I mentioned in my Shorts this past weekend that Devon and I sat down and had a long talk about our finances, our goals, and our next big venture which is buying a house.
Money is always that subject that so many couples hate having and while it’s not fun, I don’t want us to be the couple that fights over money. So, I think the more transparent we can be, the better.
Devon and I have been pretty aware of our own finances, but we haven’t ever actually sat down and like crunched numbers together. Which sounds terrible as I’m typing it out because it seems like after five years together you’d think we would have done that. But…not so much.
That also being said, we don’t have a joint bank account. Well, not in the traditional sense. We have a joint account that is mostly just for the bills we pay together, but outside of that, we’ve kept our finances pretty separate.
It’s not ideal, but it has worked for us, and we weren’t married, so for us, we wanted to kind of keep some independence in that way. Part of our conversation was, is that really still working for us?
And…it’s not really. At least in my opinion. Devon needed some convincing…but…he came around. I think he’s still a little apprehensive because he’s never shared a bank account before, but he understands the reasoning behind it.
The reasoning that made him come around was; we’re making a pretty big purchase together (a house), we’re talking about having children (obviously) together and I don’t want us to eventually get in the fights of who paid for what, when it’s our house, our kids, our stuff…it just seems silly.
So, instead of us just transferring what is needed into our joint account every month, we’re going to be depositing all of our paychecks into our joint account and just keep (almost) all of our money together. Basically, we’re actually being married people and we’re going to have a true joint checking account.
HOWEVER…we respect each other being individuals and wanting some independence, so we are going to still keep our separate accounts, but those are more for “play money” for us. Which means, we’re going to budget out a set amount that each of us transfers into our single accounts for random splurges. Devon doesn’t want to have to justify when he spends $60 on a Playstation game, I don’t want to have to justify when I spend $60 on hair/makeup stuff; that kind of thing. So, that is what our personal accounts will be for. But, now, everything else will be joint account purchases.
Another thing we talked a lot about is our taxes. Obviously, we’ve never filed together before, so this is new to us. One thing neither of us did because it was just one of those things we didn’t think about was changing our W4/withholding in our paychecks. Even though we got married in June, the entire year we were withholding at a lower single rate, instead of a married one.
My HR department at my school said we may be able to file half a year as single and half a year as married, which would be helpful, but it’s a complication we just didn’t think about. We have changed our withholdings for 2019, but 2018 may be a wash for us. My hope, at this point, is just that we don’t owe, or if we do that it isn’t too much.
Finally, all of this culminated into our plans to buy a home. We’re getting ready to go into the pre-approval process in a few weeks, which will give us the real picture of where we are and be the real determining factor in what we do.
But we do have a plan and a back-up plan in place, which is good because I do like back-up plans.
We have six months left in our current rental. We’ve been here for 4.5 years now; in July it will be five years, and…we’ve been here long enough. I haven’t shared a lot of recent pictures of our home, but this is a brief (real-life) tour:
It’s about 900 square feet, so there’s not a ton of space. While we’re only two people, for the most part, space is fine, but we are finding that we’re outgrowing some of the storage and closets and whatnot. Part of that is that we need to purge more things, but at the same time, it would be nice to have another bathroom (since we only have one), more room in the kitchen; that sort of thing.
We’ve also grown rather annoyed with our loud and not always courteous neighbors. We have one neighbor who is amazing and he’s actually lived here longer than we have (and he’s also a teacher, which is fun), but pretty much everyone else annoys us. Our next door neighbors, in particular, like to throw balls at the wall we share, or something, I don’t really know, but it’s getting old.
Also, our rental company is also not that great. I also mentioned this weekend in my shorts post that our kitchen sink is leaking again despite them “replacing” all of the things that could have been causing it about a month ago. They have become known for “fixing” things and them breaking again soon after, so I’m just kind of over living in a home where something is constantly broken or having to deal with them multiple times to get the same things fixed.
All of that being said, our ultimate goal is to buy a home in the area we want this summer when our lease is up August 1st.
However, this depends on our pre-approval. Because despite how much we want to move (about as much as anyone “wants” to move) we’re not going to do anything that we financially can’t do.
If our pre-approval is less than what we want or can do, we’re still moving, but we have agreed to look into a rental in the area we want to move to while we get ourselves financially where we need to be to buy. We talked about maybe looking for a townhouse to rent until we buy because the area we’re moving to has a ridiculous amount of townhouses in it. It’ll give us the extra space we need and it’ll put us in the area we want to live in AND get us out of where we are.
I looked at rental townhome prices in the area and they’re not that much more expensive than what we’re paying in rent now, and most of them are in the 1500-1800 square foot range which is almost twice the size of where we are right now, which is perfect.
At the end of the day; we’re moving August 1st. Whether it’s a home we purchase or something bigger that we rent for a year, we’re moving. Again, it just depends on how our finances work out.
As of right now, that’s where we are. WE’RE BECOMING ADULTS! Which is kind of what some of it feels like, but we’re not doing anything that will be harmful to us down the road. Devon and I are typically on the same page which is always so nice and even when we aren’t we can usually work together to find something that works for us.