10/7/08

A New Kind Of Goal

I've decided I would like to build up our savings account. Call it "for a rainy day". Call it the pessimist in me who sees the economic downturn of our near future (or present). Maybe it's because I know I've only got 50% of my brake pads left. Call it what you will but I've decided to put away some serious cash.
I find the topic of finances to be an intriguing topic when posed to random couples, especially newlywed couples. Do you share bank accounts? Which one of you handles your finances?
I ask the question because I'm nosy, and intrigued by the inner workings of the separate account life.
You see, John and I have always agreed on a shared account. Thankfully, he makes the money, I manage the money AND I spend the money. What more could a girl ask for???
When we got married I actually worked full time but it was never enough to cover the household utilities, groceries and clothes (okay, good clothes). So before we tied the knot, I had become another monthly check to write on John's list of "To Do's"...write a check to my broke ass fiance so she can buy us beer, toilet paper, and chips (we did a lot of entertaining in those days).
It was obvious my negative-balanced bank account was ripe for the closing when we walked down the aisle. Poor guy, he got the ball, the chain, and the student loans. We've had a few bumps along the road but all in all, he's said his peace, I've learned my lessons and it's been smooth sailing.
I'm interested in other people's approach to this subject because John and I aren't organized or private enough to keep our own accounts. Nor do I dare claim that ours is the perfect scenario for everyone. We have encountered issues -like my birthday-when he's run out of ideas and he pops into the grocer for a bouquet of flowers (twice in ten years) only to find that our debit card was declined. Big oops (definitely in the category of BUMP). Now he asks how much he can spend for our anniversary or my birthday. Kinda takes the romance out of it doesn't it?
How do separate bank accounts work without creating more bookkeeping? In our world, I do the groceries, the bills, stocking the house, medical, and the clothes & shoes. Yes, I buy all his clothes. And his shoes (it's a fine scientific equation of sizing and measuring that I've perfected since college).
We have some close friends who dole out an allowance from their monthly income. They each get an amount to spend on their toys, hobbies, clothes, etc. Where I would imagine it gets tricky is the kids and the house. Sure, it's nice to think that daddy hits Target for Sara's new dolly stroller and happens across an adorable harvest wreath for the door. But we all know that ain't happening. What about the bedroom set she loves, he hates, so she buys it anyway and pays for it herself?
Back to where I began, my financial goal... is to build up our savings account. In order to achieve this I've set some benchmarks for the upcoming months allowing for Christmas and yes, new brakes. My problem is not the theory but the practice. Enter, stage right, my sister (a born and bred hoarder of all things money) suggesting I consult her idol, Suze Orman for financial advice. She loves that woman! Back to the topic at hand, the practice. I write it all out, I set the goals, and on paper we should be a millionaires by February!!! But in reality, I run into snags. Like the kajillion birthday party invites my preschooler receives (and subsequent gifts she must give). And the Princess Extravaganza. And the awesome Children's Place prices on Amazon.com. And the NuBra/chicken cutlets I need for my self esteem(check em out-cool!). And the impromptu Santa Barbara trip with my mom and the kids next week..how can a girl go to Santa Barbara and NOT hit Nordies??? You see my problem?
I pushed it all aside today and focused in on those benchmarks. If I can claw my way to the finish line I will be one accomplished household financial guru mama (and I can have a new pair of shoes, or three). Take that Suze Orman!
And then the credit card bill arrived. And in plain English, it spelled out the 4 digit $$$ playhouse that god-damned Bottle Fairy dropped off at our house (which is still in the box). That bitch left us to cover the bill! And the assembling!!!
How am I supposed to find my benchmarks with HER in my life??
CURSE YOU BOTTLE FAIRY!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

tj said...

When you figure out how to accomodate all the 'little or 'not so little' things that you forget as you write out your budget let me know. I have written budgets for many years but those buggers just keep popping up and ruining my get rich eventually plan. Always a great read. Keep it up.