Managing your personal finances can be a hassle…at least it has been for me in the past. Developing and sticking to a weekly or monthly budget can be difficult, or if nothing else, annoying. But I have found it’s the best way to make sure you stay on track in pursuing your spending and savings goals.
Things can get even more complicated once you get married. While you may have the advantage of two incomes, you also have the added issues that go along with coordinating two people’s finances.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2007, 22 percent of husbands had wives who earned more than they did – and when I got married, I was glad to be part of that statistic. But even if that wasn’t the case, when my wife and I consolidated into a single, joint bank account, we knew it was important for us to lay out our expenses and set a realistic budget that we stuck to.
My wife and I are both more or less equal spenders, meaning neither of us is regularly guilty of splurging above and beyond an agreed-upon level. Unfortunately, uneven spending between spouses can lead to friction, and potentially contribute to a financial problem.
But if you want to make things even more complicated, have a child or two. Budgeting for two adults is one thing, but add a couple of kids into the mix, and it’s a whole new ballgame. When our first son came along, and then the second a couple years later, we saw our savings per paycheck dwindle significantly.
Common costs like baby food, diapers, clothes and all the usual accoutrements can add up quickly. While those costs are obvious (and immediate), another significant cost that young families need to budget for is the cost of college. Of course, there are all kinds of student loan programs available, but my wife and I want to save as much as possible so we (and our boys) need to borrow as little as possible, hopefully ensuring they’re not saddled with too much debt.
In 2007, a survey asking Americans about saving habits showed that 63 percent of respondents admitted they should be saving more, with only 32 percent confident that they were saving enough. Unfortunately, my wife and I probably fall into the group that’s not saving enough, but we are saving as much as possible. Reviewing and updating our household budget is one of the best things we can do to make sure we’re staying on track and working toward our financial goals.
Does you have a penchant for spending sprees? Are you and your spouse not saving enough for college because you’re spending too much on expensive gadgets and games?