This is a post about money. Cash. Dough. Moolah.
And how we spend it. And spend it. And spend it.
But first (as usual), a story.
A while ago, my friend, Courtney and I had a discussion about "birth order." If I remember correctly, someone (probably her) had read a piece about the specific characteristics you gain simply from being the youngest/oldest/middle child in your family and how those rankings can affect your marriage. I don't hold a ton of stock in that particular theory, but one point stayed with me. I commented that Tim and I were both the youngest, and Court laughed and said,
"Youngest with youngest is fine....but it's a financial disaster."
We laughed it off, but I remember that conversation so clearly.
With that being said, this is how we used to manage our finances:
Tim paid almost all the bills except for the ones I had before we met (i.e. my student loan/car/credit card). He would pay everything else. We would both keep track of when we were getting paid and have conversations in passing about how we were spending it, the update of our balance, how much we thought we could save/use as extra to pay down debt, etc.
It was working. It wasn't ideal, and it wasn't the best way for us to be using our resources, but....it was working.
And then...it wasn't. We got to the end of our month and had to pull from our savings account and a light went on. A flag went up...for both of us.
Honestly, it must have been divine intervention. We both have had a change of heart regarding how we spend our time AND our money. Our priorities have changed. The other day, I thought, "Well...desperate times call for desperate measures....and I couldn't be more excited."
I don't know about you, but I had never heard of it until I met Tim, so I'll explain.
Quicken is a personal finance computer program/software that helps you manage all your spending and accounts. You plug in all your bank account info. and it automatically KNOWS where to categorize your spending.
For example, a few weeks ago, we made purchases at Lowe's. When we clicked the Home Improvement category, guess what transaction showed up!?!?! Magic, I tell you- magic! The same is true for things like gas, food, groceries and the like.
Although we did have to move some transactions around/plug some in like tithe to our church and other misc. items. It is also funny to see what Quicken "guesses." Cincinnati has a really popular ribs place called Montgomery Inn. It's just a restaurant, but Quicken categorized last week's transaction as "Hotel/Travel."
It was ridiculous to see where all our money was going. I'm not going to tell you exactly how and where b/c it is horrifiying-ly embarrassing, but I will tell you that this month, we ate almost an entire paycheck.
We literally ate it.
Oh. Oh. Quicken to the rescue.
I don't usually do product reviews BUT, this personal finance program is amazing. I am not math minded. I'm not. Even counting change can throw me over the edge. However, I love Quicken. It's like watching a cartoon or a video game with all it's nifty charts and pie graphs. Anything with the word pie in it is okay in my book.
(this is not our info. by the way, it came from the website)
So, I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I'm excited. I hope this works for us. If you are looking for a better way to manage your finances, I highly suggest it. The deluxe package was around $60, but we used that as our "date night" last night (not that we usually spend that much on a date, but not eating at a 'sit down' place/seeing a movie off set the cost a little).
I went to bed last night feeling overwhelmed by where all our money had gone, but had SUCH a peace because I KNEW where all of it had gone, if that makes sense. I think for the first time, in a long time, I felt like I really had a handle on our accounts (which is scary if you think about it).
Today, Tim and I need to finish our talk about WHAT we are changing in terms where all our money goes. We also need to use the program to set up a budget, savings plan, and timeline for paying off some of our debt. More details on that later.
What's 'working' for you? Do you feel like this is something you could use? Is there something you feel like you need to get a better handle on? Do it! Do it today!
Love and fewer five dollar coffees (yikes!),
*It took me several tries to spell "y'all," and I'm still not sure if it's right.