Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Budget - DH Takes Charge!

I have designed and maintained our family's budget for 7 years. I started managing both our finances even before DH and I got married. It made sense at the time because I was a tax accountant and loved numbers. DH was an artist and less organized than I was when it came to money.

Fast forward 7 years. I am no longer a tax accountant, but a mommy of 4 kids aged 5 and under. I do many, many things all day long related to the household and the children. I am overburdened with my responsibilities. Ed has been gracious enough to take over the decision making and allocating of our budget. I will still do the grunt work, but really, paying bills online takes about 20 minutes and doesn't require a lot of brain power. More exhausting (and stressful) is figuring out how to make the ends meet and prioritizing our needs. Thanks to DH I no longer feel responsible for these things. I used to figure things out myself and run it by DH for 'approval' wanting to give him authority over our financial decisions.

What a joke! I realize now that while he was the ultimate decision maker, I made many choices Ed would have disagreed with and was easily able to hide those choices from him because I was in control of our budget. I never thought I was being deceptive, but because he wasn't handling the day-to-day bits there was a lot Ed just didn't see. And I didn't enlighten him. Mostly this meant spending money that was outside the budget during the month telling myself I'd "figure it out" at the end. Figuring it out sometimes used money that would otherwise go to pay off debt or accumulate savings. In really bad months I would have to take money out of savings.

I still love numbers and DH is still less organized than me about money. However, DH has great discipline and is much better at practicing restraint in spending than I am. Our new model is to budget for all of the bills each month and I will get a 'household allowance' with what's left to pay for anything that's not a bill. This is divided into four and I'll get cash each week. The debit card is only in case of emergency.

I am already enjoying Ed's ownership of our budget. I love that it's not my job to decide how much will go toward paying of the student loan. I love that I don't have to figure out how to pay for those airline tickets last month. I love that I get a set amount of cash for the week. It is really freeing!

I am enjoying the challenge of making my little allowance stretch. This month it's $100 each week for groceries, gas, diapers, etc. I am so thankful for the Pantry Challenge 2011! and that I had set aside $30 of the grocery money last week. As it turned out we needed it! Ed and I had a date night and had planned to use his Prime card to get discounted tickets for an exhibit. Unfortunately the card was expired and we had to pay the full price of $19 each! Oh, it was painful to hand over $38 but praise God we had it in cash!

I have found I'm much more conservative in spending when it's "my" money. For example, I have been more mindful of using cloth diapers because I don't want to buy any more disposable diapers than necessary! I also skipped the $5 teriyaki lunch I would normally have bought for myself last week. I am also thinking twice about if I really want to stop for a latte!

I am eager to see if this new model continues to work. I am hoping Ed and I are both more satisfied with our budgeting and spending as a result of this big change. Mostly, I hope God will be glorified with Ed having real authority in the area of our finances.


1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how freeing it is, isn't it? I am proud of you. I still can get obsessive about my little household budget but at least the responsibility for the decisions is where it should be.


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