Friday, May 20, 2011

More Income, Less Money

Friday, May 20, 2011
Bo and I have been having a bit of a rough time recently. We just can't seem to meet our financial needs and wants lately and a bit perplexed on how that is and how we can better arrange our finances. I think this weekend we're going to sit down and actually pull up an excel worksheet and do proper budgeting.

I tell my friends from my experiences it seems once you get married, your income increases (combined) but then it just seems you never have any money! I make a pretty decent income from my job and Bo makes twice what I make as salary. I've had my job for a few years and I was even making less when I lived alone. However as a single lady, I ALWAYS had more than enough. I travelled all across Europe and Canada and North America and Africa, and ate wherever as often as I wanted and I was quite content. Same with Bo, so how come now that we're married it just seems increasingly difficult trying to save. It's easy to say rent is the culprit but honestly from calculating it this morning when I sat in bed, our rent is not even up to one third of our combined salaries! So where is it all going?!!! I'm so perplexed.

If I were to guess I'd say we travel a lot and we do eat out occasionally as a treat. Perhaps the eating out all adds up? Traveling has been one of those things that's just a bit more complicated now. Before if I wanted to travel just saved X amount and went about my business. At the very least I'd bum off of some friends or family and would only have to worry about my flight. Now, now...first we have to double the plane ticket fees, which is a lot more effort than individually just trying to save up for a trip, then we probably have to find a hotel or B&B to stay at, and then of course, when there's two, you'd of course want to sight see and do more tourist-y things because, well, because now you have a partner. So off you go to wherever and all the while, the bill is racking up! Traveling just seems to cost a LOT more as a couple. We've already taken three leisure trips out of the country this year, a really big one is coming up as one of Bo's best friends from college is getting married in Napa (this trip costs us N800,000 in flights alone!), and we usually take a New Year's trip as well. Whew! And this is not counting some little trips we hope to go on in between: Calabar, Benin Republic. Even as I type I know we're going to have to really budget before adding any other trips. Just a few hours ago, I sent a text to Bo saying, "I'd really love to go to Turkey summer next year" and he responds, "Let's Do It!" See, this is the kind of thinking that gets us into trouble!

Apart from that we're currently experiencing some challenging times in terms of professional work and it's really interesting trying to hold everything together. I've read too many times that financial worry is the number one cause of divorce so I always try and sure that no matter what we're fighting on the same side. Yesterday Bo came back from work a little beaten down mentally and I had to really really encourage him using biblical references etc. Even this morning he was just tossing and turning in bed with worry. Men are amazing creatures, they really do get caught up in being 'the provider'. It's really important to them! Sometimes when other women talk about how much we sacrifice in a marriage I always make sure to point out that men go through very tough times as a result of being married as well. It's like they just naturally carry everything, everyone's worries, and place it firmly on their shoulders. It can't be easy. I think we're doing fine and I assure him of this all the time but he still feels this strong need to give me "the life of my dreams" as he says. There's no matter what a woman will say I think a man would still feel this way. A friend of mine who's been married for over 6 years put it this way to me, "It's not easy to bear that name husband."

Comments: I really appreciate the comments on my last post. One or two people said they thought we were basically planners on crack, lol. This is entirely possible I have to admit. I even discussed it with Bo and asked how he felt about that. I think bottom-line is, and I've mentioned on this blog before, I think we both actually are not terribly baby-crazy people so we approach having and raising children from a more pragmatic rather than an emotional point of view. Rather than just thinking we should have babies now, we're thinking "what kind of life do we want to create for our kids?" "What kind of environment do we want them to grow up in" Which may or may not be good approach but we're both are very much on the same page and I'm confident we will do what we think is best for us, and as always prayerfully consider what we think are the options in front of us.

Secondly, I'm amazed that it seems many people don't plan their families! I'm actually becoming more and more shocked about this. I'm not saying that is a bad thing but it just never occured to me that we wouldn't plan our families as best as we could! Once those babies come, they kind of have a way of controlling everything, at least for the first few years, surely, it's best to lay some plans and agree on the framework before building? Am I alone here? As an analogy and only an analogy, if you were building a house, you don't just say, right, I want a house, I've found the spot, "pour on the cement baby!" First, you draw up a blueprint, have it tweaked and approved by the team who would build the house to make sure it's structurally feasible, build a foundation, and so on, before you start. Because once they start pouring on the cement, it gets harder AND costlier, to say to everyone on the build site, "WAIT A MINUTE!" :-)

Lastly, I'm still looking for the blog I mentioned at the bottom of the last post. Please if anyone can help direct me to it, I'd be mighty grateful.


Nylse said...

Re: planning families - I never planned how many children I would have. What we did plan was big picture things - we are christians, so they would go to church and be raised so that at some point they would know who Jesus is (the foundation). All the other stuff is somewhat secondary - for ex. we want our children to go to good schools - but who knows what will happen with jobs, or health, etc. My planning involves wanting good things for my children - but the execution required faith and was often up to God. And it worked. So maybe planning is the wrong word - maybe its more desires of the heart.
PS - I hope you find the blog as i plan to write on this when i reach prov 31. it'd be great for comparison.

Blessing said...

Now I see why couples struggle with all makes you said with traveling and eating's all double now! Wow...I pray that God gives you the wisdom to manage your finances properly...

I took a course a few years ago that changed my life...I'm still haven't mastered budgeting but the class was a TREMENDOUS help!!!

Check out: and click on tools...the have different resources that can be helpful...budgeting forms, etc

Good luck Kemi!

Ginger said...

Followed a link from Lady Ngo here. I must say I love the way you love :). There's this peace that shines through your writing about your relationship with Bo. May he keep it bright and burning. Will definitely be coming back.

p.s. I must say I've just learnt something new about finances in marriage. I always thought it will be easier. now I see..not necessarily. God's blessings in all your plan.

kitkat said...

Yaay! new follower here :)
Awww i think it's mighty sweet that he tries to always provide for u and fulfil your wishes. Like u jst sent him a text saying u want to spend nxt summer in turkey and he immediately agreed!
As long as u plan before goin on trips, u'll be fine! :) ..if money is becoming a bit tight, u might want to cut back on the trips, or on the fancy meals :p

Faith said...

i agree with you! we are def. planning when we build our families! i can't imagine not doing any planning at all ... of course, i am sure not everything will go as planned but at least i won't be too surprised about anything!

nothing wrong with that at all! :)

Kemi said...

@nylse thanks for sharing! I'll let you know when I find the blog. Thanks for stopping by and please do comment more often :-)

@Blessing, I'm heading to the website right now! We need to put actual figures down instead of just calculating in our heads. Thanks.

Kemi said...

@Ginger, aww, thanks for your kind words. Amen to everything. I look forward to you coming back :-)

@kitkat, welcome! we both like to travel that's why, so obviously we both need to curb that a bit so we don't go broke at it! :-) Thanks for following.

@Faith, that's exactly how I feel! Not everything will go as planned of course, that's how life is. But I still think it's good to think through things like education, especially since we're both agreed on wanting our kids to go to boarding schools abroad. As Bo & I say, if they don't go it won't be for wont of us trying!

Nylse said...

I wish there was a way I could contact you...I referenced you on my blog today. (feel free to delete this comment once read)

NakedSha said...

Ghost reader - first (or so) comment. All t
he best. :)

@ilola said...

Uhhhmmm... Financial planning is key ooo. We can't just do everything we desire to do, or else, the money will never ever be enough.
I think monthly budget is the way forward, then you can take a lil of your savings for the flenjours, but not all sha.

lamikayty said...

I've heard that when you journal all your expenses for a month or so then you'll know where to plug the drain. Never done it as I don't think I can but I've read it can be a real surprise to realise the reason for the cash drain is something other than what you thought. All the best!

Talitha Koum said...

I believe this is the post you are looking for...its actually a 3-part blog about the 1 Tim 3 Man.
Hope it helps :-)

Anoda Phase said...

I agree with you about planning one's family re what kind of environment you bring children into and what kind of life you can give them...and yes, a couple's expenses certainly escalate once they are married, and it takes a lot of financial management and good planning to get things right...Prayer helps sure has helped us.

Adenike said...

Hmmmmmm thought I'd already commented but anyway...

This particular post has actually inspired me to book a holiday and later on this year I shall be visiting Rome...actually I'm still deciding between Prague and Rome. A group of us will be going to Morocco early next year so pretty excited about that. I just thought to myself "hey might as well make the most of this free time whilst it lasts", even though singleness can feel like a drag sometimes especially reading about how loved up you and Bolagi are :) I've never been abroad before, its pretty ironic how my first trip out of the UK will be someplace other than Nigeria. Yup British-Nigerian and have NEVER been to the motherland!!!
For me I don't think babies will be too far off once I do get married but even then I do believe in planning. They say children are a blessing but I personally believe that if you can't afford children, refrain from having them. It just frustrates and irritates the hell outta me when I see parents with a brood of kids struggling to feed and provide the basic necessities for them. Here in the UK, you get all these people having tons of kids barely able to take care of themselves. Rather than working to provide for their families they'll rather live off other people's hard earned money in the name of benefits expecting the government to take care of their kids for them. If you can't take care of your kids, don't have them. I understand that unforeseen circumstances may arise later on in life such as illness, financial difficulties etc but when people are not in a position to bring up kids and they knowingly have them, to me thats just irresponsible and selfish.

Adenike said...

Might I also add that I like your approach to planning. It does heelp to lay down a few ground rules beforehand. For example it's already been decided by myself that my kids will not be allowed to buy magazines or watch music video's (reason being is their simply toxic, my own experiences have thought me that)...maybe T.V already but anyway I'm praying for a man who'll have the same values and principles as myself, and stand in agreement in the way we bring up our kids. So actually I appluad you and your husband and definately encourage it.

Kemi said...

@Talitha, THANKS! That is definitely the one i was talking about. I'm so happy to have found it. Thanks.

@Anoda Phase, it is an understatement how much prayer helps. I agree completely.

@Adenike, I think your commented was posted on the last post. Oh well. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you've decided to do a bit more traveling. I think it's a good idea to get it in now if you can. Though you'll probably want to go with your honey again sometime in the future! :-)

Anonymous said...

re: finances... i still wonder where my money goes, other than rent et/al, when i look at my bank statement all i see is sainburys and anywhere else that sells food! lol I need help..


maybe you guys should compromise on maybe instead of 5 trips or however many a year, take one less trip, that will save however much it does.. especially this baby fund you know.. i am gunner for it..

i am counting down till the college fund et al is ready for the babies to pop! lol

Daughter of Her King said...

This is an insight... I actually do think the other way round that finances will not be an issue once we are married... Maybe because am budget freak.. everything I do as to be mentally calculated first(weird stuff).

All the same, I am certain you two will find a way out.. and I am sure u know that too..

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