Today I wanted to talk to you about finances! I want to tell you about Josh’s and my little history with that and where we are today.
Our financial story
I mean it when I say we have a “short” history with finances. Josh and I almost had no background with managing our money before we got married. We were both 21, college students, and had mostly lived with family or on a college campus before we moved in together. We only had part-time jobs on campus and most of the money we made went to food 😛 We were never really pressed to learn much about financial planning because most of our needs were taken care of by the college and it didn’t feel like we were spending anything.
But then when we got married and moved into an apartment together, things changed pretty quickly. We all of a sudden had to pay rent, a water bill, electric, internet- you know, everything that goes along with starting a new life together. And so, we had to learn pretty quickly about tracking our income and expenses to make sure we had enough every month for our newly-acquired bills.
Being a little more financially minded, I took on the role of being our “financial manager,” if you will. However, my financial management mostly consisted of having a rough idea of what was too much to spend when we would go grocery shopping. I never actually knew or kept track of how much we were spending on a monthly basis and I didn’t have a very good idea of where our monthly finances were going. All I knew was that every month we brought in X amount of money, we spent X amount of money, and by the end of the month those amounts were pretty much the same- leaving us living from paycheck to paycheck.
Since then, living has become a bit more “intricate.” I’ve tried using different web applications or Excel documents to track our spending but it always felt complicated and I struggled with being consistent. So even with those web applications and Excel documents, I struggled to follow where our money was going and how to spend it wisely.
Recently, Josh and I have started working with SUM180 in order to get a financial plan for our family. One of the things we had to do for that was to gather up a lot of our financial information: things like our bank statements, retirement plan, and life insurance statements. In doing so, I was able to actually see how much we were spending on a monthly basis on things like groceries, electricity, even things like pet supplies and hair care. It gave me a really good idea of how much we are spending in every category. I even texted Josh at one point and said, “Did you know that we spend $650 on groceries every month?!” And we’re only a family of three… That’s kind of a lot. It’s safe to say that my eyes were opened to areas where we could cut spending and then start saving a little bit more. This is something that I think a lot of young families- including ourselves- struggle with. Saving is something we would love to start doing more!
Why financial tracking and planning is so important!
Everyone wants to make the most of their money. if you ask anyone, no one would say that they feel good about wasting money or spending more than they need to. Most of the time all that is keeping us from spending our money more wisely, is simply planning and knowledge! I had no idea that our groceries were costing upwards of $650 per month! That’s crazy!
Just knowing what our spending trends have been in the past has helped me to make decisions for spending in the future. It’s helped me to see that what I previously thought was an alright grocery bill, actually isn’t. When I know ideally how much I would like to spend on groceries every month, it helps me to budget how often I need to go shopping, and how much I’m able to spend on each visit.
SUM180 laid out our spending trends right in front of me. They showed me how much I spent compared to the national average. That we pretty cool to see. For the most part, we are pretty good about our spending in basically all other categories. They also told us how much we should have in savings compared to what we currently have. That’s something I’d like to work on a bit. SUM180 also gave us advice on planning for things in the future, like life insurance policies and about how much they should be. Not knowing much about retirement and life insurance, it was great to hear simple recommendations like that. SUM180 made understanding our finances easy and simple and made us feel way more confident about our financial future!
If you want to give SUM180 a try for free, check out their free Spending Tracker and Money Tips!
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This post has been sponsored by SUM180. I was provided with product at no charge to sample in exchange for my review. The options expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with SUM180 and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.