At the beginning of this month, Lauren took over control of the budget. We didn’t change any of our expected expenses or change the allocation of funds to our various budget categories, but she was going to be in charge of staying on top of our finances and making sure we stayed on track. This has traditionally been my responsibility, and since I am obviously a big fan of personal finances, there hasn’t been much that Lauren needs to do. Typically, I’ll let her know if we’re spending an unusual amount in one category, or if we’re doing particularly well in another.
Lauren Dives In
On the first of the month, I gave Lauren some guidelines and gave her an opportunity to ask questions. I showed her what I typically do (check Mint.com), and how our finances are run. Nearly everything is automated, from our credit card bills to our utilities. The only thing that isn’t is our cable bill (because at some point, prices will rise and I want to be aware of it instead of paying it automatically.
Since everything runs so smoothly, there really isn’t any manual action she needed to take. But every few days, I’d ask how we were doing and if there was anything we needed to change. The only out-of-the-ordinary expense we had was paying our car insurance bill, which happens once every six months. Everything else has been stable, and Lauren let me know that we’re under budget in our food category for the month, so we’ll likely go out before the end of the month to celebrate our recent success.
I Took Over Her Duties
This month was actually a very exciting month for us, as I got a new job! It’s in the same industry, but with a company that gives me more opportunities for growth and a shorter commute (among other fantastic benefits). As a result, I had a full week off to do whatever I wanted. And as it happened, Lauren started an externship the same week, so I was in charge of everything around the house. Of course, I did make some time to have a little fun, as you can see in the picture above. But in the afternoon, I would prepare dinner and clean up the way Lauren usually does before I get home from work. It was definitely a change from my normal pace, but it wasn’t all bad.
The Lessons We Learned
I learned that Lauren is much faster at cleaning the house and making dinner. It took me forever to chop up vegetables and prepare everything, so I am glad that she has perfected the kitchen. If it were my responsibility, we likely wouldn’t eat until 9pm on a regular night. But I must say I did a great job cooking and hosting a few friends on Friday night!
Lauren got a little more experience with our finances and a better idea of what all of our commitments are and how they affect the amount we’re able to save each month. I kind of treat it as a game to see how much we can have left over, whereas Lauren needs to pay for the things we need around the house. I think as she got more experience seeing just how quickly expenses add up, that how we prioritize our spending goes a long way toward achieving our financial goals
Have you ever switched responsibilities with your spouse?