I mean, it’s NOT. Clearly. Although my financial skills may suck, I can count letters.
First off: The Good. I am AMAZED at how well Bryan and I got the family through those rough months of 2010. And, Lord, they were plentiful, those rough months. From unemployment to no commission, we went without. A lot. And miraculously, no one died and no one broke and no one left. We rarely, rarely even fought about money, which was my biggest fear.
I’ve talked about it before, but I have this horrible reticence to talk about money. Like, it should all just magically fall into place and it should be budgeted perfectly so no discussion is needed and also? Part of that budget should include Sarah’s On-a-Whim Shopping, because I do that. I DO THAT. It is a horrible weakness I have, this need to comfort myself with shopping.
I’ve EARRRRRNED it, my financial Gollum tells me. WE’VE earned it. BUY ITTTTTT.
But, in my defense (sort of, if there is a defense), my shopping is usually stuff we all use. Food. Clothes. Superfluous things for the house. Necessary? No. Not always. But functional? Very often, yes.
So it’s this fine line I walk: Almost Hoarder vs. Loving Mother.
Anyway, so truth be told, whenever Bryan calls me midday or sends me a text message, I am stifled by the hypothetical The card was declined message waiting for me. Seriously, it is always looming in the back of my mind.
And what’s really weird is that we didn’t have that happen all that often when we were in the rough patch. (Of course, bills went unpaid for us to eat and whatnot.) And while it happened a bit after Christmas (like much of America), we’ve gotten it under control and are surviving. ::feverishly knocking on all wood around her::
We’re finally catching up on the backed-up bills of 2010, and that is REALLY, REALLY awesome. Say what you want about bill collectors or even customer service for those agencies: they’ve been a pleasure for us to work with. Agreeable payment plans and lots of reassurance that we’re okay. Chances are that by the end of this month, we’ll be current in all bills (and even ahead in some!).
::big, happy, relieved sigh::
As did 56% of Americans (according to this made-up study I think I read), I got on the financial train and made a budget for the year. I did it through the almighty Mint.com – and I recommend them to ANYONE needing an online software – and I was fastidious about checking it every morning and keeping on top of it. For about a month. Then, you know, whatever, we were fine. Bryan and I would sit down every Sunday evening to look at the week ahead financially and then plan accordingly. For about three Sundays. Then, you know, whatever, it would be okay without it.
GAH, WHY DO I DO THAT? Why do I start something with such fervor and then let it fall away? Because I’m American, damnit. That’s what we DO.
Anyway, this month, we’re starting a small savings account to pay for our anniversary travel to New Orleans. I read about a new savings option called SmartyPig.com, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s a “set-it and forget-it” type of savings, which is what I need. Especially when it’s not connected to any other accounts. Especially when I can’t just pull it over to accomodate for a sudden shopping urge. At the schedule I chose, we should be fully saved up by the end of September. Which is an awesome thought, since we shouldn’t feel deprived in saving this way.
You can set Goals on SmartyPig for just about anything – big ticket items like electronics or small-ticket items like new shoes. You can set Goals for a down payment on a house or to get out of debt. It’s all pretty awesome – I recommend checking them out. (I haven’t been compensated for any links in this post, bee tee dubs.)
Which brings me to my question: how do you handle finances in your house? Is one person in charge of all the finances, or do you spread the responsibility (and therefore, THE BLAME) equally? Do you have sit-downs to talk about it, and if so, how often? Any hints or words of encouragement? Also, you wanna go to New Orleans with us?