Budgets – everyone’s favorite topic. From my experience, people either love them or hate them. I personally am a bonafide budget lover. I fell in love with budgeting initially out of pure necessity. When I first started working as an adult I didn’t make a ton of money, therefore, I had to be very strict with my spending so that I didn’t find myself in a pickle that I could not get out of. Although I’ve since increased my income several times over, I still budget because it gives me control of my money. I get to tell my money where to go, not the opposite way around. As a budget lover imagine my delight and splendor when I began dating my husband and learned that he also budgeted – *heart eyes* emoji. Although we keep a smaller scale personal budget, most of our budgeting is together looking at our finances jointly as a team. Together we’ve refined and well-oiled our budget machine to work well for us. Of course, we have our typical budget line items like electricity and mortgage, but here are a few that we’ve added to make more sense for us as a married couple.
Date night funds
If you’re dating or married then you know that date nights add up. Paying for “two” for everything is a much different ball game that for one. We decided to budget money each month for date nights to make it more manageable for us to date without exhausting our personal funds. It was an adjustment at first because who doesn’t love their partner spoiling them with their money? But I got over it quickly because it made more financial sense. Now we can date with a little less stress about who’s paying for what. On occasions, my husband still pays for dates and vice versus without us touching this fund so we still have moments to spoil each other from our personal stash.
We maintain a car maintenance fund to pay for taxes, car registration and the inevitable things that come up with cars sometimes like new tires or batteries. Fun fact: Both of us needed new tires this year. Talk about a budget blow.
Annual credit card charge
Last year, we upgraded to the American Express Platinum card. The card is amazing and I love the benefits that it has. It’s no doubt already paid for itself. The card does, however, have a hefty annual price tag to the tune of $695. We’ve decided to save for the card on a monthly basis ($58) so that when it’s time for the renewal, we’ll have the money ready and waiting.
New for 2022. We both come from families that love Christmas and love giving gifts during the holidays. Our first few years of buying everyone gifts were unplanned so we figured we needed to go ahead and start saving for the holidays throughout the year. This year we committed to saving for gifts in a savings account so we are more prepared for the spending.
We both love to travel and have had this in our budget for a while. Yearly we evaluate where we’d like to go and how much we’ll need. I talk about our travel savings process in detail in this post I wrote a few months ago.
Home decor and projects
Our home will always be high on our priority list. We are dedicated to making it feel like a home and a complete escape from the outside world. We save regularly so that we can make large and small purchases that make sense for our home. Over the past few years, we’ve completely decorated several spaces in our home using our saving method as a basis for being able to make purchases. See lots of our home decor on my Instagram, @katreenaldavis.
So that’s it, folks. These are 6 things that we add to our typical monthly budget. I think most of us find finances much easier to approach when broken up into bite sized pieces. So what can you save for each month that can help alleviate pressure on your finances later in the year? Also, if you’re married or dating I encourage you to speak regularly about money. It’s such a taboo topic, however, when approached in love and understanding, you’re able to create beautiful things from your money and potentially relieve stress on one another. There are many ways to approach it and I’ll talk about that in the future but just start with a monthly “money date” if you don’t regularly discuss money. This Ellevest article also has some really great tips. If you’re single, I encourage you to talk about money with yourself and get comfortable managing your finances.