Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back to square one

It's time to buckle down.

My husband checked our bank account online this morning and was surprised to see we didn't have a lot of extra money beyond his just received paycheck. This does not come as a surprise to me as I have been checking the account daily and tracking our spending for a little over a week now.

I have learned in the short time we have been married and financially merged, that nothing works if we are not on the same page. I can't get far with debt payoff and limited spending if my husband is in a splurging state of mind. Facing our checking account balance may have been an unfortunate way to start his day, but for me it is a relief. I am happy that we are both now aware of our situation. We can discuss how we got here together and make a plan to move forward.

We have been living a lifestyle that we can't afford. We can't say "it's only $15, it's not a big deal" every time we're not in the mood to cook dinner and opt to grab a sandwich somewhere instead. Those $5, $10, $15, and $20 purchases have all majorly added up over the last several months. My husband has felt like we haven't been spending much money (with the exception of eating out too often), but with a little thinking I can rattle off a pretty significant list of places our money has gone. Books, dvd's, going to the movies, eating out, a bridal shower gift, a graduation gift, greeting cards, haircuts, clothes, a day at the shooting range, joining a gym, accessories for our new cell phones, and lot's of unneccessary treats at the grocery store. My husband described it well - he's had a wall up between himself and reality. I do not have that same wall, but I am guilty of letting the behavior continue on too long.

We will sit down together this evening to discuss this further and come up with a plan. One of the major problems we are facing is that we have a large purchase to make before summer is over (plane tickets so the kids can visit) but have spent any money that could have been used for that purpose.

I have a few ideas in mind that should help us.

*We need to go back to grocery shopping only once a week, using some kind of meal plan to make the most of the food we buy, and sticking to a set budget limit for groceries.

*I need to continue tracking our spending and checking our bank balances regularly - and sharing this information with my husband. We should be discussing money and our goals weekly.

*Leaving money sitting in our checking account just doesn't work, if it's there it will get spent on something. If we have big things to save for, we need to either transfer money into a safer savings account, or set cash aside in an envelope.

*We desperately need to get back to a budget, but my husband might not be ready for that just yet.

*This is a little more difficult, but we need to find a way to break the cycle of stress/emotional eating and to stop using food as a reward or treat. This is bad for our wallets and our waistlines.

So here we are again, back at square one it seems. Not enough money in the bank, not able to lead the lifestyle we want. It's time to face up to all of our faults and do better.


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