John and I are celebrating our four year wedding anniversary next week! In addition, my little sister is getting married a few days after our four year anniversary. In celebration of her new marriage and our upcoming anniversary, I thought I’d share my financial tips for newlyweds.
CNN recently reported that more than three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck (survey done by Bankrate). I’ll admit – we live paycheck to paycheck, but it’s not because we’re broke. We save every month, have a huge cushion and are working towards having a solid down payment on a house.
What’s surprising, though, is that 50 percent of those surveyed have less than three months of living expenses saved up and 27 percent don’t have any savings at all. What were to happen if one of these people were to lose a job? This is one of the huge reasons why I recommend freelancing, no matter what industry you work in (if you want to read more on that, check out my latest post on become a freelance writer!).
There’s much debate over whether or not money can buy happiness. The Wall Street Journal recently posted a rather interesting article on this very topic. The study found that as incomes rise, happiness and overall satisfaction with life increase. In fact, 100% of those making over $500K a year consider themselves “very happy” and “very satisfied” with life.
A previous study by Princeton University found that happiness did not increase much once annual household income reached $75,000. So if you’re making $75,000 now and you get a raise or pick up a side job and increase your income to $125,000, don’t expect to feel that much happier.
I get that. Our household income will probably be right around $75K this year. If we both do well with our businesses and our income hits $100K, I really don’t see us being that much happier than we already are. But, I do still believe that money can buy happiness and here’s why:
I’m a saver by nature and I’ve mentioned that before on the blog multiple times. I’m rarely tempted by material items and love when I can put my entire check straight into savings. But lately, I’ve been wondering where to draw the line. The rental house we live in is still pretty unfurnished, we need patio furniture and I’m due for an upgrade on my computer. But…none of these are necessities which is why I have a hard time justifying the expense.
“Next month if we make XX dollars, then we’ll buy a patio set.” “Once we have XX in savings, I’ll feel more comfortable splurging on furniture.” But the problem for me is when we DO make good money one month or we DO hit our savings goals, I still don’t feel justified spending a lot of money.
Hello! Sorry for the absence – I’ve been vacationing in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida 😉 My mom was there visiting her parents and sisters, so we decided to drive down too and hang out with everyone for a few days! It was w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l! I got to see my grandparents, my four aunts and some of my cousins. It was a great trip and I’m sad it had to come to an end.
Since moving into a larger home, I have been worried about what our utilities were going to be. Well, after receiving our gas bill last week and our electric bill over the weekend, it’s safe to say we will be cutting back immensely this month.
Our gas bill was $167, our electric bill was $196 and our water bill was $48.
Let’s break it down…
January was a cold month here in NC, especially for us considering we are from AZ. We decided to put our thermostat at 70 degrees and adjust as needed depending on that first bill. This may surprise some of you, but I’m actually OK with the $167 gas bill. John and I decided if it was more than $200, we would turn it down but since it’s $167, we’re keeping it at 70 degrees. I know I’m a wimp…but I’m FREEZING even though to most people 70 is probably warm. I definitely plan on lowering the thermostat next winter once we’ve adjusted a bit to the colder climate. In comparison, our electric bill in AZ over the summer months was $250-$300 keeping it 80-81 degrees in a 1700 sq ft house. It’s all relative…
John and I have been fans of day trips since we started dating, but our love of them has only accelerated since having kids. But isn’t it hard having kids in the car for that long? Um, nope! Sure, they scream at times and I may or may not have spent an hour massaging my one-year-old’s feet yesterday on our trip to Myrtle Beach, but they are contained and they are usually content. This gives John and I a chance to chat, listen to music and enjoy the open road! To us, life is all about experiencing as much as we can and we feel our best when we’re on the road. Who knows, maybe one day this will lead to a cross-country adventure in an RV 🙂
Groceries, food, restaurants, coffee and the like used to be where a good portion of John and I’s income went. In October, we added up our “miscellaneous” expenses – expecting them to be around $1500 or less – and we’re shocked (and disgusted) to discover we spent roughly $2,100. Thank goodness we made good money that month, but still, $2,100 is not a necessary amount of money to spend on food and household items!!
So for November (and all months moving forward), we decided to make some changes.Continue Reading
As I mentioned in a previous post, we are going to be moving into a rental home (that we really, really love) in less than a week! To say I’m excited would be an understatement. As much as I hate to complain, living in this apartment has been tough. Our furniture is way too big for the space, the layout isn’t open and there are no windows except for in the bedrooms. While it’s cozy, I sort of feel cut off from the rest of the world when I’m in here. I can’t wait to open up the blinds in our new home, give the girls and our dogs space to run around in, have a microwave (a small luxury I’ve missed), grill outside on our deck and just feel “settled.” I’ve loved living in North Carolina and while it already feels like home, I know living in a house will make it feel even more like home.
That being said, moving can be expensive. While this is nothing compared to when we moved across the country, I still want to save as much money as possible during this move.