Jim is an Accounting Controller, avid Mint user, and husband to a shopaholic.
How did the so-called “power organizer” and “financial free-spirit” ever manage to agree on a budget?
Read on to find out…
First comes love, then comes marriage…
I love my wife. We dated for three years and got married about a year ago in my hometown of Chicago. She was a career woman doing international visual merchandising for a large shoe company here in LA (she’s now a full-time mom for our son, thus the past-tense).
We were already living together and so being married didn’t change life too much… until we combined our finances.
To be accurate, it wasn’t the actual combining of our finances that made my chest hurt — there were no secret debts or estranged children and we knew each other’s approximate financial profiles — it had more to do with her budgeting strategy… she completely lacked one!
Then comes the credit card statement.
Well, and she also had a little bit of a shopping problem. Shoes, mostly. But also clothes. Sometimes make-up. Yeah, it was pretty ruthless.
Like a lot of guys and girls out there, she was a financial free-spirit; a credit card hippie, if you will. Paycheck arrives, you save a little, spend based on your bank account balance and keep a VISA on standby in case that goes empty.
Then here I am, an Accounting Controller, avid Mint.com user and power organizer, watching my budget lines move like one of those squirt gun horse races at a fair. Something had to be done and it was too late for an annulment (kidding!).
A meeting of the minds.
After five headaches, four discussions, three arguments and two flailing arms, we laid out our values and financial priorities and developed a budget that worked for us both. We now had “our” budget.
But this wouldn’t work if my wife had to login to a computer each day to see what was going on. So, using the same login info, we installed the free Mint.com app on each of our phones, giving us access to the latest details of our spending in real-time–at any time.
Our budgeting success story was very honestly made possible by Mint.com and their cell phone app.
If not for this, at least speaking for my wife, the budget process would have been a miserable one and, when something isn’t fun to do, we tend not to do it.
Why Mint works for us.
Mint.com has done an excellent job of streamlining the budgeting and financial monitoring process and this is why their app will likely turn millions of other non-budgeters into really organized savers and spenders.
My wife now has the power to walk into a mall and know exactly how much she cannot spend on shoes. And I can walk into a restaurant and know if it’s going to be crab legs and a glass of wine or a salad with some ice water.
Unless they serve burritos, then I always get the burrito.
The major transformation was getting my wife to understand that a budget does not exist to dictate what someone cannot buy. A budget is a critical element of one’s life, whether wealthy or struggling, to plan for the future and to really align our values with our spending.
And when we align our spending with the things we value most in life, we become happier. She has gone from shopaholic to organized, budget-conscious shopper and we’re both happier because of it.
Probably me the most.
My Mint Story: From Shopaholic to Savvy Spender was shared by Jim Miller, author of Budgeting Doesn’t Have To Suck.
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