This Year’s Project
Anyone who knows us knows that B and I are two very different people. One of the ways in which B and I differ is money.
I am a saver to my very core. I track down every dollar that goes in and out of our account. I feel a great deal of guilt if we “break even” one month instead of putting money away in savings (no matter what the circumstances). I hate most forms of shopping, and I hate interest.
B, on the other hand, feels no guilt about money. He’s not a mindless spender nor is he obsessed with luxury, but he does not feel guilt when we eat out or he signs up for a monthly music subscription. He also does not watch our accounts. It drives him crazy that I regularly question his spending habits because I want to KNOW what’s going on. B loves shopping for household items. He dragged me kicking and screaming to buy a bed we desperately needed, he dragged me to the shelter to get a dog, and I wasn’t even present when he bought “my” car.
So, when it comes to finances, we have to compromise. I would happily go on a cash budget that limits all of our incidental spending and go without any form of digital entertainment to save a few dollars, but B would be miserable. B would love to buy more tools, but he knows that I’m not comfortable with his preferred level of spending.
Recently, we have come up with some goals that have pulled B further on my side of the spectrum. We have some things we would like to save for, and B is willing to make more cuts. So, I pulled out my spreadsheet of this year’s monthly expenses. B and I then discussed how we can save more. Without going into numbers, I’m going to give that to you here.
Expenses that we have already changed:
- Internet – I dropped our plan to the bare minimum.
- Cell phone bill – I dropped some of the fancy stuff off our plan a few months ago. We won’t be upgrading anytime soon. Once our contract is up, I have a company in mind that we can switch too.
- Insurance – I’ve called and verified that everything we have is worth what we pay.
- Dog – We aren’t giving him up. We pretty much just pay his medical bills and feed him at this point. He has enough toys and beds to last him a few years because he’s not destructive of his own things. I’ve learned to keep all my own things out of his reach because he will destroy them and cost me more money.
- Digital entertainment – This is all B. I have already convinced him to drop quite a bit of this. He is clinging to what we have left.
- Health care – B now drives out to the VA where he gets free healthcare every time he needs anything.
Areas that need to change:
- Gifts – B and I can spend less on each other this next year. This means no more tattoos for a while (sob). We already only buy for each other for birthday and Christmas.
- Household – Some of these things can easily be avoided (I now know how fast my car is and don’t accidentally speed anymore), and some of them are still necessary (I’m not living without toilet paper or cleaning supplies). This is an area we can work to improve because there’s a lot that we “need” but could probably live without especially apartment related. I plan to not buy clothing or shoes this next year. I’ve put a monthly limit on this area that should accommodate needs but not most wants.
- Food – This is where almost all of our excess spending occurs. We are going to go on a cash budget that will be divided into three categories: groceries, food out together, and food out separate. B spends too much money on snacks and soda at gas stations, and I spend too much money at coffee shops. We will also cut down on our “I don’t feel like cooking” expenses.
Obviously, another way to save money is to make more of it. B and I are both planning on picking up extra hours at work, but this is limited for us because we both already work overtime on a regular basis.
So there you have it. Starting July 9th, we will be working to spend less. Maybe I’ll update you on this, maybe I won’t.
Any suggestions on gluten free meals that are easy, cheap and healthy?