Well our budget date didn't go as well as planned. Initially.
Since graduating from college and moving to this dusty state, I have been the sole person in control of my measly checking account to pay bills, pay rent, and spend as I wish. I am an event coordinator by day and while I have to run budgets for each of my events, I am by no means a financial guru. I love to shop and find good deals, and I have a very hard time paying for anything full price. I like to stretch my dollar and I get a thrill out of a great money-saving find.
Enter Chris. He has been in the banking industry since he graduated from college almost eight years ago and has been the sole person in control of his checking accounts, savings accounts, and mortgage accounts as well as the house he owns that we live in, and the house he rents out to a tenant. He breathes money during the day and comes home and breathes money as he sits down to do our bills or balance our receipts. He likes a good deal, too, but doesn't shop enough to really appreciate the bargains like I do.
Like when I find cute fabric at Cost Plus World Market that I have no idea what I'm going to do with but it was only $10 and I swear I'll do something with it like make pillows, maybe? He is satisfied with that justification.
In our house, Chris runs the money. He doesn't control the money, but he handles everything that goes in and out which can be quite a load to bear sometimes.
Since we got married, I just sat back and let him handle everything financial. And he handled everything financial really well. But when we did our taxes last week, I actually enjoyed the process and realized that I wanted to be more involved. I wanted to know what was coming in and out so I can make the best decisions for us whether it's going to the grocery store or researching a new couch. He would tell me if I asked, but I wanted it to be more of a consistent meeting of the minds.
So I proposed that last Thursday night we would sit down and run through all of our income and expenses to see where we stand. We went to a local coffee shop, ordered our big mugs of coffee, he opened his computer, I started asking questions to fill in the blanks on a financial worksheet and everything was going great.
Until he gave me an answer and I questioned why it was only a certain amount and not more.
And then he got mad that I was questioning him and I got mad that he was mad and then we left and came home. Dates aren't always peach keen just because you're married.
When we finally sat back down to figure where in the world the train got off track, I realized that by me questioning him, he felt that I didn't trust him in that department. And by him not letting me ask questions, I felt like he was trying to take control.
We unlocked this mystery and he learned that I ask questions because I am genuinely curious and I just want to know. And that he is good at what he does and thank goodness I don't have to be the one taking on the stress of money daily. The train got back on the track and we finished our fill-in-the-blank worksheet. Since then, money has been a more open topic and he even promised me we would meet on the first Sunday or so of every month.
That's all I wanted.
My friend Ginger and I were chatting online the other day and she asked how our budget date had gone. I remember being in the middle of our budget date thinking, "I already blogged that we were having this date and it has been awful! And people will be asking how it went!" Sure enough, Ginger asked. Fortunately, she is someone who I could tell the real, raw, candid story to. Her and her husband were just seven months behind us getting married so we are both experiencing all that newlywed life has to offer - both good and bad.
She shared that her and her new husband had a similar conversation recently and it was nice to know that my expectations of the budget date were normal and how it turned out wasn't too out of the ordinary either.
At one point in our conversation, Ginger said, "That's how this is going to go, isn't it? Being good in the midst of selfishness and break-downs until we are 60."
"Or 80," I said. "'Til death do us part."
"I was hoping for maturity at 60."
Hopefully by 60, we'll be arguing over where we want to vacation with our retirement funds. Until then, we'll keep up with our budget.
One month at a time.
written by: jordy at www.jordy-liz.com