Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crash course in budgeting

Ben and I have never really had to stick to a budget. We both make a comfortable income, so our philosophy to date has been "save what you can, don't spend more than you make." We're not rolling in excess dough, but I also don't hesitate to buy the fancy artisan cheese at the farmer's market.

Though we've been married for almost three and a half years, we only recently consolidated bank accounts. And truly, only out of necessity given our fast-approaching one-income status. Not that I consider my money and his money to be seperate entities. Each of our salaries contributes to a piece of the collective household pie. But after I pay my share of the bills, I don't really care to have Ben know what I spend my money on. And visa versa. I don't understand the outrageous amount he paid for new golf clubs. And he doesn't understand the love affair between my Visa and J.Crew. It's just been nicer to keep our finances seperate.

We are fortunate that Ben's job provides me the opportunity to stay home with the baby. But it's going to be a big change. We will have a budget, a real budget, that I will have to track by saving receipts and recording expenses. We will have to give up some luxuries, like gym memberships, going out to eat, and cable. But there are some things I refuse to sacrifice, including:
  • Internet - I cannot possibly live without a high-speed internet connection. And though we're giving up cable, I can still watch my favorite shows online. Win/win.
  • Retirement Savings - Compound interest, people. Compound interest. Though we're still in our 20s, saving now will make a huge difference in our retirement nest egg. Ben will be contributing the maximum matched by his employer (it's free money!). And I will be rolling my accounts into an IRA. I hope to contribute my freelance income and other sources when I can.
  • Good Food - A gift handed down from my mother, I am a damn good cook. So while we can't eat out much (or ever), I can still make simple, delicious meals at home. This is one thing I want to keep up with to retain some sense of my former (pre-child) life. I am inspired by the Naptime Chef who prepares family meals during her daughter's naptime. Genius.
I'm sure there will be other daily luxuries I fight for, and a few that I just have to let go. Like showers. And sleep. Many new mothers tell me there's no way in hell I'm hanging on to either.

1 comment:

  1. Your post reminds me so much of me!! You should read my "about" page if you get a chance just to see how similar we seem to be (although I didn't have a clue about cooking when I resigned from my job to be a SAHM, and you seem to have that covered). Also, check out - I've been doing it for a few years and I save TONS of money on my groceries!
    Have a great weekend!
    Kristy (The Wicked Noodle)


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