Barbie World + [married life]

The One Where We Discuss Budgeting

Yuck.

I hate bills. I detest budgeting. I'm not a crazy spender by any means, and anyone who knows my penchant for TJ Maxx and Marshalls will attest to this. But I'm also definitely not someone who clips coupons, tracks spending, or worries that much about money, period (this is not because we have boatloads, by the way, it's just because I prefer not to think about the cold, hard reality that is cash in vs. cash out). So I guess I'm more of a spender than a saver.

You know how money is the number one things couples argue over? Yeah, Kyle and I don't really argue over it, ever. You see, he's kind of a spender himself. In a different way than I am, because he constantly monitors cash in vs. cash out (so at least he has a grip on reality re: finances) but he does not flinch at big ticket purchases - which is probably why we have so many large TVs gracing our humble home. This post isn't written because we're in a bad place financially - we have student loans but they're your run of the mill amount, we have one car payment that's a tad high, and we have a mortgage that is pretty darn low thanks to Pittsburgh's unbelieveably awesome cost of living. Actually, we're doing okay.

But we could - and therefore, should - be doing much better. We don't have any real responsibilities yet. We are DINKS: dual income, no kids. Dude. We could be saving an enormous amount of money each month (well, as a recent college graduate it feels enormous to me, anyway). But we spend way more than we should on things like:

  • Giant Eagle Market District (similar to Whole Foods). This is our happy place. Seriously, I am in the best mood when we are browsing these aisles (it's actually a bit disturbing how blissful I feel when grocery shopping, now that I think about it). Fine cheeses, organic produce, dry aged grass fed beef - I want it all. I don't want to get into monetary specifics in this post, or ever, but our Market District receipts are frightening.
  • PA liquor and beer distributor stores. Doesn't that sound awful? We certainly aren't getting smashed every night, but we do enjoy our fair share of champagne (me), chianti (um, still me), and beer (Kyle). We like to treat ourselves, but I guess it becomes less of a "treat" and more of a "problem" when it's, oh, every other night-ish.
  • Stupid, impulsive "small" purchases that really add up. More scarves for Carrie, even though she has about 25! Kyle could definitely use another few t-shirts to add to his rotation of, um, 50? And don't get me started on the seductive powers of Target and Rite-Aid, where the aisles are lined with gossip magazines and deliciously scented lotions and nutrition supplements and other ridiculous things we don't need.
Here is the one thing I won't compromise on:
  • Excellent dog food for Bailey. Seriously, if you have compared dog poop (doesn't everyone?), high-quality dog food is so, so worth it. No longer will piles in the backyard be runny, light brown, or any other disgusting adjective. Instead, they will only be mildly gross. I mean, it's still poop - but it's dark brown and basically like a rock. This is one well-nourished puppy. Her health is definitely, definitely worth it.
So there's a mini-sampling of our spending. We're creating a budget today (no, we didn't have one until now.) And it's amazing the amount we have to work with that seems to evaporate into thin air.

Well, no longer. We're going to try out "the jar method," where we set a certain amount we can spend per week, take that out in cash and load up our wallets (removing our debit cards and credit cards), and think about what we're buying when we hand over actual money. When it's gone, it's gone.

We'll see how it goes!