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What Has Changed for Us Lately?

April 7, 2011

Our family has had a major change in our financial circumstances recently, which has inspired some changes in the way we do things…

At the start of our marriage, I was (mostly) in charge of the budget and J was (mostly) in charge of the spending. I would receive each paycheck, deposit it in the bank, and then assign each dollar to a category (rent, groceries, gas, clothing, eating out, etc.). The money would either be spent over the course of two weeks until the next paycheck, or it would build up and move forward to the next two-week period. It worked fine until I did my math wrong and bounced six checks! Our bank charged us $180 in fees (I was able to talk them down to $60 in fees, but still…). Talk about panic! Our first year of marriage and I was already preparing to file for bankruptcy…

J took over at that point and kept our budget each month for next 16 years. She has been keeping it on paper, in a ledger. She keeps track of each paycheck and keeps track of all of our spending. She also has been setting extra money aside for larger purchases and yearly bills. She has done a wonderful job. The problem is that she has so much to do in our home, that “doing the budget” has become a major chore. Our finances have changed so much since our college days and have become a bit more complicated.

After 13 years in our first little home, we recently built a new home and moved. Our house payment almost doubled (luckily, our last house payment was nominal). I had been studying personal finance for over a year, and we decided it was time for me to take the lion’s share of the budgeting to give J a little time for other things. So, I moved all of our financial info to Mint and started working on the budget in earnest. The real reason for the change in how we track our finances was the change in our monthly mortgage payment.

Over our marriage, we’ve made major changes in the way we track and plan our finances when there have been major changes in our financial life. When we moved from students to people-with-real-income. When my employer changed the way they paid us (we had a major change in the rate at which we received our money abut 12 years ago). When we built our first house. When we built our current house. These are all moments when we had to revamp our financial tracking and planning system, and each time we changed, things improved.

When have been some times in your life when you had to “totally revamp” how you do your budget? What were the changes you made?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    April 7, 2011 7:36 am

    We’ve been using Mint (on and off) for almost 2 years. We love it! Our most recent change was when Jed was layed off last year. Then when he found another job the pay was significantly lower so we had to revamp then too. We also just started back into the envelopes again for mostly groceries, entertainment, eating out, etc. I get the cash out and then chart it in mint as if it’s spent. It’s much easier to say we can’t do something when there is literally no cash in the envelope… and even better when you open the envelope and your surprised with a few bucks for date night!

    • April 7, 2011 7:46 am

      K…I really like the envelope system. You’re right, when there’s no cash left in the envelope, it is time to find something else to do! 🙂

  2. April 7, 2011 12:12 pm

    I’m VERY excited to be reading and learning all of these things. I’m ready for a change in the way I manage our money (or don’t manage, for that matter) and I’m glad you’re helping me out. Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this website from here on out!!

    • April 7, 2011 3:01 pm

      Thanks Stefanie! I’m enjoying putting things together and studying things out. It is helping our family, too.

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  1. My (almost) Daily Routine with Our Budgeting… « Real Family, Real Money

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