So the other topic last week was "Money". Kinda fitting with anger management. I am currently in a situation where we are both on the same page concerning money, and how to manage it. What works for us is in Purple.
Here is what was discussed at the class:
First off, there is a decision to be made, do you choose to
1- Keep the money separate?
What money should be kept separate?
How much will each person contribute to the household ($ amount or % of income)?
2- Pool our money? We pool our money.
What money, if any, is to be kept personal? We have a budget for personal money. When we first got married $15 per person was for our own use each month. That has gone up over the years.
What is the limit for spending without asking the other? Again $15 is what we started out with.
What money is to be shared? All money is shared.
How much discussion is appropriate (and who has the final say) when purchases are made? We do discuss each purchase and we both agree on what the decision is, or the purchase is not made.
Whether money is separate or combined, there are some questions that need to be addressed:
-How will financial emergencies and unexpected expenses be handled? We have a savings account that we use for emergencies and such. If it is more than we have, (ex. hospital stays) then we will put it on the credit card.
-What spending categories are most important? Well, food of course, and then utilities and other necessities.
-Will credit be used? What amount of debt are you comfortable with? When we first got married, there was a lot of debt, and over the past 8 years we have managed to get rid of it. And we like it that way, but understand that things happen. A house is okay to go into debt for. As well as a vehicle, within reason.
-Who will keep track of your money? What method will you use? I keep track of the money, but DH will help when he can. He also has a few bills he pays on line. We have most of them taken out of the checking account automatically (I Love This!!). We use Microsoft Money as the program to help keep things straight.
-Will monthly or yearly budgets be created? We use a monthly budget and take out yearly items a little each month. By whom? We both sit down and create it. In fact, that is what we did last night. How closely will they be followed? We try to follow it pretty well, but we also understand that there are things that come up that we don't expect. And with 7 kids, that happens pretty often.
-Will family members be expected to help out financially? We don't expect family to help out, but we have had to LET them help. This was hard for us to do. Will you be expected to help out other family members? We aren't expected to help others (unless you count that Heavenly Father expects us to help others) but we do. We love that we are ABLE to help others.
-How will you make these decisions? Well, prayer.
-How will children and stepchildren's expenses be handled? It all goes in the family pot. They are OUR children, and the money is theirs as much as ours. Though we, the parents, get the final say as to what the money will be spent on.
-What will you do if another parent is not meeting their child support obligation? This has been hard for us to deal with. I'm not very assertive and he (DH) doesn't want the money. But we have to be realistic. Kids cost money. Once we decided that him (ex) paying his (ex's) share was his (ex's) way of renting the kids for the summer, then it became easy to expect it would be taken care of. We have a pretty open plan with this. If there is unpaid medical bills or the like, then the other parent will have to do the traveling (pay for plane tickets or whatever) until the balance is taken care of.
I know from experience that this is a thing that we all have to deal with. And communication is the best way. Even if it is a sore subject, it will help. I hate money. It still freaks me out. Even though I know that we will be able to eat and pay the electric bill, I still have occasional sleepless nights worrying.
So, what are some ways that you handle money?