How Our Budget Has Changed In the First 2 Years Of Marriage
This week Jacob and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. It’s crazy how fast the last two years have gone by! While reflecting on all that we have done in the last two years and our financial goals that we have accomplished, I looked back at the first budget we made as a married couple. While we are still not debt-free (but will be soon!!) some parts of our budget have changed since we first got married.
Our Budget Became More Detailed
When we first made a budget, we didn’t really budget! We just were really tracking our expenses to see where we were. We weren’t actually assigning every dollar a name at the beginning of the month. Now, our budget is more detailed, and may I even say, it’s beautiful!! 🙂 It’s color coordinated and has different categories and colors for income, regular expenses, debts, and savings. We assign every dollar a name at the beginning of the month, track our expenses, and compare our budget to our actual spending at the end of the month.
Debt Snowball Progress
This is probably the most exciting this for us to look back on in the last two years! When we got married, we were $70,000 in debt (we had paid off $10,000 before we were married and combined our finances). As of now, we have $10,000 left!! Can you even believe it? We sure can’t. When we got married, our debt snowball had 13 different loans that combined to the full total. Now there is just one left! One by one, we’ve paid off all the loans that made up our total debt, and we’re one away from being done! It’s been so encouraging to see our overall debt total go down significantly, and now we can put so much each month to a single loan.
As Christians, we believe in tithing (or giving) 10% of our income to our church. We did this when we were first married. But we had a hard time getting connected with a healthy church. Knowing that we’d soon be moving and would get plugged into a different church, we decided to save our tithe money each month so that we could give it all when we found a great church. Once we moved and got connected with the church we’re currently attending, we gave away all that we had saved in that fund.
This sparked the idea of something that we absolutely love doing and including in our budget today. Every month, we now put $50 into an “extra giving” fund. When you’re working to become debt-free, you have to say no to a lot like going out with friends, going on vacation and a lot of other fun things. But this is something that we wanted to be able to say yes to no matter what. Having money in this fund makes it easy to say yes if a friend is going through a hard time and needs support or if someone is going on a mission trip and needs additional funding.
When we first got married and up until about 6 months ago, Jacob and I each got $25 of personal spending money a month… Which is not very much. haha. This is the money that we can individually spend however we want without the other spouse’s permission. We can either save it each month for something large, or spend it all that month! In January, we decided to up this amount to $50 a month. Still not too much, but is a nicer amount. We realized that we also needed to live and enjoy ourselves a little bit, and this extra bit allows us to do that. When we are debt-free, we plan on this amount going up even more!
A huge part of our story that is allowing us to become debt-free quicker is our rent decrease. We spent our first year of marriage in a one bedroom apartment paying $1120. When it was time to renew our lease, the price was going up to $1300. While this is something that we still could have afforded, it was pretty ridiculous. My parents invited us to stay with them to get our loans paid off, so we have been here for the last 11 months! Our rent is now $200 a month, and this has significantly helped us to pay off our debts quicker.
When we were first married, we had no eating out budget. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, eating out is what can really blow your budget. We would maybe get like a $7 pizza and lump it together with our grocery budget. After living like that for over a year, we decided to allow ourselves $30 a month for eating out. You can laugh now. I know this is not much, but it’s something! In fact, this month we went out the first week of the month and then had to say no to friends to asked us to go out with them on July 10th! Pretty lame, I know. But soon when we’re debt-free, we will definitely allow ourselves more in this category.
In the last two years, we have stayed loyal to our frugal budget, but we have expanded on some of our fun spending. We can’t wait to share our budget progress with you as time goes on. Especially when we are officially debt-free (debt-free date announcement is coming out soon)!!