My husband and I met at work when I was in my early twenties and he was in his early thirties. We fell for each other, hard, and spent every single moment we could together travelling, eating out, shopping, seeing movies, just having the time of our lives.
We were both spending every single cent we made.
I wasn’t earning much yet and my husband had expensive hobbies. He was a mad keen surfer, snowboarder, cyclist and jet skier. Outside of his exercise equipment he didn’t own anything.
We were a perfect match.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by QT Mutual Bank. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Some might think we should have been a bit more sensible when it came to managing our money but I’m really happy to have those memories. However, once we became engaged we knew it was time to use our money more wisely. We moved in together and we no longer had to spend hundreds of dollars a week on activities just to spend time together. We were just as happy to snuggle at home.
We dreamed about the future we’d build together and just how we planned to get there. My new fiancé managed to get himself a demanding sales position and I was working less and earning less so was happy to manage our fiancés. Fifteen years later, I still manage them. Each week I sit down and monitor our money. We discuss where we are today and where we’d like to be.
Our children have hobbies and so do we, but we do it in a way that is sustainable and that doesn’t affect our financial future.
When it comes to money we’re all about balance – sure we need to be careful but we also need to live, have experiences and enjoy each day however the only reason we can enjoy ourselves is because we’ve worked so hard to get to where we are today and we’ll never stop paying attention to our finances.
I know too many couples who are struggling. They are my age, with kids, and are constantly juggling bills. It’s no way to live.
No matter how good or bad your finances might be, there are some decisions you can make today to improve your outlook:
1. Know how much you are spending
We all know how much our bills are but what about your spending. Do you know how much you spend on taking the kids out, on eating out, on groceries, on coffee? It’s these smaller expenditures that add up and negatively affect the bottom line.
Sit down and decide how much you want to spend each week. Set an amount for groceries and then decide on an ‘allowance’, an amount of money each of you can spend each week on whatever you like. This is the money you use on the kids, on lunches and coffees. You both get the same amount so there’s no unplanned spending and no resentment. It works really well.
That way, any bigger purchases can be discussed. It’s strict but it really makes a huge difference.
2. Pay your bills on time
Every time you pay a bill late, you get a late fee added on. These are a killer. They all add up. Sit down, figure out when each of your bills is due and schedule the payment to happen automatically.
Then, once a week check that all the bills have been paid with the correct amount. I always round up the amount I think I owe on things like phone bills that change each month. Then the worst that can happen is that you are slightly in credit each month.
It’s also a good idea to pay a weekly or fortnightly amount towards larger bills like electricity. Then, each quarter when the bill arrives you simply pay the difference.
3. Insurance baby!
Insurance is important, but only insurance that you need. These days you can pretty much insure anything – pets, funerals…