In honor of February, the month of love, this month on the PearBudget blog we’re going to focus on budgeting tips for you and your spouse or significant other. Each Thursday, I’ll share a few things that have helped us along on our budgeting journey.
The first and most important financial thing we’ve done is create a budget. Of course, if you’re reading this, there’s a large chance that you’ve already made a budget. No matter how much money you make, if you have no idea where it is going, then you’ll never meet your financial goals. When we first got married, we spent a few months just tracking our spending. When we looked at the results, we were shocked at some of the amounts we had spent. (I think we were single-handedly keeping the restaurants in town in business!)
To help track where your money is going, it is really important to keep close tabs on it. One habit that we implemented early in our marriage was keeping every receipt from every purchase in one central location until we entered it into our budget and reconciled it with any credit card or bank statements. We just use a little white bin from the dollar store for this purpose, but I love the statue that Charlie and Sarah use. Whether you have a solution as unique as theirs or as cheap as ours doesn’t matter, as long as you keep those receipts in one central place. Otherwise, receipts will float around the house, and you’ll have no idea if they have made it into your budget.
Another tip to help you stay on budget is to avoid spending large amounts of money without taking time to think it through. There are all kinds of situations with large amounts of money involved where there is a false sense of urgency. But, really, the door-to-door salesman selling a Kirby vacuum isn’t the last person on earth selling an expensive vacuum. And that amazing sale at the local furniture store? Yeah, they’ll have another one. Even with smaller purchases, it’s a really great idea to wait a week or two or even a month or two to make sure you’re spending your money wisely on that item.
I hope these tips are helpful to you, and I’ve got many more to come this month. Next week, we’ll be discussing financial goals. Feel free to ask questions or share tips in the comments!
Other posts in the Budgeting with Love series: