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Money makes the world go round, but that doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s easy to talk about. Finances can be overwhelming and, quite frankly, a pain to deal with. I certainly was not quick to admit what debt/expenses I brought to the relationship, but I knew it had to be discussed.
Weâ€™ve all seen the Suze Orman talk shows and thought, â€śYeah I can do it! Iâ€™m ready to be financially free and start saving!â€ť But the reality may not be so easy. I admit, it was exciting to know that our incomes would be combined, and I believe that with both of our paychecks life might actually be less stressful. No more living on your own, paying separate auto policies and/or phone bills. Weâ€™ll combine our lives and poof we will be set! Except there was one flaw to my logic, Iâ€™m not the best at saving money!
My bills have always been automatically deducted from my account, but the remainder of my paycheckâ€¦ wow, I had no clue how much I ate out! Responsibility started to sink in and I realized that in order for Mr. G and me to plan for the future, we had to take a hard look at our bank statements and see where our money was going; you donâ€™t realize how much money you have until you see how much you spend!
I talked to my good friend â€śKateâ€ť and asked her where I should begin. The question is simple but facing your flaws is not. I didnâ€™t want to feel guilty for not saving anymore, and if I wanted to expand our family someday, I had to start planning. I canâ€™t just go shopping on a whim or eat out every other day. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, for myself and my new married life. Plus, Mr. G isnâ€™t going to do it *wink*.
The first step is getting a grip on where your money going. Asses your expenses, review bank statements, and see where that extra money goes. By â€śextra,â€ť I mean, are you going to Starbucks more often than you should? Are you spending your money on things that are not a necessity? This is all dependent on your current financial situation, needs, wants, and pay frequency. If your necessities require 90 percent of your pay, thatâ€™s OK! Just use a 90/10 system. If youâ€™re like me, it wonâ€™t make sense unless you visualize it.
Part of my job is to provide advice on benefits. This includes retirement, flexible spending arrangements, health insurance and so forth.
Putting HR hat onâ€¦
Check with your employer to see what is offered and how you can maximize your savings. You can also contact your tax adviser/financial planner to discuss your options with savings (IRA/investments) and how to maximize your tax deductions. The key is to get started because you donâ€™t want to end up old and broke!
Kate uses a spreadsheet to manage her finances and she shared it with me. The spreadsheet can be tailored to your personal expenses and savings goal(s), but the idea is to break down your paycheck into the 60/40 rule. To provide a point of reference, I get paid bi-weekly and Mr. G is paid on a monthly basis, so the spreadsheet needed a little tweaking. I personally am a huge fan of ING Direct and have set up multiple automatic savings accounts to suit our needs. Remember, it isnâ€™t about how much you put away, itâ€™s about starting to take control of your life, and continually saving. Even $5 a pay period toward entertainment will make a difference in the long run and keep you in check. If your entertainment account has only $20, you may not go out to dinner and the movies, but you can order pizza and get Redbox instead.
Looking at the excel spreadsheet and calculating our expenses was kind of liberating! It felt like I was finally balancing things out and we were on the right track.
This post is part of ourÂ Money Matters series. All week, our panelists weigh in on how they handle financial matters in their relationships.
This week, Newlyweds Dish is doing a series called Money Matters (because it does!) How you manage your finances when you’re single can be vastly different from how you manage them post knot-tying; financial obligations and expectations can change quickly once bills arrive for Mr. and Mrs.
All week our contributors will weigh in on how they handle financial matters in their relationships, and they’ll share their tips, tricks and experiences with you!Â Today, Sabrina, Lexia and Melissa kick us off with how they save and manage money in their homes.
Now we want to hear from you! What are your money saving tips? How do you manage your finances? Have your methods changed or remained the same over the years? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below!
When my fiancee, Matt, and I got engaged, I had an idea of what went into planning a party, although not to the extent of a wedding. Matt on the other hand didnâ€™t know what to do first. Our wedding planning thus far has not been stressful, but that’s because I have awesome organizational skills.
Matt and I have had some disagreements and conversations where weâ€™ve both had to compromise, but itâ€™s really been an exciting time for us, except for one major event that we could have never expected. Mattâ€™s grandma was admitted into the hospital because of a fall she had never fully recovered from. When she was younger, she also had Hepatitis C but it wasnâ€™t diagnosed because no one knew what it was. Her illness was now catching up to her; her liver was struggling to survive.
Matt isnâ€™t a fan of hospitals, so I would go visit with his grandma with his sister. When the family talked about possibly moving her into hospice care, I urged Matt to go see her before her condition worsened. One Sunday, we went to visit â€śNonnieâ€ť (grandma in Italian). When we walked into the room, Matt said, â€śHi, Nonnie. Itâ€™s Matty.â€ť Her face lit up with a smile and she sobbed. It was one the most amazing moments to see and I felt like she was at peace.
With the family dealing with Nonnie’s death, wedding planning was essentially on hold. Nothing urgently had to get done so I was comfortable just being with the family. But eventually, I had to get back to planning, but I still wanted to be respectful. I had planned to send out the save-the-dates after the holidays. To do so, we needed a somewhat finalized guest list. I didnâ€™t know how to put a list in front of my future mother-in-law and say, â€śI know you just worked a full day, then spent three hours at the hospital, then came home and cooked, but can you cut five more people from your invites?â€ť Matt is not very tactful when it comes to situations like this, but this time that was a good thing. He just said, â€śMa, hereâ€™s the list. Pick who you want to send save-the-dates to. We need it for this weekend.â€ť
Traditionally, the brideâ€™s family pays for the wedding. We are not traditional, nor does my family own stock in Microsoft. So there had to be compromise on the money front. We decided to split up items instead of just splitting the whole wedding 50/50. But with Mattâ€™s family offering to pay for a large portion of the wedding, it added another dynamic to the planning. I didnâ€™t want to push to set up an appointment at the florist if they were paying for it and werenâ€™t ready to start planning again. Matt was a great facilitator in helping to get the planning back on track, and about three weeks after Nonnie passed, we set out for the remainder of the items we needed for the wedding.
Matt is not very emotional so it was hard to know how to comfort him while his grandma was in the hospital. He’s the one who keeps everyoneâ€™s spirits up, so you almost donâ€™t have a chance to ask how heâ€™s doing. Matt and I are getting married in a Catholic church. In order to so so, we’ve been going through Pre-Cana, or group pre-marital counseling. At each class, we have work book exercises to complete, and at our first class, Matt listed a trait of mine as: Strong when Nonnie was in the hospital. Something as small as that let me know that while he was grieving, he did need me there, but he just didnâ€™t wear his emotions on his sleeve.
Recently, my mom said to me, â€śYou know Les, now there arenâ€™t going to be any Italian grandparents at the wedding.â€ť My momâ€™s Italian parents have both passed — her mom when I was only 6, and her father when I was 21, but at least he got to see me graduate college, which meant the world to me. Mattâ€™s Italian grandfather, Poppie, passed away about 10 years ago â€“ everyone says Matt is exactly like him. All four grandparents brought such life experience from their Italian heritage to their families. We are lucky to have had all of them influence our lives in such major ways and I know that Matt and I will continue to pass down everything they taught us when we have children of our own.
With loving memory
Olga Gelsomino 1923-2011
One of the many exciting events both the bride and the groom have to look forward to during the lead up to their wedding is the bachelor or bachelorette party. Traditionally, itâ€™s the night before the wedding and you part ways from each other to celebrate your last night as a single person with your friends.
Well, it looks like Iâ€™m far from traditional.
When Ron and I got engaged, we both agreed that it would NOT be a good idea to have our bachelor and bachelorette parties the night before our wedding. We both love to party, but the party that we knew our friends would throw us would definitely require a long rest the day after. I wasnâ€™t interested in looking puffy-eyed and Ron didnâ€™t want to look hung over in our wedding photos!
My bachelorette party was held in Atlantic City at the Trump Taj Mahal. My sister (the maid of honor) was the host, and she booked an amazing suite for the nine of us to pregame and spend the night.Â Ronâ€™s party was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., hosted by his best friend and best man, along with his childhood friends (or his â€śboysâ€ť as he calls them).
Bride-to-be, Mysba (right) with her sister and maid of honor, Maiya
Weâ€™ve already talked previously about how I am a control freak, and not knowing the details of my party threw me. Would I be dressed appropriately? What kind of shoes should I wear? How were we going to get there and back? Where were we even going?
Since neither Ron or I knew the details of the parties, we discussed some ground rules for each other before we parted ways. Hereâ€™s what we decided:
1. No drinking and driving
2. We are to call when we get to our location and when weâ€™re on the way home.
That was it!
Remaining faithful to our relationship goes without saying, and itâ€™s not something that either one of us was concerned about. And thatâ€™s because we trust AND respect each other. I know that heâ€™s coming home to me and Iâ€™m coming home to him and nothing is worth ruining the time and effort that weâ€™ve put into building our relationship.
So we didnâ€™t place any restrictions like no strippers, no short skirts (that oneâ€™s for me) and calling each other constantly to check in. Instead we sat down and communicated what we needed from each other in order to feel comfortable with whatever surprises were waiting for us.
It helped knowing the people Ron was with were his best friends and wouldnâ€™t let anything bad happen to him. Ron also knew that I was with my girls who would walk through fire for me. Iâ€™m not going to bore you and say that relationships are all about communicating, but I will say that itâ€™s true! No matter what type of relationship youâ€™re talking about, if you canâ€™t communicate what you want and need, itâ€™s not going to work out.
Mysba with her “Bachelorette Entourage” from left: Maiya, Angie and Naimah
Talk to your partner when you hear whispers about what your friends have in store for you. What do they need to know to be comfortable with you going out? Find that out and then give it to them. You wonâ€™t have fun if your partner is worried about what youâ€™re doing the whole time, or if you get the stink eye when you come home! (You know the stink eye, the dirtiest of dirty looks).
In the end both Ron and I had a blast at our parties. Celebrating with our family and friends are memories that weâ€™ll both have for a lifetime. And when we rejoined each other, we couldnâ€™t wait to share the stories of where we partied, what craziness we saw and the random shenanigans that went on.
Last week was just one of those weeks. Between the late nights at work and a handful of lunches out that kept us full well past the normal dinnertime, neither Jared nor I felt much like turning on the oven. As a result, we ate cereal for dinner not once but twice last week. Yep. Twice.
Now before you worry that Iâ€™ve lost my marbles, I should probably say Iâ€™m not promoting cereal consumption as an every-weeknight affair (though my college-age persona sustained itself quite nicely on a twice daily diet of Cheerios). I do, however, find it refreshing to break out of the old cooking rut every once in a while, bend the rules a bit and realize that, as bona fide grown-ups, it is entirely within our power to have breakfast for dinner if we so choose â€” even if said breakfast contains little more than a bowl of cereal and milk.
When I was growing up, the sporadic breakfast for dinner was a much-loved meal in our house. My mom did it up right, with pancakes or waffles, bacon or sausage, eggs, fruit. On those nights, my brother and I would go to bed, hearts happy and tummies satisfied. Iâ€™m pretty sure it was the novelty that made the whole idea feel so special.
Below youâ€™ll find three of our favorite breakfast-for-dinner dishes. Each is sweet (as a rebellious dinner should be) and promises to satisfy the craving you didnâ€™t even know you were having.
Adapted from sweet enough, on food52.com
(Photo: Katrina Tauchen)
â€˘ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
â€˘ 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
â€˘ 4 teaspoons baking powder
â€˘ 1 teaspoon salt
â€˘ 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
â€˘ 2 eggs
â€˘ 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
â€˘ 1 3/4 cup milk
â€˘ 3 tablespoons melted butter (plus more for the pan)
â€˘ 2 to 3 tablespoons chocolate chips
â€˘ powdered sugar
Sift flour, baking powder, salt an sugar in a bowl, and set aside. Blend eggs, vanilla and milk with an electric mixer (or whisk by hand) on high speed until liquid appears frothy. Add dry mixture, and mix and lowest speed until large lumps disappear. Gently blend in 3 tablespoons melted butter.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When pan is hot, ladle pancakes into pan (as many as you can fit without overcrowding). [Note: You can also do this on a griddle; same rules apply.] Sprinkle a few chocolate chips in each pancake. When bubbles begin to form and the edges start to harden, flip pancakes over, and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Serve with butter and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
(Photo: Katrina Tauchen)
â€˘ 1 1/2 cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancake Mix
â€˘ 1 cup milk
â€˘ 1 egg
â€˘ 3 tablespoons canola oil
â€˘ 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat waffle iron (spray with a bit cooking spray beforehand if youâ€™re worried about stickage). Mix all ingredients together until batter is smooth. Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter (depending on iron size) into waffle iron, and bake until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Serve with butter and powdered sugar or maple syrup.
From Mark Bittman, NYTimes.com
(Photo: Katrina Tauchen)
â€˘ 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or cake flour, as Bittman recommends)
â€˘ 1/2 teaspoon salt
â€˘ 2 teaspoons baking powder
â€˘ 3 tablespoons sugar
â€˘ 5 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into pieces
â€˘ 1 egg
â€˘ 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus a smidge for brushing on tops of scones
In a food processor (or standing mixer or by hand), combine flour, salt, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Add butter, and pulse until it resembles cornmeal-looking mixture.
Add egg and just enough cream to form slightly sticky dough. Dough should stick to your hands a little; add more flour or cream as needed. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and kneed a few times to combine. Press into a 3/4-inch circle, and cut 1 1/2 to 2-inch rounds.
Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet. Reshape leftover dough, and cut again. Brush the tops of each scone with cream, and sprinkle remaining sugar on tops.
Bake in 450-degree oven until scones are golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes.
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