Even though I have a husband who provides me with a nice lifestyle, I still budget as though I never got married. I don’t have a philosophy that what’s mine is mine and what’s his is his. I just want to maintain my frugal ways so that we will have a larger retirement nest egg in another 25 years when we retire. By “pretending” that I have to make things work on a smaller income, I’m able to save more money for the future. According to a recent article by Fox Business, just because a person makes a 6-figure salary doesn’t mean they are managing their wealth well. People who have a debt figure that is greater than their salary need to figure out how to stop the backwards movement. When I married my husband, I was tempted to spend more money on clothes and hobbies. We even qualified for a house that cost twice as much as the one we settled on buying. By budgeting like I’m single, I save more money for emergencies and retirement even though we have sufficient funds for financial emergencies.
Paying the mortgage
When I map out my budget, I pretend as though I have to pay our $925 mortgage on just my salary. When I really was single, housing took up about half of my income. After paying the mortgage, I use my husband’s income to make extra payments on our mortgage so we own our home outright in less time. So far, we have shortened our mortgage payoff date by about 9 years.
Lowering utility costs
By paying the electric and water bill out of my paycheck, I’m more motivated to find ways to lower our utility costs. I made a few improvements to our air-conditioning unit that lowered our electric bill. I also cut cooling costs by applying the sun control window tint films throughout the home. Outside, I was careful to plant deciduous trees that drop leaves in the winter to keep the home warmer in the winter but cool in the summer.
Saving separately for retirement
I have some married friends who don’t save anything for retirement because they depend on their husbands to invest in 401(k) and Roth IRA accounts. Even spouses who don’t work can invest in spousal Roth IRA accounts. I save in my own retirement accounts so we won’t have to live on just one retirement income stream. If the stock market tanks, we don’t have to worry as much because of our different investments and strategies.
Budgeting as if I’m a single person is about living on one income, which is a realistic possibility in today’s fragile economy. If I’m in the position to walk away from my job without any financial worries, I’ll know I can stop budgeting like a single person. Until then, I’ll save and invest until I’m old enough to get a Social Security check.
More from this contributor:
Paying off Our Mortgage isn’t Stupid
My Husband Refuses to Take Social Security
Paying the Price for Failing to Budget