Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Newlywed Diaries - Who Does What

There's a lot to figure out when you begin merging lives with someone.  Much like a roommate situation you have to figure out the distribution of household chores. Hubby and I lived together for 10 months before getting married so we had some of that stuff worked out. In fact, we started discussing these types of things when we were dating, and thank God we did because we quickly realized we had very different expectations.  I'm a bit of a feminist so the idea that I am automatically assigned any task just because of my gender makes me nauseous. No, I will not do all of the cooking just because I'm a woman and I'd feel absolutely insulted if that were the expectation. So we identified our likes and dislikes and moved on from there. 

We are both not fond of doing dishes or cooking so we alternate those responsibilities with a set schedule. He really enjoys doing yard work and treats the yard like his sanctuary. He takes great pride in having it immaculately manicured.  I love a clean house and usually enjoy keeping it that way.  It's a stress reliever for me. If I am ever upset or just need to decompress you can find me with a cleaning rag in hand going to town on unsuspecting dust bunnies.  So for the most part we each take on those responsibilities we enjoy. Of course we lend a hand to each other when something needs to get done. 

If one couldn't tell by now, I love personal finance. I enjoy creating budgets and spreadsheets to track those budgets. I like developing plans to tackle financial goals and get very engrossed in accomplishing those goals. This is why I am in charge of the household finances. Yay baby! 

I set the budgets, ensure the bills are paid and keep us on target for savings goals. Hubby definitely has input and we meet monthly to check in on where we stand. He knows all of our accounts, how to access them and check our balances. But the day to day management is done by me. 

As our schedules and responsibilities change, we'll adjust because these assignments aren't set in stone. They are fluid as life is fluid and we'll continue to make changes as needed. As long as we continue to communicate, compromise and always be willing to lend a hand, we'll be a-OK. 

What's your strategy for handling life's tasks?

¡Pura Vida!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Simplifying The Budget

I've been tinkering with our budget spreadsheet for a few days now and decided to go with a simpler format.  Instead of tracking by paycheck, I'll track by total monthly income.  I think this will make it easier to track our true spending each month.  

On one hand, tracking by paycheck seems like I would have a better handle on our money and budget.  But I think I'm disciplined enough to handle a monthly budget. The key is to immediately move all money to their assignments when we get paid. For instance, right now we're focused on student loans and I know how much of each check will be going toward that. Each time we get paid, I'll make the designated payment and then we just have to live off of what's left. This way we don't risk using that money for something else and then be short on the student loan payment. 

Once the loans are paid and we shift to focusing on saving, I'll do the same thing. Move our savings target immediately to the appropriate account and we just have to live off what's left. 

At the end of each month, I will calculate our expenses to see how we fare in each category. Hubby and I will then have a meeting to discuss our successes and where we need to tighten up. 

Here's what we look like now:

Part 1 is where we enter all income and all expenses for the month.

Part 2 tallies our savings for the entire year.

Part 3 is where we document our goals.

I still have separate tabs that puts each month's spending into a pie chart for visual kicks.  Much like this except I added a few more categories.

Have you made any tweaks to your budgeting tools this year?

¡Pura Vida!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Running Kicks Butt!

...But it's fun at the same time. We ran 9 miles today all through the city. Hubby, my AP and me. I love that we live so close to city center and we are able to include it in our runs regularly. As we run, hubby takes us past new construction and development and gives a brief summary of what's going on. He keeps up with that kind of stuff. We also stopped by a market for a few minutes to see what they had in stock. Every run is an exploration and running through the city just feeds me with energy. 

We haven't done that kind of distance in a long time. My AP needed to get in a run today and called to see if I'd be interested in joining her.  I'm glad we did because it was much needed and it's such a beautiful day which made the run even more enjoyable. Now I'm curled up on the couch watching Netflix (Blue Bloods!). Right now I'm feeling too relaxed to do much else. I'll probably take a nap and then clean out our master closet. The purging continues. 

My goal this week is two workouts and two runs. With such a great start to the week, I think I've got a good shot. 

¡Pura Vida!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What's For Lunch

Remember those college days chilling in your dorm room, you're hungry but you missed the cafe hours and can't afford much?  Chances are if you were ever in this predicament, you reached for a packet of noodles a time or two and got to "cooking".

Well I've been in a nostalgic mood lately and have be thinking about ramen for weeks now. When I went to do our weekly grocery shopping this past weekend, I grabbed a few packs of ramen noodles so I could re-live a little bit of that co-Ed experience.

For lunch I made my own little ramen "soup" and it was actually delicious because I doctored it up with some fresh veggies and slices of chicken breast. It was much better than what I remembered and for 39 cents, I lived in warm memories as I indulged. 

Now how's that for throw back Thursday?  :)

¡Pura Vida!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How Much Is Too Much For A Slush Fund?

When Hubby and I were planning on how we would handle our finances as a married couple, we discussed joining all of our income or just some of our income.  We decided on joining most of our income  less a few dollars monthly that we'd term the slush fund.  We'd each get a little cash each month that doesn't have to be accounted for and doesn't need any explaining to each other.  We'd keep this money in our personal accounts to make it a completely separate deal.  Now, I like this idea because he tends to buy lunch way too much for my liking, so he could use his slush fund for that and I'd have no say.  He probably could do without all the dinners I have with my girlfriends so that also comes from my slush fund.

Now the big question is HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH FOR A SLUSH FUND?!!  This is where it gets tricky.  When I was a single gal, my miscellaneous fund was 100 per check or 200 per month.  But quite honestly, I'd often go over budget in that category.  So Hubby and I decided on $150 per check meaning $300/person per month meaning $600 total per month!!!  That's a heck of a lot of slushing, no?  I just think it's a lot and now writing it makes even more so. Gah!

We agreed to try it out for a few months and re-visit the amount after the first quarter.  So far so good I think, besides $600 being a little high.  On the other hand, we don't have to use it all each month.  Whatever you don't use each month is yours to keep so with my leftovers, I'll put it in my personal savings account or maybe use one day on a big ticket slush!

Now that I think about it more, I think it's fine because we can either use it or save it, and the decision is the individual's to make.  It only sounds like a ton because it's both of our slush funds combined.  Right? :)

What's in your slush fund?

¡Pura Vida!


Monday, January 19, 2015

My Minimalist Journey

A few months ago, I became intrigued with minimalism.  I craved to streamline my life, rid myself of clutter and any excess stuff just collecting dust or that proved to no longer be of use to me/us.  I started with the closet and rid myself of clothes and shoes that were not being worn.  Hubby did the same.

I then moved through each room of the house ridding us of the excess.  I've now been through each room at least once.  Our living spaces are done but I will need to go through the bedrooms (including closets), kitchen and laundry room one more time.   I also need to tackle the garage which still has a few storage bins filled with my stuff since the move. I know this will be an ongoing process even after that.  I plan on doing this purge pretty frequently until I feel I have arrived at my goal, and then continue to ensure I maintain it.  

I've always hated clutter so we didn't have much just laying around anyway, but I am on a mission to be even more streamlined and really cut down to the necessities.  I don't know if I'll ever be a true minimalist, but it is my goal to have a home where all things have a purpose and add value to our lives, and if it doesn't it has to go.  Clear spaces lead way to clear thoughts and I want to be free of clutter both in the physical and in mind.

I'll continue to document this journey as I move toward minimalism.

¡Pura Vida!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our New Financial Goals - Update #2

Checking in because we've knocked a goal off the list.  Check it out below.

Goal #1 - Hubby's Credit Card Debt - COMPLETE Nov 2014.  

Goal #2 - Hubby's Student Loan Payoff  
The balance is not bad at all considering the debt I climbed myself out of. It shouldn't take more than 6 months to pay this debt off if we buckle down and focus.  The plan? Once his CC debt is gone, we'll tackle this. We are shooting for April 2015 to be done with this.

Update 01Jan - In progress...

Update 01Dec - We'll start tackling this one in January.

Goal #3 - Wifey's Emergency Fund Replacement
I used a little of my emergency fund to help with some of our home remodeling projects and honeymoon. So the goal is to get my EF back to where it was. The plan?  Put as much as I can in my account monthly once bills are paid.  Once the fella's debt is paid, he'll take over the bills so that I can finish this up.  Goal date is Jun 2015.

Update 01Jan - Still on hold until SLs are mostly paid.

Update 01Dec - Still on hold. Won't rev this up until 2015 hits.

Goal #4 - Bank accounts - COMPLETE Dec 2014.
[Open a joint account and redirect our direct deposits to this account, less whatever we decide is our fun money.  We plan to keep our personal accounts and open a joint account so that we can continue have personal money that doesn't really need to be accounted for while contributing to our joint bills and goals.  We will open it soon because we have some wedding gift money that we'd like to put into a joint account.]
Update 01Jan - We've now had 2-3 direct deposits to this account so we are flowing along and now working on our joint goals.

Update 01Dec - The joint accounts have been opened. We just need to re-direct our direct deposits at work and plan on doing so this month.

See original post here