(They aren’t fun at all, and I’m a professional accountant according to the initials behind my name.)
Viewing category ‘finances’
with Angella Dykstra
I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.
Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.
Over the course of our (almost) thirteen years of marriage, my husband and I have traded the “top spot” of primary breadwinner. Until last April, I had the “coveted” spot of bringing in the higher pay check and then our roles reversed. Since then, he has been working two jobs and I’ve been working half-time hours. I’d like to find more work so that he can ease off of the labor job he’s doing, but so far we’ve been out of luck.
Over our twelve years of marriage, the pendulum has swung between my husband and I when it comes to who is the ‘major breadwinner.’ Sometimes its been me, sometimes it’s been him, sometimes we’re pretty equal. That’s where we’re at right now.
Money has been one thing that hasn’t been a stress in our relationship until recently. We both have jobs and we’re both pretty frugal, but we have felt the crunch in the current economy. There have been some moments where it … hasn’t been pretty. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when talking about money:
Let’s say that you are a working Mom (in addition to the work that goes into simply being a Mom). Let’s say that your husband is a working Dad (in addition to the work that goes into simply being a Dad). You also are in charge of things like groceries and cooking, he’s also in charge of things like keeping the garden growing and the fixing the oven/washer/dishwasher when they break.
(I do not envy him. When electronics break, I get disproportionately ANGRY.)
I am an accountant by day and a writer by night (Do i get a cape?). Because I am a numbers girl, I managed our finances from the beginning of our marriage. Budgets and spreadsheets and mortgage payments, oh my!
Then I went back to work full-time when my husband was working part-time, and I released the reins. Long work days plus an hour commute meant that I simply did not have time to stay on top of everything. He stepped up, and has been on the ball with bill payments and budgets and all of the things a non-accountant only does because he has to. (We have always talked about everything and where we’re at financially, but someone has to do all of the banking/budgeting.)
As I mentioned last week, I have a reader who is a newlywed and she has some questions. I am hoping that you guys can chime in, because I am (in no way an expert, and) not a newlywed.
How do you handle finances? This could be way worse, but it is still uncomfortable. We have enough money. Together, we do just fine. I can only imagine if we had to be careful - that time may come of course. I think the real issue for us is control. We have been controlling our own money for at least a decade (me) or closer to two (him) so giving up control of how we manage our money is tough. Again, I think that once we get it worked out, it will be easier. We are taking baby steps.
My husband and I traipsed to our bank last week to sign our mortgage renewal papers and our banker told us that at the rate we are making payments, we will be mortgage-free in eight years. EIGHT YEARS.
(Side note for my American friends: I think mortgages are done differently up here in Canuckistan than in the U.S. Our mortgage is amortized over twenty years, but the terms (Interest, etc.) are renewed every five years.)
A will is one of those things that my husband and I knew we should get but never got around to drawing up until we planned our first kid-free trip…eight years after we we were married. Not the smartest plan, I know, especially because we have kids. And, the law in the province we live in is such that if we were to both die without a will, everything goes to the youngest spouse’s family. My husband is two years younger than I am and while I love his family, I love mine too, and there are three little people we created that need to be taken care of, first and foremost.
After handing the kids of to Grandma and peeling them off of our legs wondering why they didn’t look back and wave goodbye wistfully, my husband and I made two stops: IKEA and Old Navy.
I’ve been to IKEA solo on past trips to the Coast but he and I hadn’t gone together in, oh, four years or so. There were some things that we needed (a storage unit for toys to replace the dilapidated (handmade)(by him)(twelve years ago)) dresser that we use in the family room for toys, and some things that were more in the “well it’s cheap and so why not?” category (yet another flower vase). We had a lot of fun wandering the show rooms, pointing out things we liked and (of course) mocking things we thought were ridiculous.
We hit up Old Navy next, partially to get some more spring clothes for our kids and partially to see if I could (finally) find a pair of jeans that I loved. Jeans that I liked, even. (I have large, muscular thighs. Jeans are not my friend.)
I found a pair that I didn’t HATE, and that my husband told me I needed to buy because he liked my butt in them. I also found a skirt and some tops that also got the thumbs up from by beloved.
I am not one of those ladies that likes to spend their weekends wandering through a mall. I will go shopping when I have a MISSION. My husband loves to accompany me on my missions because they are directed and have a purpose and, if he’s lucky, the sales associate will let him in the change room with me while I try on clothes.
As for me, I love to have him with me because he’s honest. If something doesn’t look quite right, he will tell me. And if something looks good on me, he will readily give me two thumbs up, an eyebrow raise and sometimes, a low whistle.
How is it in your home? Do you like to shop together?