The money talk. (cue ominous music) Other than deciding who’s going to have the talk with the kids about sex. Talking about money and finances is another difficult conversation for most couples to have. How many of us honestly sat down and talked with our significant other about finances before we got hitched?
You know those really difficult questions like: How much debt do you have? How much money do you have saved? How do you handle your finances? What’s your credit score?
But you know that whole love thing kinda gets in the way of talking about these kinds of things. I will admit after 3 years of marriage we still hadn’t had the money talk. It wasn’t until we tried to buy our first home that it was even something we seriously discussed.
So if this is the first time you and your honey have looked at your finances together don’t feel bad. Chances are you’re not the only couple in the world that hasn’t.
When I decided I wanted to stay home with the kids my husband and I had to take another hard look at our finances. But before that, I had to make sure that this was something he was on board with. We had been a dual income family for our entire marriage.
I was asking him to bare all of the financial burdens on his shoulders and it wasn’t going to work if he wasn’t on board with my decision. Once I knew he was on board we began to formulate a plan on how to make living on one income a reality.
If we could make it work for our family. I’m sure you can make it work for yours.
Where Did It All Go?
In my previous post, I talked about following the money trail. Where is all of your money going? How is it being spent? Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check out some of the apps and were able to track at least 1-2 months worth of spending.
I will be honest. When my husband and I did this step I didn’t break everything down line by line. I just broke everything down by categories to see where we were spending most of our money. We had separate bank accounts at the time so I had to combine our information together to create one whole picture. (This was before I discovered Honeydue and Mint.)
We had the usual big-ticket items: mortgage, car payments, childcare, and food. We also spent a large amount of money on non-essential items. My husband has a subscription to Amazon prime and likes to find “deals”. Not to mention he has a couple of expensive hobbies like photography and detailing cars. Needless to say, we had to some areas that we could cut back on.
But I shared all that to say that at this point you don’t need to analyze where every penny went unless you really want too. Just knowing what your big-ticket categories are can be really helpful. But you know what can be even more helpful?
The B Word
Budgeting…I have a very intense love/hate relationship with budgeting. It’s something that I know I need to do, but I just really don’t want to do it. However, when there is only one person supporting the family financially not wanting to create and stick to a budget is not a wise choice.
If your family does not have a budget in place the first thing you will need to do is to create one. This is the part where you’ll take a more in-depth look at your families spending habits.
The truth of the matter is that about two-thirds of adults do not budget. So if you don’t currently have a budget in place you are not alone. Budgeting gets a bad rap because we don’t like for anyone to tell us how or when to spend our money. It’s seen as being restrictive and the killer of all things fun in life.
That’s simply not true. Budgeting can be very beneficial especially when you have limited funds. It helps you keep unnecessary spending in check, pay off debt, and it can even help save money. Here are 4 of the most common budgeting methods.
1.The Envelope Method
If you’re like me and don’t like to watch money slip through your fingers, then the envelope budgeting system may work perfectly for you. It’s fairly simple to set up. You create envelopes for each category: clothes, food, transportation, etc. Then based on last month’s expense you place a set amount of cash in each envelope. You only spend what’s in each envelope and you don’t borrow from the other envelopes. Once the money is gone that’s it. Or you could try the cashless envelope system.
2.The 50/30/20 Method
This method was developed by the bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren. For this method your break your come down passed on the following percentages: 50% of your income is dedicated to your needs (housing, food, utilities, etc), 30% goes to your wants (dining, cable services, new clothing, etc), and 20% goes to your savings or debt reduction efforts. The 50/30/20 method works well for people who are on a steady income or for people who work on salary. If you are interested in using this method check out this 50/30/20 budgeting worksheet.
3. The Zero-Based Budget
The zero-based budgeting system requires you to create a budget at the beginning of every month. Then you need to write down everything that you expect to spend for the month( essentials and nonessentials).
After you’ve written down everything you will subtract all of your expenses including debts and savings until you’ve reached zero. You can read Dave Ramsey’s guide on how to make a zero-based budget here.
4. The Goals Driven Budget
If you are reading this blog post, then I assume that your goal is for you and your family to comfortably live on one income. This is where goals based budgeting can come in handy. You create a goal and track your expenses based on your goal.
If your goal is to save $1,000, then you look at your income and expenses to see where you can eliminate or reduce spending every month to achieve your goal. The money that you would normally spend on going to Starbucks every day would be put in a separate savings account dedicated to that goal.
Obviously, these aren’t the only methods that can be used to budget your money. You could choose to use only one of these methods or a combination of two of them. Or you can find a completely different method. It really is all about figuring out which type of budgeting method works for you and your family.
To help you on your budgeting journey there are also plenty of free budget tracking worksheets online or you can create a budget using any of these apps.
The whole purpose of creating this budget is to get a handle on your current financial situation. Once you get a handle on your finances with a dual income you can start looking at how your finances will work on one income.
I am by no means a financial expert. If I have missed something or you have some more helpful tips please feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for my final and most important tip on transitioning to one income!
Until Next Time,
The Crafty Afro