Well, hello again! Long time no write. It’s been a year since I last wrote to you when my 52 Week Savings Challenge came to an end. A lot happens in a years’ time and many lessons learned as well. So, let’s start by catching up a bit.
When I left you a year ago, I had completed my savings challenge, was in the middle of planning a wedding to my now husband of almost one year (I can’t seem to grasp how fast time has gone), sold my home in Texas, left everything and everyone in life I knew, and moved to the Aloha State, Hawaii, to be with my husband. Like I said, a lot has happened.
As you can imagine, one cannot go through several major life changes without learning a thing or two, whether you want to learn it or not. I’m here to tell you firsthand, you cannot hide from or outrun the lessons life tries to teach you; it’s just becomes more difficult if you try. I hope that piece of advice saves some readers out there some time and trouble.
Now, as this is only one blog entry, I won’t talk about ALL the lessons I’ve learned just yet, I’ll save those for later. However, I am going to talk about one that hit me hard, like walking into a wall you didn’t know was there. Sadly, I’ve literally done that several times. Anyway…this lesson is one that I am sure most married people out there can relate to. I am going to call this lesson, “My Marriage Misconception.”
As a very new bride coming off sacrificing my small indulgences I loved (oh, Mexican food) for a savings challenge, a wedding, and the many moving expenses I had to get from Texas to Hawaii, you can imagine how ecstatic I was when it dawned on me that I had gained another income! From then on, I was no longer just relying soley on my income to pay my bills, save for future expenses, or buy new handbags. I had another source contributing to my needs and wants. I mean “what’s yours is mine” right? Not until a couple months into marriage did I truly understand the real meaning of that phrase.
In the beginning, all I seemed to be focusing on was MY expenses, MY bills, MY little indulgences, all while using OUR income. Believe me when I tell you that I ran into the “lesson wall” harder and faster than any of the real life walls I had ever encountered. Not only did marriage bring in an extra income, but, it also brought with it extra bills, expenses, and indulgences as well, something that I seemed to have slightly overlooked while taking in the joys of being a newlywed. Joining our lives also meant joining our financial responsibilities. I now had to account for double the bills, food for two people instead of one, an extra car payment, and his indulgences (lots of video games and tech toys). What was his really did become mine as well, I was just getting more than I originally had thought about, which I will admit was a very naïve mistake on my part. I learned I needed to pay more attention to where I am going so I don’t smack into walls right in front of me and save myself a bruise.
As all married couples do, we learned how to adjust to having two incomes and how to combine our previously individual expenses to become OUR expenses. Using Texas Bank and Trust’s new online financial management service, myOFM, we developed a monthly household budget that includes BOTH incomes, monthly bills, savings, dining and entertainment, AND our handbags and video games. While he doesn’t use my handbags, I have played a game or two. They are half mine, right? I have learned that communication, especially with financials, is very important in a marriage to make sure that you both are on the same page and have the same financial goals. Together, we have learned where we should spend money and where to cut expenses, like when we should eat at home instead of dining out. Financials are a large part of marriage, so being in sync and following a budget has helped our household run more smoothly.
We are planning to start the 52 Week Savings Challenge again, but together this time. We plan on using the savings to experience all the amazing things Hawaii has to offer. Sky diving anyone? I hope all you out there will also give the challenge another try. Until my next entry, happy savings!
By: Tawny Browning