Money Monday: Tough Talks About Finances

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Finances

I hate Mondays.

I know, I know, everyone says they hate Mondays, but most of those people have a full-time work away from home job. Not that long ago, I was you.

I now hate Mondays for an entirely new reason, of my own making.

On Mondays, we talk about our finances.

How We Started a Financial Talk Time

Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a second.

A while back, we realized that we were not taking the time to talk about or look at our finances on a regular basis. This was causing a lot of stress, including but not limited to-

  • Excessive spending without a realistic idea of what was in our accounts
  • Bills going unpaid for a few weeks too long
  • Anxiety over the perceived state of our finances, based off of a general feeling that we weren’t doing so great, without actual facts to back it up.

One night, after another anxiety-filled evening of opening a mound of mail and paying bills online, my husband and I both decided we’d had enough.

We didn’t know the immediate answer to our problems, but tackling the insurmountable wall of procrastination was where we decided we had to start.

Problem Number One

We just frankly do not look at our finances often enough.

With that in mind, our first course of action was to implement Money Monday.

On Money Monday, anything that affects our financial health is fair game.

  • Bills, Bills, Bills.
  • Mounds of Mail.
  • Insurance follow-ups.
  • Checking our account balances.

It’s still not fun, but knowing that we are going to discuss it and look at everything, and have a more realistic picture of what we are dealing with is a great way to reset the beginning of each week. It also helps curb some of our unhealthy spending habits.

I’m probably the only one who shops to relieve stress. I am, aren’t I?

Of COURSE I’m not!

I’m also completely guilty of buying something that feels like a ‘need’ but is absolutely NOT a need.

Problem Number Two

We have no budget.

We live on one income. Even if I worked a full-time job again, our income with daycare expenses would basically be a wash. Just between you and I, I’d rather be the one taking care of my kiddos, given the choice.

Not everyone has that choice – (I worked full time on odd shifts for nine years, so I’m right there with you. I completely understand how hard it is to be a full-time employee and feel like you are also giving your best to your family. It is SO HARD.)

The budget thing is still not past-tense. We NEED a budget. 

We’ve tried and failed on multiple occasions to figure out what we’re spending, how much we have to spend, and how to keep things in check. Something is ALWAYS coming up.

Not a great excuse, I know.

No budget is just not working.

So I want to know, what do you use for budgeting? 

What works for your family?

The truth is, we currently have the income we have. We have always made it by, but boy, it would be great to feel like we are thriving, not just surviving. At the very least, having some cushion for when the next thing inevitably breaks.

Which is at least a couple times a year. Or more if your three-year-old decides to blow up the microwave and start a fire thus rendering the microwave unusable. Just saying.

Things that are working, sort of.

  • Nag-free money
    • My spouse and I each get a little ‘allowance’ each week that is our nag-free money. I spend mine the way I want, you spend yours the way you want. This has been a great little trick for keeping marital harmony. New shirt? Yup, I’ve got the funds. New wardrobe? Probably need to keep saving.
    • What’s not to like about the nag-free system? I think we are using too much of our budget on it. If we completely abolished this system and just had our general checking out, we would put back $480 into our general funds every month. This is the money that I use for clothes, haircuts, etc. Basically, this is for anything that’s not food or bills. So how do we better monitor the extraneous spending if we remove this system?
  • Money Monday
    • When we are consistent about Money Monday, we both feel the burden of our finances lifted. We are putting ourselves on the same page and we can better plan for the week ahead.

Time to Take Action

It is probably time for a moratorium on spending and it’s definitely time to implement a strict budget.

Spending stoppage starts today. Now.

Let’s set the budget goal for the end of the month.

Do You Need a “Money Monday”?

Is it time for you and your spouse to have the finances talk?

Do you blatantly ignore your finances out of fear and anxiety?

You either have the finances in order and a working budget, or you don’t.

If you need to have “the talk”, sit down and have it. Figure out a regular time to talk about it so things get taken care of before they turn into a giant gnarly knot of stress in your stomach.

There’s nothing magical about it, (but if you know of any magical solution I’m all ears), and the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to be completely realistic and aware of what you’ve got.

It will not fix everything, but it’s the first step to having financial issues in hand, instead of completely out of control.

If this post was too stressful for you, might I suggest Wry Parent’s Guide: Getting the Kids in the Car to relieve the tension.

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Comments

  1. Aunt Tammy says:

    Hi god daughter, I love reading your blog. You are a funny and gifted writer. I especially liked this post. Financing is important and is the number one reason for divorce so it needs to be dealt with. Let me commend you for your Money Monday approach. It sounds like that has helped you some what. However it also sounds like you could use some more practical advise and support. I recently had a friend share with me an online source that may help you too. Check out Dave Ramsey. He has a website that you can go to and he really gives a lot of practical suggestions and help. Have a wonderful day and keep writing.

    1. Thank you so much! It absolutely tickles me to know that people I love are reading along and enjoying this, Aunt Tammy!

      I have actually read a little bit of Dave Ramsey’s book, but I think you are absolutely right, I will go and check out his website and see what kind of strategies we can look at implementing. I honestly wish I was better at managing this.

      Thank you for commenting, you made my day 🙂

  2. Samantha of Mother Haggard says:

    Ugh, yes. Money. Bleh. I definitely need Money Monday in my life. I grew up in a family where the overriding belief about money was “All you need is love.” Which is great, and beautiful, but now I’m old and it’s probably smart to start saving for retirement one day, right?!

    Like you, my husband and I are trying to be more proactive about these kinds of things…but it ain’t fun and I should probably take a course on it or something. (Or just keep buying more fun books which I don’t have time to read. Or that.)

    1. Who has time to actually read books? That’s crazy talk! Just start listening to books, I highly recommend the overdrive app for free books. yes, free. I know that complements your wallet, Ma Hag. It’s definitely challenging to be proactive about finances, even when it is a need. If given the choice, I could actually avoid doing anything with my bills indefinitely. But the anxiety would creep higher and higher and higher and we would have absolutely no control. I can’t recommend enough having a set time, even if it’s just once a month to sit down together and take the long hard look at how things are actually going. It’s not fun, and it’s not always pretty, but it does help a lot.

I love reading your comments you beautiful people

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