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Our First Money Chat as a Couple

money talk as couple

Last week my husband joined me on the podcast to be ‘interviewed’ about our first time we sat down and talked about money. It’s been eight years since we were engaged and began sharing our finances with one another and so much has changed since then.

As you may expect, having to be completely open to someone about how you spend your money was eye-opening and nerve wrecking. I’m happy to say, though, that we both came in with the mind set of being honest and starting on the same page.

What We Got Right with Our Money Chat

We set up an evening where we could talk about our finances in a relaxed setting.  While neither one of us recall the exact words, but we do remember the topics. We talked about what goals we had for the next year or so, we shared our assets and debts, and we talked about our plans to get to our goals based on our current situation.

Smooth sailing, right?

Not quite. It was then I discovered that while I had credit card debt, a car loan, and a student loan my fiancé had no debt. Okay, he had one semester’s worth of a student loan, but he was paying it off in he next few weeks. It was an eye opener for the both of us.

I felt weird being the one carrying the debt, but my husband took it in stride. He felt that we could work through this together.

We started merging our finances by opening a joint savings account. All wedding gifts and our contributions would get deposited into the account. We were using that for the deposit on our first apartment and for general savings.

How We Could’ve Done Better

Honestly I could’ve been better prepared for the chat, by having the individual and total amounts of my debts. I think that not having the numbers in front of me was a reflection of how messy my finances were.

The good news is that hearing how he had no credit card debt motivated me to make a goal of getting rid of mine before the wedding. The crazy things is that I started blogging about personal finance to keep myself accountable and fell in love with learning more and chatting with others. So I guess our money chat had an even bigger impact than I thought!

Lessons Learned from Our Money Talk

As you can see, we did not get everything right the first time. The big plus, though, was that we were upfront with one another and that established trust between us. He knew that I would be upfront about my finances even when it was bad and I felt safe (for a lack of a better word) knowing that he was willing to work with me on improving things.

That’s our story, I’d love to hear about your first money chat. When did you have it? How did it go and what have you’ve learned from it?

Photo Credit: Derek Σωκράτης Finch

Catch the Couple Money Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher!

subscribe couple money itunes

Yesterday, I got some great news during lunch – Couple Money Podcast is now available on iTunes and Stitcher!  Having the show up makes it easier to subscribe and stay up to date on the latest episodes. You can find it by searching for our name or checking us out in either the investing or family sections.

  • Subscribe on iTunes: Simply click on this link and you’ll be taken to Couple Money’s page where you can subscribe.
  • Subscribe on Stitcher: Please click here so you can catch all episodes.

Love to Have Your Support

If you reading this and enjoyed the podcast, could you please take a minute share this with your friend or leave a review and rating? Every bit counts and I would love to have your support.

Besides helping others to find the podcast, it’ll give me an idea what you like to see more of on the show.  I will read every review to make sure that the podcast gives you the best personal finance tips that fits your needs.

Show Notes and More

With every episode and Q&A sessions, I post up show notes so you can find the right tools to help you build your finances. I love sharing what has worked and hasn’t worked for us. Since each couple is different I usually will mention a few resources so you two can build a financial system, that fits your style.

I also give some behind the scenes tidbits about running a podcast. It’s a different experience from blogging, that’s for sure!

What’s on Your Mind?

Please feel free to reach out me on email with any topics you’d like to have discussed on the podcast. Hearing from you has made this podcast better. I’ve adjusted the show and site to provide you with more useful materials. It’s my goal to make this podcast both motivating and practical for couples looking to building their marriage and finances.

Right now here’s what we have in the works for the next few episodes:

  • Paying Cash for Your Child’s College Expenses
  • Life After Debt: Building Up Your Net Worth
  • Creating Your First Joint Budget

My favorite part of creating each episode is the interviews. Everyone of these topic has a story where someone has succeeded (times after failing). If there is someone you think would be perfect for the show, let me know or better yet, tell them about the show.

Thanks again for your support as I was making these initial episodes and I hope you subscribe!

Photo Credit: francois

How to Budget for Your Baby

couple money baby girl

Even though it’s still a few months away, we’re counting down the arrival of our second daughter this winter. Having gone through this a few years ago, we’re not as stressed with getting ready. Becoming parents has been a wonderfully big change in our lives and we’re eager to see what will happen next as we become a family of four.

Speaking of finances and family, I’m excited to mention that Daily Finance interviewed us for their new Lifestage Lesson series about how we prepared for our first baby and what we’ve learned for our next one. The team spent the day at home and getting a close-up view of how we manage. Come check us out in the video!

elle baby fund daily finance

If you can’t see the video above, here’s the direct link

Why Have a Baby Fund?

What expenses can you expect? Every family is different, but here are some bills we’re expecting for our upcoming arrival:

  • Hospital Bills: Our insurance changed with this next child, so we will be having a higher hospital bill. :( The good news is that our OB appointments are cheaper this time around, so we aren’t feeling too squeezed.
  • Baby Gear: Though we plan on having all the essential ready, we want to have some buffer in case we’re misisng anything (every baby is different).
  • No Work for a Month: Based on the last time around, I’m estimating that I’ll be away from work for about a month.

There’s no way we can anticipate every expense, but we have some peace of mind knowing that we have a system in place.

Tips on How to Save for Your Baby

You can get more details in the video, but I just want to highlight some tips to help you get ready for the arrival of your little one.

  • Start an Automated Savings Plan: For us automated savings is a wonderful solution to not only keep us on track for our goals, but it saves us time. We’re using Capital One 360 to build our fund.
  • Let Your Network  of Family and Friends Help: It does take a village to raise a child, so welcome help  whenever you can. We were grateful when loved ones offered their talents and helped us get ready for our little one. Several friends contributed to preparing the nursery including painting, decorating, and even giving handmade art pieces.
  • Examine Your Work Situation: Childcare can be a huge expense, so sit down before the little one arrives to see what would be best for you and your family. Being self employed we had to look at whether I could finish my work while having her with me.

Thoughts on Savings for a Baby

Whether or not you start a baby fund separate from other savings, the important take away is having savings can help you with this big transition. You can focus on your bundle of joy instead of sweating over the finances.

Alternatives to Cable TV: Roku 3

couple money roku 3 review

If you’re looking for a way to still have some entertainment options, but don’t want to go the cable or satellite tv route, you may want to try out the Roku 3.

We cut our cable subscription I think last year when the price rose and we weren’t getting much out of it. Besides not being big TV watchers, we also don’t like having to keep up with a certain schedule for shows. We’d rather watch on our time.

We are fans of streaming services as the prices seemed more reasonable and we could watch shows whenever we were in the mood to catch them. After hearing some good reviews about the Roku 3 and the some of the free connect included, we bought one.

Roku’s Content Versus Cable TV

What appealed to me about Roku is that there is no monthly fee for the basic service. You buy a unit and out of the box your Roku comes with a lot of free channels and content.

One of my favorites is PBS. I’m enjoying watching the Roosevelt documentary series on my own schedule, which is an necessity with an active toddler.

Looking for more options, simply go to the channel store and only add the ones you want.

Potential Additional Costs

Even though there is plenty of free content to enjoy with Roku if you’re looking for something comparable to having a cable or satellite plan, you’ll probably need to pay for streaming services like Netflix, HuluPlus, or Amazon.

We’ve used Netflix for a few years now and have enjoyed it. They have a huge selection of tv shows and movies as well as some of their own original content like House of Cards. Currently streaming is available for $8.99/month and an additional $7.99 if you want to receive a single DVD at a time from their vast library.

When we set up our Roku, we were offered a two month trial to HuluPlus, which we are using right now. With the Plus, members can get subscription service with the full current season of many TV shows, access to to content on their electronics such as computers, iPod Touch, and TV. Hulu offers less ads for their shows, but they are still included with a paid subscription.

Amazon Instant will stream TV shows and movies as well. It’s included with out Prime membership, so it’s wonderful to have more options on the Roku. If you’re not a Prime member, you buy or rent a la carte, which can be pricy if you tend to watch a lot of shows.

There are also specialty sports channels, with some of them requiring a fee  (~$1.99- $3.99/month) to access live games.

Thoughts on Roku 3

For us, we keep mostly to the free channels and just added our current streaming subscriptions to roku and it’s perfect for us. We can catch the shows we enjoy and the cost is cheaper than our previous cable bill.

I’d love to hear from those who have used the Roku for awhile. What do you think of it? What channels do you recommend? Are there any features that you just love?

Versatile Blogger Award

getting to know elle couple money

I hope everyone is had a wonderful weekend. We went out of town and it feels good to be back home. On top of the fun we had this afternoon, I discovered that I’ve been nominated by Deb from DebtDebs for the Versatile Blogger Award. After reading Deb’s, I decided to go ahead and do it. For those who don’t know about the Versatile Blogger Awards, it’s a fun meme where you get to know more about bloggers. The rules are:

  • Tell 7 things about yourself (Debs asked me to give some tidbits about pregnancy and parenting).
  • Nominate 15 bloggers

Here are my 7 details:

  1. During my first pregnancy I had no food aversions (though I had bad morning sickness for the first 14 weeks). This time around I spent about a month avoiding meat, coffee, and ginger. Coffee has become a treat, I eat less meat, but ginger is pretty much off limits.
  2. Now that I’m a parent, I’m catching up on some of the kid shows on Netflix and have discovered remakes of my favorite shows growing up like Strawberry Shortcake, Ninja Turtles, and My Little Pony. It feels so weird so I skipped out on most of them.
  3. First baby was a summer one and she was born during a heatwave. This time around we planned a winter baby.
  4. No cravings with either pregnancy. Perhaps I should pretend so I can get some more cakes and pies :)
  5. We like to have fun and play around as parents, sometimes with unexpected consequences. Thanks to a joke from her daddy, whenever we pass a large patch of shadow she points at it and says ‘Batman is in the shadows’. My husband think it’s awesome.
  6. Speaking of superheroes, my daughter likes to mash up her dress up. Two of favorites of mine are ‘Batman Princess’ and ‘Dancing Ninja’.
  7. I exercise with my little girl by playing Just Dance. If it were up to her we would dance to the same 3 songs, but as her mom, I have her try at least a few new ones.

Here’s my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award:

For those nominated, share whatever you like.Take care and I’ll get back to financial posts this week!