Friday, February 24, 2017

8 Financial Stressors Many Couples Face and How to Overcome Them

I found these guidelines on a Military sight and most of them will apply to all married couples. 

8 Financial Stressors Many Couples Face and How to Overcome Them

Not Agreeing on How to Handle Finances

Most couples are made up of one spender and one saver. This can be great as the saver can keep the spender in check and the spender can get the saver to live a little. When a couple can’t decide together how best to handle money, financial stressors occur.
To overcome this, sit down and talk to each other. Set aside time when children are not around and there are no interruptions so that you can have a serious financial discussion. Don’t leave the table until a decision has been made.

Not Communicating

Communication is key in a healthy relationship. If you are not being honest with yourself or your spouse about spending, more financial stressors will occur.
            Do you hide shopping bags in the car until your spouse isn't home so they can't see how much shopping you've done?
Ask yourself why you feel the need to do so. Did you spend more than you should of? Are you worried they will be upset with you for this?
            Years ago I had a friend with out of control spending habits.  She took out credit cards in her husbands name and hid everything from him. She hid the mounting bills that flooded in.  This poor guy remained clueless until the sheriff came to his workplace and arrested him for fraud. She ended up in jail, divorced and lost her children over her fraud. This as an extreme that I pray no one else commits!

Not Creating a Budget 

Forget financial stressors, money-conscious couples that set budgets have less stress. Knowing how much money is coming in and going out will bring relief.
Knowing that you have enough money to pay all the bills by allocating money each month will set fears aside. As a couple, decide how much money you want to save and how much you’re comfortable spending each month.  You can find free activities to do to relieve the . stress until you have enough money to go out again.  

Putting Off Saving for Retirement

When you’re young and facing bills, saving for retirement might be the last thing on your mind. Savvy savers know that saving now for retirement can alleviate financial stressors. You can contact a financial planner, attend a saving for retirement seminar or do your own research.   A simple $10 a month no matter how poor you are is a start until you can afford to put more away.  
The sooner you start saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be when the time comes.

Not Having an Emergency Savings

It is recommended to have an emergency fund with the greater of either 2 weeks’ worth of pay or $1,000. You can use an emergency fund calculator to determine the right amount that your family should save. When an unexpected event occurs that brings in a large bill, financial stressors arise. Help lower the stress by having a plan already in place.

Taking on More Debt Than You Can Handle

You and your spouse need to be realistic on what you can afford. Keeping up with the Joneses is what gets many families into trouble.
Just because your neighbor has a new car or put in a pool does not mean that you need to do the same thing.
How many financial stressors do you need in your life?
Is trying to keep up with the social status of your neighbors or friends worth the burden?
Be realistic with your wallet. If you can’t afford the payments on a new car, maybe you don’t need such an expensive one.
Use combined wisdom before you make major purchases.  Make every penny count!

Struggling with Finances on Your Own During a Deployment

While most of you will not face separation due to work, I am finding more and more families are having to live with these types of separation.  Planning before hand can save both of you a lot of stress.

When your spouse is deployed and you are unable to communicate immediately or even frequently, financial decisions are often made on your own.
It can be extremely frustrating when financial stressors arise during a deployment. You don’t have your significant other to help you make a decision and are forced to deal with it on your own.
Setting time aside before your spouse deploys to discuss what to do in this instance can help significantly.

Not Expecting a Baby to Change Your Finances Dramatically

If you don’t have children yet, you might not understand this but it is true. Children are expensive. The more you have, the more it will cost you. Having a child unexpectedly can create financial stressors if you aren’t prepared. Not everyone gets the opportunity to plan ahead for a growing family, but if you are able to plan financially for your little one, life will be a little easier.  Never put off having children due to money concerns but make sure you do plan for the event.  If it takes both pay checks for you to survive, make sure you plan for child care.  My husband and I arranged different work times so we could eliminate child care. But it was hard on us because we had so little time together.  Other's have family members who can watch little ones.  But if neither of these options work for you, you will need to decide if it is worth one of you staying home instead of working.  Weigh your options before having a family.  Realizing those expenses after the fact can lead to many fights and depression.  
I hope these thoughts help you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lessons learned today: Making Strawberry Icing

My Dad was a romantic soul.  Every Valentine's day he gave all his daughters a small heart filled box of chocolates and Mom always got a big heart shaped box of chocolates. I continued to receive my box of chocolates every year until I got married.   On Her anniversary in December he always brought her a dozen Red roses.  After she died he still put a dozen red roses every year on her grave until he died.  My husband is not cut from the same cloth.  I think he was relived that our 2nd son was born on Valentines Day.  Now Valentines day is all about his birthday relieving my other half of ever feeling guilty about the day.  I miss my Dad on day's like today.

This year our son requested a chocolate cake with Strawberry icing.  I've never made Strawberry icing and quickly discovered there was a learning curve on this project.  Looking back now I realize it should of been a no brainer.  You cut strawberries up and add a little sugar and let them sit awhile and it pulls the juices out.  Had I started out thinking about this the project would of went much better than it did!  I used a pound of frozen strawberry slices and semi thawed them and just dumped them into the icing.  12 cups of powdered sugar later I finally awakened to my stupidity.  I should of added a little sugar and let it sit and then add in some clear jell and stir again.  This thickens and stabilizes the strawberry before you add it to the icing.  I added the clear jell to the frosting and it did thicken but I have a ton of it now and we are not big on sweets.  

I haven't posted much lately but I thought I should pass this along in case anyone else wanted to make strawberry icing.