I felt lost in 2012 when it came to setting financial goals. In 2010 and 2011 my husband and I met monthly to discuss our finances. Then in 2012 we just stopped, for no real reason other than laziness. One of our 2013 goals is to reestablish our monthly financial meetings where we discuss our finances and monetary goals. Our January 2013 meeting is scheduled to happen soon.
My husband and I come from working class families. When I was in Kindergarten our Christmas presents were all from an organization (I think it was the Salvation Army) that adopted us and filled our Christmas wish list. My family claimed bankruptcy three times in my life between my birth and the time I was a sophomore in college. My husband’s family claimed bankruptcy once when he was in elementary school. We both come from family histories of free lunches and parents working hard for barely more than minimum wage. To say our families struggled is a very accurate description of our childhoods.
I like to save money and will forego fancy new cars, purses, shoes, and jeans. Having money in savings helps me sleep better at night. My husband is a computer science major and loves gadgets, but he also loves getting good deals on them. When we make an upgrade he pretty much always sells the old item on Craigslist.
In 2006 we read The Millionaire Next Door and it really changed how we thought about money. We realized that keeping up with the Joneses wasn’t really as awesome as it seemed and that living reasonably in the present and saving for our futures made much more financial sense than buying frivolous things. Since then we have paid off all of our debt. The Select Comfort bed that we got right after we were married, the van that we bought brand new, the credit card debt that lingered…..those things are all gone. We use cash to pay for most things. We are very good at squandering money away when we use our credit cards. We want to put money into savings and meeting monthly to discuss our finances are the best way to make sure that we are on the same financial page.
The Good News
- We pay our bills in full and on time each month.
- We own both of our cars. One is a 2006 and the other is a 2001.
- We are young and healthy.
- Our emergency fund is fully funded.
- We have money in savings.
The Bad News
- We spent more than we earned a few times in 2012. Eek!
- There is no retirement set up for me. My husband maxes out his work contributions at work, but there is nothing in my name.
- My husband will be commuting to work this year. His car has 110,000 miles on it. A replacement car could be in the works.
Our January Monthly Financial Meeting Goals
- Discuss our current account balances – everything from savings accounts to student loans.
- Review 2012 data in Mint.
- Ensure that all our automatic bill pays have transfered from our old bank account to the brand new bank account.
- Discuss Budget Areas: Cash budget, entertainment, eating out, clothing, pets. Set limits for these categories. Add any categories we may have forgotten about.
- Determine which credit card to use for non-cash purchases (see budget areas above)
- Set up a monthly direct deposit to go directly to savings
- Talk about a retirement option for me. Add to February’s Financial Meeting Call to Action.
- Talk about college funds for the girls. Add to February’s Financial Meeting Call to Action.
- Talk about updating our will (it was done so long ago that Little Sister was listed as baby since she was still in my belly at the time). Add to February’s Financial Meeting Call to Action.
Let’s Talk: Do you have a financial meeting with your significant other? How often do you talk about your finances?
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