I'm going along with the theme today of talking about money. Kristen over at The Newlyweds Next Door had an awesome post about saving this morning. So if you haven't read it make sure to check it out.
When Adam and I moved in together not much changed in the world of finances for me. I have always been a bit spoiled and I'll admit that. My parents were always able to provide for my sister and I. I never paid rent when I lived at home. I only paid my car payment because I got a ticket and my cell phone bill because I ran my bill up 2 months in a row. Adam went right along with the theme of spoiling me. He felt that he'd been paying the bills for 3 years on his own and my moving in wasn't going to increase these bills much. He started charging me $200/mo. This went to savings for emergencies for ME.
When we got engaged this all changed. Adam put me on a budget. I had never had to worry about money, ever. Now all of the sudden I'm on a strict budget where every dime I spend has been allotted to a certain category. I had to put a large amount into savings each month. We decided that for the most part we wanted to fund the wedding on our own. Since the majority of Adam's income goes toward bills that meant that the majority of my income had to go toward savings. How did Adam get my shopaholic like me to change her ways... Well truth be told it's been rough. Here is the basic break down of what he's done to curve my spending habits.
1) Packing lunches! Eating at home This reduces what we spend easily by $50 - $100 a week.
2) I have a shopping allowance! While Adam realized that I needed to spend less on clothes, he also realized that removing shopping completely was not realistic. If you enjoy shopping give yourself a little break. I'm allowed $200/mo. If I don't spend this then I move the remaining to savings for the next month.
3) Track it, track it, track it!! Every evening we log into our online banking and literally enter every dime spent that day into an excel spreadsheet. This makes us accountable for what we've spent.
4) CASH your checks. I cash my checks and deposit the CASH into certain accounts. I always deposit HALF of each check into my checking and the other half into our joint checking - savings(this is our wedding fund).
5) Move money to savings. Once I've deposited half of my pay check into MY checking - I move half of that into my savings.
6) Knowing which pay periods are going to cover what bills... I always know that the first pay check of each month will cover my cell phone bill and the second pay check will cover my car payment.
Have I done all of these things from day 1..? No, absolutely not. It has taken me time to adjust to doing all of the above and our wedding fund has suffered some months. I have had panic attacks. Literally. There were days when I would actually feel the walls closing in around me. Having every dime I earned spent for me scared me. Not being able to meet my girls for a random pedicure or a drink without thinking about it fitting into the budget scared me.
I can say now though, with out a doubt, that budgeting has changed my life for the better!