Saturday, February 2, 2013

Frustrating...Money...

Is there anything as frustrating as watching my husband squirm in his chair while doing our taxes at the computer?  He keeps letting out these horribly long sighs of disgust and I can do absolutely nothing to help him at this point.  He scrolls through page after page of very personal data and information about tax rules letting us know just how little money we actually have and how much of it we are going to be required to hand over for things like roads and public schools and such.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not a begrudging tax payer.  We will pay what we owe, if only because we are nothing if not rule followers to a fault.  I just feel helpless when every single thing that I can possibly do to help my husband is going to throw him over the cliff of insanity and turn him into an even grumpier mess.

Dealing with money does this to us every time.  This year is especially hard for us.  We are attempting to scrimp and save every little bit we can so that whenever I finish my dissertation and wherever I find that big paying job <insert laugh here>, we can actually go buy our first house there.  This year is also hard because last year we were actually forced to try to spend all of the money that we had budgeted for the year because it was grant money.  

Yes, somehow we made it into our mid-thirties and have never purchased a home.  Surprised?  You shouldn't be.  We didn't want to buy a house in Cleveland partly because we knew we'd have to leave for a year and partly because we weren't sure we would want to stay there after my 7 years of graduate school were up.  I suppose the joke is on us in this category, because we actually LOVED Cleveland and miss it fiercely, and not just for our amazing friends that are there.  The second part of the joke is that it is actually going to take me 7.5-8 years to finish my PhD, though to be fair I also finished 2 master's degrees AND had two babies for those of you keeping score.  Anyway, we were trying to be smart by not buying a house there, and we really lucked out in the rental department there too.  Our landlord in Cleveland was the nicest lady and she loved us, because we paid our rent on time and took care of the house like it was our own.

We miss that house, where things like this happened:


That's the Man in the Yellow Hat, Curious George, Professor Wiseman, & Gnocchi the Cat in case you were wondering, though I'm pretty sure all moms will instantly recognize our costumes.  We brought both of our kids home from the hospital to that house.  We were sad to leave it when we moved to Berlin, but so ist das Leben (so is life).  

So this is our year of learning about money.  I always pick a theme for learning instead of a New Year's Resolution, and money seemed like the most appropriate thing to focus on this year.  We're learning to make do with less, and to move money around to trick our budgeting program into thinking that we have less.  That of course then tricks us into thinking the same thing and spending less.  I highly recommend doing this if you need a little reality check for money.

Do you have any budgeting software you would recommend?  Do you have any personal finance reading you might suggest?  We're looking forward to becoming more informed about all things money, because informing ourselves about stuff that scares the bejeebus out of us is the only way we have found to make it any less scary.

7 comments:

  1. Although she is polarizing, I personally LOVE Suze Orman. She shoots from the hip and tells it like it is. Her advice is straight forward and easy to follow.

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    1. She's definitely on my reading list! We're also looking at Dave Ramsey's stuff. So far, we figured out that we aren't really as bad with money as we thought we were.

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    2. I like Suze Orman, too. Calls them like she sees them. I've been nagging my husband to cancel cable and downgrade our phones because of her, but Joe isn't going for it.

      Awesome costume selection by the way.

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  2. Ugh, money. Money and me, never played well together. :)

    I don't use any budgeting software (though I probably should), but I found this blog to have lots of money saving tips: http://notmadeofmoney.com/blog/

    Good luck!

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    1. I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

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  3. I have heard that mint.com is a great way to link all of your outgoing money so you can see where it goes and more easily keep track. What schools are you looking at next? If there is any chance you will end up back in Btown i live in a great neighborhood and there are several houses for sale! Just saying:)

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    Replies
    1. We LOVE mint.com! I would LOVE to go back to IU as a professor. We'll see.

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