also have been consumed by blogitis defined as a need to have whatever your favorite bloggers are sporting this week. I hope to slow sown now that my wardrobe is more workable. I had hoped to have mortgage paid off by the time son enters college this fall but am not quite going to get there with a year and a half left to go. I hope to allow son and daughter 5 years behind to graduate with no student loans the way I was able to thanks to my parents. I see kids coming out of college with massive loans now and in this economy it would be so scary.

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    1. Shopping celle, I hear you on the student loans! In 1985' Barry owed $6800 - not sure what that would be equivalent of today, but it took us forever to pay off! We are 3 or 4 years from being done with mortgage, but that's okay - we will get there! The blog it's is dangerous!

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  10. Good on you for doing this. We don't fight about money either which is supposed to be the N. one break up of marriages. (our fights are about cleaning up, so we upped the cleaners' days) Sounds like you're really getting down to the nitty gritty of what you're spending. I have a friend who labelled everything he spent (food, clothing etc.) but never really did anything with the list. His wife just wrote it off as a (free) hobby.

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    1. Ha! That is quite a hobby!

      I look forward to the wealthy days ahead when my major domo, Carson, tracks it all and tells me what to spend!

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  11. I've always thought it was an interesting topic, whether a couple is on the same page about money matters. We are not in sync, but not that far apart either. I think the key to getting a budget under control is slowing down. I tracked finances very well before my life got hectic, but now that it's really busy I'm not doing it as well.

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    1. Cate - I found the exact same thing! You need time to manage it all well!

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  12. We don't track, we eyeball it. My husband in swipe happy (he works so hard, he deserves it!) and has no idea what is on his credit card at any given time. I am more budget conscious despite my love for shopping and clothes, so it all balances out at the end of the month. I hear kids are expensive though :-)

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    1. Yeah, kids cost a little... ;-)

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  13. I could not live happily without a budget and my husband is the same way. Money can be such a thorny issue if people are not on the same page, however innocent the intentions.

    Even if one has no interest in monetary matters and they are managed by the other party, they should learn it anyway. If something ever happened to the money manager the other could find themselves in a real pickle. I believe your experience of finding it a challenge and the conversations uncomfortable at the beginning is quite common but it's very rewarding to work together toward financial goals and security. Good for you for starting it now.

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    1. I Knew you would have one and lucky you for being so smart so young - must be that MBA - I knew I should have stayed in accounting! :-(

      You are right about understanding the money - I make my husband listen to our investments now and work through with me!

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  14. We've always enjoyed planning and had the same goals; so now we can make choices more freely. I do all the checkbooks, bills, prepare for the accountant and MLane is more interested in investments. So no debt and less work at this point in our lives.

    WMM, that IS an expensive hobby, yikes.

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    1. I KNOW! Taking up flying at 50! The good thing, is he is spreading the $20,000 over 3 or 4 years - we certainly could not do it all at once!

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  15. Budgets...blech. All of our expenses get entered into Quicken so that at the end of the year we can see what we spent in different categories. Our food bill was embarrassingly high, so we're making a concerted effort to cook more and eat out less.

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    1. We had a moment about food in March - not from eating out, but too many stops at grocery stores, too little meal planning. We are back on target!

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    2. The food spending slays me too!

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  16. Hi Wendy, I'm catching up after some days away. I hope that you had a nice Easter.

    This is an interesting topic. We didn't really start out on the same page about money in the day to day sense, but we've always shared a "big picture" vision of our lives, and money is by necessity central to that, so we've been able to converge on the nitty gritty too. We're both really actively involved in our finances, which I'm thankful for, as I wouldn't like being either solely responsible or out of the loop. Two heads are often better than one!

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    1. Hey Abby - hope you had an equally good Easter as well! I think two heads are definitely better than one!!!!

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  17. So many of you bloggers have no idea what it is like to really have to live on a budget. Many fashion bloggers seem to be stay at home mums married to men who bring in the big bucks allowing them to shop for clothes just about every day. I have had to stop reading many because I do get feeligs of envy and revulsion both. Before blogging I had no idea what so many women shopped and spent the way many of you do.
    I was a stay at home mother to three incredible kids les you think I think stay at home mothers don't work. Just seems so many bloggers live in a very rarefied world. And when I read some complain about how tired they are....wow.

    This isn't really directed at you as I enjoy much of your blog but the people posting here are amongst the blogs that make me roll my eyes. Sure you guys may be on a budget but the budget of the upper middle class!

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