The Grown-Up Kind of M&M’s… Marriage & Money

The Grown-Up Kind of M&M's... Marriage & Money on Under the Oaks blog

Jason and I have had our share of ups and downs with our coupledom but money has always been on the forefront of our minds as we’ve been together. Here’s a bit of our background…

2007: We started dating. I was traveling 3 hours, round trip, 2 days a week to finish my last semester and Jason had a great job.
2008: I got a job in September, we bought a house in October
2009: I lost my job in January, got a new one in April, Jason lost his job in May
2010: I lost my job in April, got a filler jobs starting in August and Jason started doing contract work and traveled A LOT
2011: Jason got hired full time sometime in the beginning of the year, we got engaged in June, I got a job in October
2012: I lost my job in April, found my current job in June, got married in October… and here we are today.

To recap, that’s a total of 4 job losses, a new house, and marriage in five years. Whoa.

We are less than a year after the wedding and, as I mentioned in this post, we have made some serious progress with our debt but summer has been our worst enemy so far. It was easy to save and put money toward all the credit cards when the only thing you want to do is stay huddled up inside with Netflix and wine. Now there’s baseball games, dining al fresco, happy hours, new bikes, beach trips, any trips. We are slowly learning again how to work with our budget and still be happy. But it’s hard.

I have considered taking part in a Spending “Freeze”, similar to the one on And Then We Saved. I think where we are right now, parts of it apply and parts of it don’t. Before Summer, we got to a really great place of sacrificing and being satisfied but it’s time to reevaluate. One of the steps in this Spending “Freeze” is to put together a Needs vs Wants list. I think we are at that point now, which will also encourage open communication between us and limit the surprises. Here’s a small example of mine:

The Grown-Up Kind of M&M's... Marriage & Money on Under the Oaks blog

The basic idea is to only buy things off the “need” side of the list. There are several more specific things on each list and details for each so that will be something that Jason and I discuss when we sit down to go over each others’ list. I’m sure I’ve said this before but the biggest motivator for me is to do the budget. Currently, ours is through the end of the year. I can estimate which cards will be paid off and where our others will be. It’s kind of like what we’re doing with paleo… treating it as more of a constant reminder that we are working toward a larger goal.

Money can be a touchy subject for people but I’m fairly open about it, especially after being laid off. At that time, everyone knew what I was making and you really can’t make any less than zero. So do you have any marital communication tips regarding money to help out us newlyweds?!

– A

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