In which I outline the changes that I’ve already had to make to our joint finances money management system (#23) and detail our plans for gifts and windfalls.
I think one of the most helpful things that I do to help us manage our joint finances is keeping a joint finances spreadsheet on google. I mentioned this spreadsheet before, particularly during my last list. I set up the spreadsheet so that all the math formulas are plugged in. That way we can just update our paycheck number, and it will automatically adjust the amounts of our savings allocations. I just have to go into the automatic transfers in ING and update the amounts to match the new amounts on the spreadsheet.
I’ve already had to do this to adjust the new plan I created earlier this month. It turns out that hubs’ paycheck was still settling, and the amount has shifted slightly. (Looks like another health insurance premium was taken out this time.) The spreadsheet allowed me to make those changes easily, without having to remind myself how we’d organized the money.
When I last wrote about our plans, I skipped over a small component — gift money and windfalls. I’m counting any type of extra income from our jobs as a windfall — bonuses, the difference between the gas I use to travel to work and the amount they give me per mile, that sort of thing. We are going to be hoarding those rare additions to our monthly income like it is going out of style. And I know we can do it because we’ve had practice, and are now reaping the benefits. After our wedding, we completed our set of china and bought a very few things off our registry. We saved the rest of our money specifically for furniture. Now we are able to buy solid furniture without feeling the pinch of the expense. After all, it was all “free” gift money in the first place.
So, starting with the money we received as Christmas presents last year, we are putting away gift money towards a big, overseas vacation. And, starting with a bonus I got this week, I’ll be putting all my “extra” work money into the fund that I hope will allow me to stay home with kids in the future.
I’m sure that we’ll make exceptions to these rules, but I really like the idea of using that gift money for something large and exciting. On the other hand, hoarding what little extra income I can from my current job will certainly help us when we are considering dropping my salary down the road.
Having a plan allows us to save for specific fun things because we know we’re laying enough money by to cover any unexpected expenses barring major health or job trouble. I love that with an afternoon or two of work, we’re able to live without constantly thinking of money.