In my previous post, Money In Marriage: How Much Do You Make?, I wrote about how important it is to discuss each other’s incomes before getting married.
Equally important is to learn about the spending habits and money attitude of your partner. Now more than ever, in this uncertain economic atmosphere, everyone should be more prudent with their financial spending.
Question 2: How Much Do You Spend?
When We Were Dating
This one was very obvious for me even when Albert and I started dating.
Albert is a responsible guy who spends within his means. He’s not into fancy cars or watches (he doesn’t even wear a watch), his only probably luho (extravagance) is food. His physique doesn’t show it, but he’s the guy who’s willing to drop some good money on a dining experience. I like to eat and enjoy food too, but Albert takes it to the next level.
For me, I like to spend on traveling and health gadgets and treatments (my vitamin stash, IV vitamin drips, juice cleanses, etc.) My whole single life was just about traveling to new places, and I asked Albert if it was possible that after we got married, he’d take me on “one long-haul and two short-haul trips a year (haha wishful thinking now that we have three small kids, plus the global pandemic)
After We Got Married
When we were newly married, we didn’t really give a second thought about budgeting and expenses. We ate out regularly, went on nice trips, enjoying the kilig and independence of living in our home, just the two of us.
When we got pregnant and started having kids, the reality of raising a family got me thinking of how much our monthly expenses were, and our goals for family’s future.
And you know what’s most especially true — you won’t realize how much you spend until you start listing it down.
Our top expenses are:
- Life insurance premiums for myself and Albert
- Critical Illness insurance premiums for Albert
- Eating Out
- Household helper and yaya salaries
- Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas)
So even if we have sufficient income, we still keep our spending in check and are focused on our long-term goals because the only thing constant is change.
And this statement could not be truer in a post-Covid world.
I think like most people, we didn’t see the pandemic and the effects of the pandemic coming. During mid-January when concerns about the coronavirus were growing, Albert and I thought that the Philippines would be spared from it, just like SARS. We even thought there was a chance that our June anniversary trip would still push through.
The pandemic has made us realize how things quickly change, and be grateful that we had savings to tap into for our day-to-day expenses when our businesses were forced to close down during the quarantine period.
That is why it really pays to get to know a person’s financial mindset, spending habits, before entering into a lifelong relationship with them. Understanding and accepting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, luhos and spending habits, takes away a lot of arguments or bilangan of who bought what and for how much when things get tight.
At the heart of the issue is knowing which are needs and which are luxuries. Albert and I wouild randomly remind one another to be extra thankful – the Lord gives and takes away.
Hope for the Future
Right now, we have directed our focus to staying liquid, as we don’t know how long this health crisis will last. I’ve told Albert also that we should be kind to ourselves and take the pressure off when it comes to earning financially. We entered 2020 with business and financial goals, but as Jack Ma said, the most important priority for this year is to survive. That already is a victory and a profit.
When I get anxious about the future and ask “When will this end??”, God reminds me that there is a season for everything. And this is a season for sobriety – to reflect and to remain thankful for what remains instead of what is lost, and to know that there are better days ahead for everyone.