We started off the weekend by going over several “money honey” items. We discussed our budget for Denmark and we’re on track for saving another $4k for the trip, although we hope not to spend that much! Despite our ability to save for the trip, Hubby was still aghast at our credit card bills. But after I showed him that almost all our regular bills are on the miles card now, and how they are paid off monthly, he stopped panicking a bit. I also paid a couple of health related bills, and per our family goal, we compared our health care plans. We decided will be opting to go on my plan come the new FY, since the deductible is less and we can get more preventive and naturopathic care.
Over the weekend I also did some much needed filing and I happened upon a notebook where we tracked our expenses when we first moved in together back in July 2000. It’s hard to believe now, but we literally used less than a half page to track our monthly budget!
We were both insistent on splitting our expenses 50/50. So we tracked our receipts with initials next to who paid and noted who had paid more, which was then rolled over the credit/deficit to the next month’s expenses.
In our first month, we went to the grocery store four times for a total of $154.85. Our phone bill was $46.43. Insurance $38.00. Car oil $4.95. We each paid $122 for everything! In subsequent months our expenses increased slightly: $13.79 newspaper, $36 electricity, $50 for new sheets, $151 car fixed. Our most expensive grocery trip was for $103.85 in December, and I’m certain that it was for hosting our very first julefrokost. The funniest was a note for $2.69 for pancake mix!
Our rent was $900, and we had a sweet converted garage right on Ladd’s Circle: one bay for our bed/bath, two bays for dining/living. It was very cozy, but we loved it. One bonus was that it was so small we didn’t need to buy much furniture, we had a card table and folding chairs. Most of our household supplies were bought at garage sales. I bought a futon once I managed to save up the $600 – we still have it on our back porch with a recovered outdoor cover.
We didn’t go dutch for meals though, and we alternated who would treat and they got to choose the location (or at least the price range 😉 This worked well for us. Notably, we also split cooking/cleaning duties 50/50, and whoever cooked got off from dishes and vice versa. This only really lasted for the first year though…now I do more cooking and he does more cleaning. Thankfully there still is a balance, even though our finances are finally fully merged.
Back when we were dating, we really were intentional about tracking our finances. Neither of us were making much, so it was truly important. But the bigger goal was that we wanted a relationship where we could communicate openly about our finances. It is nice to know that we are back to talking about our finances/goals regularly.
Our finances certainly aren’t as cheap these days. But this reflection does give me hope that we’ll continue to be successful setting financial goals and simply enjoying life together along the way.
What were your “family” finances like before kids?
Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.