Post # 1
How much do you make a year? Do you work FT or PT, and do you have benefits? Does your SO make substantially more than you or about the same?
I ask this because I work FT, but only make ~$9/hr ($15k/year, and this is working 40+ hour weeks). After all my deductions, I bring home roughly $500 biweekly. This isn’t a lot, but I feel it’s a good amount for now, because I’m also going to college FT and am still young.
DH makes double what I make, easily, and is also going PT to finish his degree. We live within our means- our mortgage is very doable on just one income, and our bills are also very manageable. We end up with $700-800 extra each month. I’m just still worried (over-anxious, that’s me) about money 24/7, and I believe this stems from seeing my parents worry about money each week.
We never go without, and are often able to take ‘day trips’ to pretty places and just enjoy each other. However, I still get so ANXIOUS about money. Reading some of the Bees posts, Bees that have bought $600k homes, make $80k+ a year—it worries me. The cost of living in our town is significantly less than, say, NYC, but I still feel like we’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Does anyone else relate? I feel so alone, and I don’t know what to do to help calm this (kind of unwarranted) anxiety. We do have enough money to be comfortable- we just don’t have savings, which worries me. Every time I try to get DH to transfer that extra $700/month to savings, something without fail comes up and we need the money. It’s driving me insane.
Any tips? Or does anyone relate?
Post # 3
I don’t think your stress is unwarranted if you have little to no money in savings. That is scary!
Here is my advice.
Could you talk to your husband and come to some sort of agreement each month about how much you will each contribute toward savings? If he doesn’t understand why saving is so important to you, explain to him the emotional toll that stress and worrying takes on you. You don’t have to put the entire $700 into savings at once: just a little each month—maybe $150-200 or so. Then on pay day, can you have that money automatically transferred into a savings account so he does not have the option to not contribute to savings?
This is what my husband and I decided on, and I honestly think my husband forgets that I take the money out each paycheck. I’ve been doing this almost two years now, so maybe at first he noticed less money, but now it’s like it has always been this way.
At first, it won’t seem like you’re saving very much, but after a while, you’ll have a financial cushion that continues to grow (as long as you’re dedicated to saving and don’t dip into it unless it is a bonafide emergency). For us, this works better than waiting until the end of the month to see if there is money left over for savings (there never is!). We view it as another bill we have to pay, like our mortgage or electricity bill—saving is nonnegotiable.
Post # 4
I’m in the same boat as you. DH makes a good income for our area and we’re renting a decent apartment. I’m currently unemployed (quit my job to move with him, still looking for work in my field) so we’re having to do everything on one income. We’re not living paycheck to paycheck but we’re not putting anything into savings either.
It’s very stressful because I feel it’s my responsibility as the one not able to contribute to our income right now that I make sure we don’t overextend and cut costs where we can without making big sacrifices (shopping smart for groceries, planning meals that are both amazing, healthy, and not filled with frou frou ingredients that add nothing but calories and cost and no taste).
I agree with @JenniMichele that just putting a little aside from each pacycheck is the way to go. Once we get past paying for a few things we had to put on credit for our new life, we’ll be doing that. If I manage to land a job then my entire paycheck will go into savings.
Post # 5
Definitely agree with PP – to build up a savings, you have to pay yourself first! My employer’s system allows us to choose what percentage of our checks we want deposited across up to three accounts, so my retirement and savings are taken care of without me having to move anything around. When the rest of the money hits my checking account, that becomes the amount we have to work with.
Money is definitely tough to talk about, and it sounds like you and your DH come from different perspectives on the matter–does he know what it is like to worry about money? If this relatively comfortable lifestyle is new to him too, it could be that he is simply enjoying having “extra.” You have to get on the same page, so I’d look around for financial advice that seems to click with your values (check into your town’s financial advisors, many of whom might offer cheap “new couples” workshops–or grab books from the library from popular personalities like Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey).
Many financial advisors recommend having between three and twelve months of living expenses in an emergency fund, and/or saving 10% of every paycheck. Work with your DH to determine your own goals–it might help him to see how you calculate those numbers! He might feel motivated to cut way back and save earnestly for a few months in order to meet your goal quickly, or he might prefer the satisfaction of making consistent contributions over the long-haul.
Post # 6
Also, who handles the money at home? Do you do it together? If not, you might ask him to sit with you and/or take it over for a month or two, just so he has a concrete understanding of the situation. As you parcel out the bills together, you can explain why you worry or what makes you nervous (“The electric bill jumped $30 this month, which is the equivalent of one of our date nights”).
Another suggestion may be a giving yourselves the “challenge” of banking your entire paycheck for a month or two, and just living on his. Getting creative with meals, travel, or whatever you usually spend money on can not only be fun, but can also help your DH start to feel a sense of connectedness with/responsibility for your funds.
Post # 7
Wow, thank you for the solid advice, Bees! We do handle the money together, but I’m fairly new at it because I’ve never had to worry about money in the past (was living with parents rent-free, no bills, etc.). I think putting $150-200 in savings each month to start with would be great- and not as ‘scary’ as putting all $700. The thing is, we both manage money pretty poorly, which is what worries me most. If we have the money, we spend it- whether it’s on needed items or not. I think if we had an automatic amount put into savings without either of us ‘touching’ it, so to speak, we’d be fine.
We do already live on a ‘budget’ when it comes to groceries; we allow for $200 every 2 weeks- it’s just DH and myself, and so far we’ve stuck to that. We were seriously spending upwards of $600 every month on dinners out, so we’ve cut that out almost completely (exception of a ‘nice’ meal once every 2 weeks or so).
It’s saving that has been our biggest issue. I think we have $33 in our savings at this point, which is kind of sad, but it’s a start I suppose. If we can get in the habit of putting money back without even thinking about it, we can easily build it- once it’s in savings, we don’t touch it (he has a savings account with ~$900 in another bank). I had $600 in my own savings account but we had to spend that for our vacation.
We do always stay a month (at least) ahead on bills, though. I never want to come down to the breaking point of whether we’ll have enough for bills- we pay them a month early online, every time.
Thanks for the advice so far, and any other advice is welcomed!!
Post # 8
@stefanielovesjamie: I wish I were in your shoes!!
FI works full time with the government making about $35k. I just graduated, working part time and looking for a full-time teaching position (which is nearly impossible) so I only bring home about $500/month, which at this point is going to wedding expenses.
In savings we have maybe 10k total, but that’s including what we saved for wedding expenses. (And shockingly, most of it is my money.. you know, the one who DOESN’T have full time)
I’m always panicked because FI bought a new truck AND a new boat on top of rent and student loans.. Then he complains he doesn’t have any money (he might have $300 left over). It stresses me out and drives me crazy. We don’t even live together yet.
We literally do nothing. We almost never go out to dinner. We don’t go to bars and drink. We don’t go to theme parks, or to the movies, or fun dates. Actually, I’m getting more angry as I read this.
Anyways, sorry. This is about you. Not me. I think you’re doing alright. My mom (a bookkeeper) swears the thing to do is put $50-100 into your savings account each week as a “bill.” She prioritizes just below the actual bills. If she can’t buy that new office chair she needs/wants that month, then she waits. Somehow she managed to save $30k for our wedding doing this. Yowza!!
Post # 9
I’m not exactly sure what minimum wage is currently (we live in Iowa), but I make just under $9/hr, but I work in the food service industry as a hostess/cashier. I work PT, but I also gets tips daily, which is supposed to compensate for pay (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t). My husband works at the same place I do, but he is FT, makes around $7/hr plus tips, and supervises about twice a week, making $14/hr. For the 2012 year, we each made around $13K-$14K after taxes, and with our tips automatically taken out of each paycheck (which is actually A LOT nicer than having to keep track all year long). My husband will get benefits in the next couple of weeks, while I was able to stay on my parents’ insurance for a couple more years.
We have very little savings as well, which worries me too! We don’t live above our means, but we also aren’t very good about setting aside money either, even if we try. We have discussed our savings many times, but have yet to make anything happen! I do, however, save up my tip money, just in case.
For your extra money at the end of each month, you could put some of it into a savings account, but not all of it, unless you are comfortable and certain you won’t touch it! Every little bit helps, and the more you do it, the more I’d imagine you get used to it. Good luck!
Post # 10
@stefanielovesjamie: If your employer doesn’t offer the option to direct deposit part of your paycheck into a savings account, I would recommend a service like smartypig.com that will do it for you it. I use smartypig and like it; it will pull however much you want (say $150) on a date that you want, even bi-monthly (so it gets pulled per paycheck). It also lets you set goals, create names those goals you’re saving towards, and has graph and visualization features so you can see and feel good about your progress.
If you are the type of person who will spend if you have money around, then having a savings account that pulls like this is a great way to ensure that you don’t “see” it.
It sounds like you’re doing a good job of budgeting. If you want to further budget spending money, maybe you can try giving you and your husband each an “allowance” each month. You won’t have to worry about the details, but you’ll know that there’s a cap.
Post # 11
What always helped me save in the past is pulling cash out and keeping it in a safety box (fireproof lock box kinda thing). Out of sight, out of mind. If it’s in my account, I will spend it!