My wife, in a fit of stress and anger, decided around New Year's to hand over the responsibility for paying bills and maintaining the checking account registry. The constant juggling and worry finally wore her down, after ten long years.
Good thing, in a way.
I have learned more about our financial struggles in the past month than in the past decade by becoming intimately aware of how difficult paying our bills can really be. We earn median incomes, which in this day and age, is no longer enough to get by on the simplest of lifestyles. Especially not with two children.
Like many people, we budget, but not very well. In the past year, however, we have paid off credit card debt and dialed in our spending patterns. Unfortunately, it hasn't been enough.
My most recent calculations show we spend $55.74 more per month than we take in, even after a series of cuts. As a result, we can't save any money. The most recent expenditures identified for the chopping block include an online video rental membership costing us $10.76 per month. We're chipping away...
The biggest benefit of taking over the finances has been an improved sense of discipline. I see the money every day now, so the restraint comes more naturally. I highly recommend swapping duties like this every once in a while if you're married. It's a real eye opener.