Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saver or spender?

My hubby and I have a long list of projects and goals we want to complete over the next 12 months and like most things in life, they’re going to cost us money and lots of it.

My way of working out a budget often involves standing in the shower or sitting on the train and roughly calculating our income and then convincing myself we’ll spend way below it, thus saving lots of money and said goals become doable. Sometimes I get there, sometimes I don’t.

My hubby is the opposite; he works best with spreadsheets and figures. All reasons as to why I chose a career in journalism and writing instead of economics or science. My brain is just not wired that way. Plus I’m a Pisces and we’re known as the creative, dreamy ones. The one contradiction here is that I am a planner and organiser. I have to know what is happening, when and how I will deal with it.

So, back to the budget, I’m the spender and optimist and hubby is the saver and realist, veering a bit too close to pessimist for my liking. Actually a small clarification, I can save when I really really want something, like my 3 month European holiday and deposit for our first house. But generally, I’m pretty good at spending.

So to avoid tension, my hubby sat down and spent a number of hours (yes hours) on our household budget for the next 12 months. He did the hard yards, calculated our incoming and most of our outgoings. Sitting down and actually working out what you spend can be a huge shock. All the little things you don’t think about that can add up to significant savings, like a bought lunch, in my case a hot chocolate every day. So my little bit of advice here is if you have the patience and the courage to sit down and work out a budget, I really recommend it. But once you do it, you really need to stick to it. Otherwise you have wasted your time.

Ok, back to our budget. The verdict: our budget is good. It’s detailed, realistic and achievable. Hopefully.

As I mentioned we have a list of projects and goals – mostly household renovations like a new kitchen, new carpet and blinds. The biggest goal for me apart from the new kitchen and carpet is an overseas holiday. I’ve been overseas four times, twice with my husband and I love it. Our last overseas trip was our honeymoon two and a bit years ago in Malaysia and I’m super keen to travel overseas again. There’s something magical about jetting off with your passport in your hand for an overseas adventure. Totally worth all the scrimping and saving.

So for me, I pretty much just wanted to know we could safely spend money on an overseas holiday. And you’ll be pleased to know, I am thrilled with the answer! Holiday planning begins...

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