Image via Who What Wear
When I was growing up one of my abiding memories is of my mum checking off receipts against a pile of bank statements. Aways a big list maker, every penny in her bank account was accounted for as it went out and double checked. I always thought it was funny but joking aside, my approach to money couldn’t have been more different to my Mum’s. A child of the credit years I sailed through uni living in overdrafts and student loans, which might as well have been monopoly money. When I finally graduated aged 24 and started work I was incredibly fortunate to have a well paid job and progress through the ranks that saw my salary rise. It wasn’t without hard work of course, but the old adage work hard, play hard could well have been written about junior doctors. Of course there were times that I made budgets, but it was always more of a retrospective activity and an eye opener as to how much I was spending.
However, there have been periods in my life where I have saved, and saved hard, when we bought our house and the most notable being prior to our wedding. At the time we decided we wanted to save a certain amount, worked out how much that was and divided it month by month between the two of us. We managed it but fell back into bad habits after the enforced saving pre-wedding and a few months of treating ourselves turned into years.
Back in July, I wrote the post Dutch no More, where I shared Pete and my financial plans to go fully ‘joint’ in the banking department to try and save money towards our next move. There were 65 comments from those of you reading sharing your own financial arrangements and a few of you asked for a future update on how it went for us. 6 months on I thought it was time to recap.
When we started out, I don’t mind admitting was worried. I was worried we wouldn’t have enough in one account to cover both of our outgoings and our new financially savvy life would be austere and devoid of fun. I got my joint account card and didn’t want to use it. I suddenly felt so much more responsible for my money and accountable for where it had gone. In reality Pete doesn’t tell me what I can or can’t spend and when I have come home with shopping bags thankfully he’s good humoured about it. Those shopping bags are definitely fewer and farther between however. Everything I spend I think twice about and fripperies I might have splashed some extra cash on often go unpurchased. I do think this is in part because of the mental investment I have made in what we’re trying to do, how much I want the next house we’re saving for. The biggest adjustment has been remebering that his account (which we now live off) is not ‘his’ money, but ‘ours’, no more than the money that earn and save is ‘mine’. I joke about shopping bags but Pete reminds me that where I may spend more on clothes, his car costs a lot more than mine to run and maintain, so it all balances out.
It has been surprisingly easy to get used to shake off that feeling of spending somebody else’s money and the most rewarding thing has been that talking about money, previously something we took care of individually, has become a part of our relationship. It’s another element to the best feeling that marriage brings. That feeling that you’re in it together and we’re working towards our future together. And I’m pleased to report our bank balance has never looked healthier so it’s working too. More than anything I’m glad we did this before we had a family. I now have the confidence to know we can manage without my salary and it will be one less adjustment to make if and when the time comes.
Now it’s your turn readers. Did my post 6 months ago inspire you to change anything about your finances or are you, like we are, saving for something inspiring?
PS. I have concentrated on saving here as that is most relevant to me at the moment but if you’re thinking of making a budget definitely head over and read this brilliant article by Sarah on Any Other Woman.