Morning! Popping on here today to say a quick hello while on the road and talk about a subject I haven’t talked about before.
I’m just going to put this out there so my husband can’t claim ownership. He’s notorious for retelling stories that happened to me and claiming them as his own until he catches me staring at him with that oh-is-that-right? kind of look, as he quickly adds on “well, that’s what Gina told me anyway.” Did I miss anything babe?
In our household, I’m the money tracker, the budgeter and the cash police. Even when on a road trip in the States it's still something I look at.
How I ended up with this role isn’t really very surprising. I grew up in a money strapped household and, because of that, developed an interest in finances. I’ll even shamefully admit to watching Dr. Phil as a 15-year old and religiously jotting down all his pointers on how to save money.
Don’t worry, I haven’t watched it since and cringe at the thought.
Since then, when I first started budgeting for our family, I moved onto books, blogs and podcasts.
That first year of stepfamily life was spent in complete disbelief. You-spend-how-much-a-month?! As a person who only had to look out for herself and didn’t have a family to take care of, it was especially mind boggling.
If you’re reading this and you have a family, blended or not, you’ll know how much it can cost to raise a family. As a blended family, you also know that there can be additional costs that a traditional family might not have. Alimony, child support and lawyer’s fees are just a few examples.
Getting our household budget under control became a fun challenge for me that I couldn’t do without my husband's support (I’ll at least give him that credit).
It’s a learning curve and it’s still a work in progress, but we’ve learned a few things along the way.
Just don’t, okay? It’s so not worth it. Is money a tough subject to talk about? Yes, there’s no denying that, but we’ve come to learn that it is something you can talk about as rational, calm adults.
Learn when it’s probably not a good time to talk about money
This helps with the not arguing part. You know your partner better than anyone else and can most likely tell when it’s not the right time to bring up anything money related. So, just leave it until a better time. I know it’s hard. It has been for me, but again, it’s so worth it to bring things up when everyone is in a positive state of mind.
Be realistic, make a list of priorities and work towards those
The new siding on the house, that really doesn't need replacing yet, is probably not going to happen anytime soon. And that new $500 Kitchen Aid blender can most likely wait as well. Instant gratification is not the way to go. That’s how I’ve ended with a few clothing items I really don’t love and never wear. Most likely, you also have more pressing things to pay for, such as your monthly bills and debts.
Don’t give yourself or each other a hard time
Learn, make mistakes, grow from these and move on. There’s no need to give ourselves a really hard time over money spent on things that really weren’t needed. Don’t assign blame or point fingers either! That’s a sure fire way to start an argument.
At the end of the day, we just want to crush our debt and get rid of our mortgage payments sooner than later. In a next post I will share a few of ways of saving cash we’ve used in the past but for now, we’re enjoying our time in Oregon.