Marital Finance

JenniferL_w0370

My husband has been asking me to write a guest post for a while now, so here it goes. First I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. I am Mrs. DebtAnatomy, the wife of Mr. DebtAnatomy, the illustrious and talented author of this site. Like many of you readers, I am also a student and I have student loans. I will finish my nursing degree this coming August (Yay!). I have enjoyed contributing ideas to this site and it has given my husband and I many opportunities to discuss our thoughts on financial philosophy and budgeting. When we were first married, about three years ago, I would not believe that those words could come out of my mouth. Let me back up a little bit and provide a little background. During college before I was married, I had a good part time job at a doctor’s office that allowed me to be able to cover my living expenses and pay for just about everything that I wanted to do. I wasn’t an impulsive shopper, and I was somewhat frugal, but I didn’t necessarily have to keep to a strict budget. When we were married, we combined our bank accounts and I continued to live and shop similarly to how I did when I was single. About the same time that my husband began applying to medical school was the time we started to take a harder look at our finances. This was due to the fact that we somewhat underestimated how expensive the process is of simply applying to medical school. At the end of each month we would look at what we spent by viewing our online banking page and mint.com account. These discussions were awkward and uncomfortable, and quite frankly I hated talking about finances! I felt somewhat powerless because with the added expense of applying to medical school, there was no way our expenses would equal or even come close to the amount of money we were bringing in with both of our part time jobs. I found myself getting upset that I now had to be more concerned about the money I spent.

Well, life went on, we moved across the country, took out our first ever set of student loans and began medical school. We lived on savings until I started my job a couple months after we moved. We continued to try to budget every month and it started to get a little easier, but I still didn’t like it very much. When a friend recommended the YNAB app, we gave it a try and finally felt like we found something that worked. In our home, we both discuss finances and know what is going on, but I do a lot of the day-to-day financial tasks like pay the rent and utility bills. Mr. DebtAnatomy is in charge of researching the long term financial things like paying off student loans, and planning for retirement and other investments. (Reading information on these topics usually tends to put me to sleep). Through a gradual process we have found a system of budgeting that works for us. Talking about finances is no longer the awkward conversation that I avoided. I now view setting a budget at the beginning of every month and sticking to it as almost a challenge against myself. Being a somewhat competitive person (okay, okay, a really competitive person when it comes to card and board games) I enjoy a good challenge. I enjoy searching for good deals and I have become a much more savvy shopper. The best part is feeling in control of our finances instead of feeling like we were controlled by our finances.

So, the point of this story is to tell you that even in the DebtAnatomy household, finances did not come easily all together. It was, and still is, a gradual process of successes and failures, adjustments and readjustments. I imagine that many of you were like me and dread talking about or even thinking about finances. It is easier to pull a Scarlet O’Hara and “think about it tomorrow.” Well there are only so many tomorrows before debt becomes an all consuming monster. This year, set a goal to be financially fit. Find what works for you and adjust it till it works!

*I have decided to post my nursing school debt load.  I graduate this coming fall, and then we’ll get to see how fast we can pay it off!

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