Usually anytime I can find a free webinar, call or download about budgeting or personal finance I jump all over it. You remember how much I love reading and developing my personal money skills. I had to opportunity a few weeks ago to listen in on a teleconference call about money. It was hosted by Jen Hemphill and Amanda Abella. There was a lot of ideas that I feel J and I are already doing well, but there was one part that struck a chord with me.
Your own money story.
Everyone has a money story and by thinking it as a story is so much easier to understand. We all have stories about why we are the way we are with money, with relationships, and our jobs. Why do some spend every cent they earn (sometimes even more than they earn), why do some pinch every penny they get and other budget somewhere in the middle? It all goes back to the stories we’ve learned from our parents, from our idols and from our own life experiences.
For me, money is something that I struggle with. I like to save, save, save. However, I get hit with a bug that forces me to go shopping every once in awhile. I have to work hard to keep my shopping spurts in line and think about the bigger picture. J is steady with money. He always knows how much he has, where it needs to go and a plan for what’s left.
For us, our money stories are becoming one, single money story.
We sit down once a month to talk about our budget, bills, and plans for our money. Sitting down for our monthly budget date is not fun for me. In fact, I pretty much hate it. So there are some things that we have developed so that we can sit down in a calm environment to discuss everything.
First, create a comfortable environment. By setting up an environment that you feel relaxed in will help. You can think clearly and have minimal distractions. In this environment it’s important to turn off the TV and any other distractions.
Second, I have to eat before we talk money. I have a tendency to get grumpy if I don’t eat. With knowing that about myself, J and I make sure that we eat dinner before we talk money.
Third, knowing that it’s okay to take a break. Some months are tougher than others when we talk money. When you get frustrated you might say things that you do not really want to. At the point any frustrations starting piling up, we know that it’s okay to take a break. I will take the dogs outside to clear my head, turn on the TV for a few minutes, or just talk about something else.
Creating an environment for talking about money will help your story have a happy ending. In the end, knowing that many marriages end because of money disputes is enough to know that J and I do not want that. We are being smart and having open communication to create a successful money story.