Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Budgets and money and bills. Oh my!

As soon as Nick and I got married we struggled with some financial difficulties.

We got married about a month after we graduated from college and spent most of our money on unexpected honeymoon fees (ugh).  Why doesn't life warn you about these things?
When I graduated I had just finished student teaching and you can't work while student teachingToo much work, seriously.
I had a job during school, but it was on campus and we all know that you can't work on campus anymore as a student if you aren't a student.  Awful, I know.  The plan was for me to either get a job teaching or start substitute teaching once school started.  THAT is a whole different rant I could get into.  Finding a teaching job is so stressful when you're a new teacher.  BUT, we got married in July and school doesn't start 'til late August.  

Nick, luckily, had an awesome job at an artisan bakery in town and it was just barely making ends meet.   I'm so glad we didn't have to start paying off loans yet.

Now we have to be grownups.  Yuck.
Nick and I discussed finances well before we got married.  I'll give all the credit to his parents who just discovered Dave Ramsey when we were dating and encouraged us to read and follow his book!

If you don't know about Dave Ramsey and this book, you can learn more about him here (I'll save you an extremely long blog post).  I'll also save you time on explaining the whole book, but it was an eye-opener for us.  We were both just living life and spending money.  We were paying bills, but somehow found ourselves short on money when it came time to it.

Now our real budget starts.  BTW, I love Calvin and Hobbes.

We pay most of our things in cash now.  We keep all of our cash in envelopes (see how I made envelopes here).  I'll just let you in on how we disperse our money.

We have cash envelopes for:
  -  Groceries (broken up in weekly chunks)
  -  Gas
  -  Household items (separate from groceries, but shampoo, cleaners, towels, etc.)
  -  Car money (this is still in the works for us, but it's our oil change money and stuff)
  -  Individual blow money - we give ourselves some money each month that we can spend on ourselves.  This includes: clothes shopping, coffee runs, thrift store hunting, whatever.

I was worried about having money envelopes hanging around the house, but we have it hidden pretty well.  It's not in the underwear/sock drawer either :)

We used to pay our bills in person, too (so we had cash for those), but our utilities and property manager live in totally different areas, so it is much more frugal and gas-saving to pay things online.

I also have a budget workbook on excel that helps me keep track of when we pay things and how much they all cost.  It really helps when you have too many things to pay off online.

Click picture to enlarge

We actually have a separate savings account that we keep money in for paying everything.  Having it in its own account allows us to make sure we are putting enough into the account for the following month and then we know that all of our extra income can be put into savings.

One thing that Dave Ramsey recommends that I would HIGHLY recommend is to give yourself an emergency fund.  What it is, is an account that you never ever touch unless it is an emergency.

Our fund is equal to two months of bills/rent/food money just in case something were to happen and one, or both of us, didn't have a job and we needed to still pay for things.  We haven't touched it at all since we've been married and I have forgotten many times that we even have it, but it is seriously such a stress reliever to know that you have it.  Plus, if you put it in a savings account it can take on interest!

We STILL don't have this whole budget thing 100% figured out. 
We're still having to buy not buy those extra movies from Goodwill.
We're still trying to figure out how much to put into different savings.
We're still making financial mistakes.
But we are learning and doing things much better than we used to.


I hope that didn't totally bore you, but I know that it's always nice to see how other people organize their money/finances.  Actually, it's nice to know how people organize things in general.

If you are interested, really check out Dave Ramsey's book.  It is an amazing eye opener.

I recently came across another blog that can really help you as well if you're looking to save more and spend less.  You don't have to do exactly what she does, but she explains everything she is doing on her spending fast (and spending diet) and why.  Go check it out.  It's a worthwhile read.


  1. nice! doesn't it feel awesome to be organized?! p.s. I was planning to write a post about our finances this week. but after this - I might as well just link up to yours lol our households run very similar! ;)

  2. I just found your blog via Hellocotton and I love this post!

    I reeeally struggled with my finances when I first left home, and having cash stashed in Random envelopes really was the only way to do it. Nowadays, I have several online bank accounts to do the same thing with. One for bills etc.

  3. One of the (many) reasons my ex and I split up is because of our differing outlooks on money. I wanted to save for the future, to spend money wisely, to not live like we were still 21. He built up (a lot) of debt, lied to me about paying bills and took our high interest loans.

    It was awful. I tried taking over everything having to do with money. But then found out he'd taken out a loan to have extra cash for himself. Or he'd use his company credit card to pay for personal items. And he lied and lied and lied.

    People say that couples fight the most about money. But I never ever thought I'd be in a situation like that.

    The good thing is I learned from that and I basically told Izzy we need honesty from the start and that I couldn't be with someone that so easily threw away money.

    I think as long as you and your hubs agree about how you deal with money then you're onto something good.

  4. Great post! My husband and I are right in the middle of Financial Peace. It's definitely a life changer.

  5. I did a version of the envelope thing before we got married. My credit was pretty bad, and I had a ton of debt and I wanted to pay off all my cards before we got married. It was a sucky time, but I did it and now I feel so much better!

  6. FInding a teaching job took me two years. People don't understand how difficult it is! My husband and I got married a year out of college, but he was in the army and already getting paid by the time our wedding rolled around. The one year we dated was rough though. There were weeks when he'd have $40 in the bank account and my substitute teaching money went to pay my loans (I graduated 6 months before him). Also, he had a house, mortgage, and constant home improvement expenses.
    Good luck continuing on with your budget journey!

  7. I used to do the same thing with the envelopes! And since Chad and I bought our house, we set up a separate account just for the house bills that nothing else gets paid out of. that way each time we get paid we put a specific portion into that account so we aren't stressed for money when the power bill comes.


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