Where we were:
Just to compare how much I’m doing better and making better financial decisions in 2013, I’m posting an average monthly household finances from September 2012 to December 2012. I did shave off a little from shopping and credit card expenses since it includes the holiday season. I already did much better in January and I’m really proud of myself and my hubby.
Our monthly fixed payments was around $4,300.00. This includes rent, utility bills, car payments, insurance, 10% tithe (We will never stop this.), school loans, charity (Compassion International), mom’s rent and bills (It’s not much and my mom’s sick, so I will not stop this unless my hubby and I both lose jobs). This amount will stay relatively the same unless I pay more on our student loans to pay it down.
We spent around $500.00 on eating out and a separate amount of $350.00 for groceries. That’s definitely too much for a household of only two and I immediately remedied that in January, so just relax~^^.
We spent about $300.00 on gas. And here’s another big whoops, which is in the category of shopping. We spend around $800.00 monthly. A big chunk of it was for presents, but still, I know we did go crazy. The worst thing about it is that I don’t even know what we bought. There isn’t much to show for the money we spent. At least it’s something we can easily do without and we started to do without it.
Next category is misc. Well, because we overspent, we ended up using credit cards for whatever we needed or wanted. This amount also includes some groceries, shopping, eating out, and gas. But I got lazy and didn’t distribute them out to the earlier categories. The average amount was around $550.00.
After doing the math, the net amount came to be in the minus. We’ve been living above our means. This is why we couldn’t stop using credit cards or is it because we didn’t stop using credit cards? Oh well, the important thing is that now I know that we’ve been overspending in what categories and we want to change that, no, we are changing that.
How it came about:
I think the biggest thing that helped us in coming to this realization and the desire to fix our financial situation is to be on the same page with each other. I think we both kind of blamed the other person for spending more and we had different ideas about what financial stability is. Although I did the spending with my husband, I always knew it wasn’t a smart thing to do. But I didn’t want to change it, so I avoided it. For my husband, having debt is part of American life. It didn’t bother him at all. We both had steady income to pay for it, so there’s no need to worry or be frugal.
I came across some personal finance blogs and articles in January that gave me a wake up call. That’s when I started averaging our spending from the last few months of 2012. That’s when I got my debt balances and savings. We were no way near where we should be according to all the personal finance gurus out there. We were actually heading the wrong direction.
With all the numbers and information I gathered, I approached my husband and talked to him about where we were, what we need to think ahead for (house, my mom’s health, school loans, emergency savings, etc.), and how all these made me feel. He agreed that we need to change and agreed to the budget I proposed.
Ever since I realized that we weren’t in a good financial situation, it started giving me anxiety. I’m trying to take one step at a time and not let this take over me. It’s getting better especially since our January number looks great. It’s giving me some confidence and a boost to continue to keep up.
It’s one thing to change your ways of personal finance for yourself and a whole different story when you have a partner.
How do you guys deal with difference with your partner in personal finance?