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Getting married changes the way you think about money. When I was single I was only responsible for my own financial needs. I paid my bills and spent the rest however I pleased. Even as newlyweds I think Joe and I still had an individual mindset to our spending habits. It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom, not contributing financially, that I truly began to treat our money as “our” money.
Because I wasn’t generating any income I would feel guilty for spending any amount of money, even if it was for necessities. I also became obsessed with paying off our debt, without any concern for our daily needs. Going from a dual income house to a single income was a big challenge but we knew the scarifies would be worth it. (Babies are only little for so long.) Luckily, my mother is a professional bookkeeper and helped us sit down and figure out a plan so we could pay off debt and not feel like we were drowning.
Over these past few years we’ve been able to pay off a lot of debt even on a small income. We learned that paying for necessities, like rent, power, and food, come first. And it’s very important to build a little wiggle room into your budget for unexpected expenses and for just having fun. (You’ll go crazy if you have every single penny spoken for.)
We still have a ways to go on paying off our debt and reaching our financial goals but we have a plan and knowing where we are going gives us the motivation to keep up with it. I think consulting with a professional to help establish a healthy budget has relieved a lot of stress in our marriage. The most common area of disagreement in a marriages is money. I highly suggest taking the time to get on the same page financially, it is time well spent.