Now that we’re hitched, and we both have an income, Les and I figured it was time to sit down and actually figure out how much money we make and how much we should spend. This is actually much more fun than you’d think–for us at least.
We’re both naturally pretty tight-fisted when it comes to recreational spending, conditioned from years of college (and then grad-school) living. Over the years, we’d reached a balance where we still ate out plenty, and spent smartly when we did, but overall didn’t buy too many toys and tried hard to buy the peanut butter when it’s on sale two for one, switch to the cheaper car insurance provider, go for the bottom-of-the-barrel airline seats, etc. We’re a match made in heaven in that we both consider food our number one luxury item, though I certainly still have an electronics itch I need to scratch from time to time. We’ve also been blessed with generosity from our families and from the government (mad props to the National Science Foundation, yo) so that we’ve somehow managed to emerge (well, I’ve almost emerged) from our extended adolescence debt-free, which I think in our generation is akin to having won the lottery.
Our goal with the budget was to eliminate guilt from our spending. Meaning, if we knew exactly what we were making, and how much we had to spend on what, we could go out and order the fancy Okinawan beer with our sushi care-free–it’s all in the budget! So, you can probably guess how we divided things up. After taking care of all of our bills and savings, we heaped giant slices of the pie into groceries and eating out. I am giddy with excitement about produce boxes, farmer’s-market beef, and plenty of trips to restaurants around Berkeley and the City. We’re food-rich!
I also want to take a moment out to plug the awesome spending-tracking website wesabe. It’s like flickr for your spending–you send it all your transactions, then tag them, and you can see how your spending adds up, compares to other people, get tips and discuss ways to save money. Plus it has this hypnotic Firefox plugin that automatically logs into your bank and downloads your transactions, so you don’t even need your banks cooperation.