We finished up the budget book today. Well, we won’t actually finish it until the end of October, but we’ve reached the last blank pages and covered them with numbers.
It’s fitting this should happen now, less than a week before our two year wedding anniversary. It lasted nearly two years exactly – we started writing out our budget down to the dollar in October 2006. It was something we learned during our premarital counseling, Jason is stressed out by most things financial and I tend to keep them to myself, a running tally in my head which I try to make mostly balance out with my bank account. We agreed that keeping track of where our money goes was a very wise idea, and here we are still doing it. I’ve gotten to the point where I actually look forward to don’t hate it.
Every month, somewhere between the 10th and 15th, I sit down and write out the budget for the following month, week by week. It helps that we are paid every Friday and if when Jason gets a raise, there will need to be some adjustments to being paid monthly. Every week is broken down with its respective bills, and the money we need to put aside for gas and food, plus any other gifts for birthdays and such, and then a certain amount to savings and/or to be transferred to savings for our next mortgage payment. The notebook resides by my laptop, and everything is balanced at least every other day. If we go out of town for any longer than a few days, it travels with us. Our little black book. It gives us a sense of control, helps us watch out how much we spend on movies and such, and best of all – keeps us from getting multiple overdrafts; something we’ve both had problems with while single.
I feel a bit nostalgic, getting rid of this budget book. We’ll go out to Barnes and Noble and pick another one up exactly like it, the black plastic cover and graph paper pages identical to the one that’s served us since October 2006. Anything that had anything to do with our finances has been written into it. All our bills, our debts and how they’ve shrunk, pages upon pages of information on buying your first house. A few weeks after it starts, you start seeing bills for MRI’s, doctors visits, medicines, as Jason was diagnosed with MS. Then there are the surgery copays for my gallbladder, the phone bills from Georgia and California, Birthday and Christmas budgets, gas bills for trips we’ve taken, payment on bridesmaid gowns for friends’ weddings. It’s almost a scrapbook of sorts, pictureless, but telling a most accurate story of the first two years of our communal life.