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I’m Going to be a Bridesmaid! Oh, and a Baby is on the Way!!!

I am 31 years old and have two younger sisters.  We were pretty spread out – one of my sisters is 8 years younger than me and the other is 13 years younger.  Well, my 23 year old sister announced her engagement to a great guy a couple of months ago!!!  I’ve spent a few hours around him several times and I think he’s going to be a GREAT brother and they make an adorable couple.  :-D  I’m super excited about the wedding!

There’s a Baby on the Way!!!

That said, me being a bridesmaid in a wedding that’s in August has just taken a backseat to new info – she is now pregnant!!!  WOOT!!!  I’m going to be an aunt!!!  Baby on the way!!!

I'm Going to Be an Aunt!

Now, before anybody jumps to any conclusions, the pregnancy happened after the engagement and it was a logical decision based on several factors that it isn’t my place to share.  And if you still want to be judgmental, don’t do it in my comment section because I will delete you.

Since I haven’t jumped on the baby-making wagon yet, this is the first grandkid in the works for my parents.  We’re all super excited and just holding our breath for more baby news.  Some of my friends have informed me of how awesome it is going to be an aunt, so now I’m planning for it.  I’m keeping an eye out for baby stuff from here on out.  Since I am living on a tight budget again, you’ll probably be seeing a ton of posts about prepping for the fun parts of babies – I won’t need to raise this one, just spoil it.  ;-)

Current Planning

Right this second, the baby is the size of a pea.  It’s just giving my sister morning sickness and a tiny baby pouch since she is a super skinny lady and a hard uterine wall is all it took to push out a little bump.  As the plumper sister, I will admit that made me laugh a little.  But it was a supportive giggle.  ;-)

My planning right now is centered on planning a wedding shower, finding a bridesmaid dress in the pretty blue color she chose, and I’m keeping an eye out for inexpensive but awesome baby stuff like clothes and toys.

Here are the dresses that I want to try on now…

Dresses

I’m also on call with anything she needs that’s wedding related, but she seems to be handling the details like a freaking champ.  Planning and executing a wedding in less than 3 months is just an amazing feat in my opinion.

I’m going to be an aunt!  Aunt Crystal!  How cool is that?!  Any wedding or baby stuff going on in your family?  Share away!  And all future aunt advice is very welcome!

Taking a Step Back from Being the Budget Nazi

Sometimes, money just doesn’t matter as much as your sanity.  I think I am going to take a little break from being on top of absolutely everything money-related for a couple of months at least.

Driving My Spouse Crazy

On Monday, I went inside of a Popeyes Chicken to get a $1 refund since they overcharged us in the drive-through for hubby’s meal.  Since Mr. BFS had already paid and just wanted to blow it off, it annoyed him that I pursued it.  I was annoyed that he was annoyed at me for getting our money back, so we started snapping at each other (come on, admit it, that is always how the stupid fights start…)

Anyway, the end result was that Mr. BFS thinks that I prioritize money above all and it frustrates him when I expect him to do the same.  Well, boogers on that.  I don’t want to worry about money any more than the next person, but I sort of just naturally do…

That said, I am now on a self-imposed money-thinking break.  I’ll still get the bills paid and do the basics, but we are not tracking our food spending or anything else.  We’ll just do what we normally do and see what happens.

Not a Spending Spree

Please note that we are not going to start spending willy-nilly.  I just won’t be tracking every dollar that goes out.  My best guess is that when I get him to take a look a couple of months down the line, I bet that our food spending will be higher than normal and there will be a few splurges that weren’t planned.  That’s always what happens when I stop tracking everything.  But if that makes married life easier, the extra $200 a month will be worth it.  We’ll see.

And yes, before you ask, this is my own idea.  I still want to slap Mr. BFS upside the head simply since I don’t agree…I think my priorities are clearly people, then money, then everything else.  But if he wants stuff to be more laid back, I can at least try and see what happens.  If we really don’t start wasting tons of money, then maybe I will keep the budget-crazy part of myself on a leash.  But if we obviously start spending a lot more, he’s just going to have to deal with me being more money-oriented than him.  So we’ll see…

Don’t Worry

What this means for all of you is simply that I will not be posting food spending updates.  That’s all that’ll change here, lol.  I can be more laid back with tracking, but the money part of my brain will never turn fully off.  So no worries, BFS will stay pretty much exactly the same, hahaha.  I will be leaning on all of you to talk money since I am going to try to shut up about it at home.  ;-)

 Have you ever had to just back off to keep your significant other from exploding into a million pieces?

Money and Marriage: Do You Hide Money from Your Spouse?

The following is a guest post from Victoria at Lend Not Borrow.  Thanks for the contribution!

I’m not married but I’ve been involved in conversations with married men and women who claim they hide money from their spouse. In the beginning I thought this level of “infidelity” was a rare and unusual thing, but the more I observe the more I see it is a common thing.

As a matter of fact, many married individuals who hide money from their spouse don’t see it as an issue, just as a way to secure a financial cushion for themselves. I think we’ve all heard women laugh at hiding purchases from their husbands and it seems like the stakes have gotten higher. So the question is, do YOU hide money from your spouse? And if so, why?

Do You Hide Money?

I went around and began asking married individuals (some I knew and some were strangers) if they had money hidden from their spouse. I believe I got the most truthful information from the strangers and not so truthful from those I knew. One coworker I asked stated he doesn’t hide money and if he DID he would still say he didn’t. Most of the people who stated they didn’t hide money also included that they know someone who does. My observation concluded that there are more people who hide money in some form than not.

Reasons to Hide Money

Once I asked the question of “do you hide money?” I then asked “why”. I got various answers but the most common were “because he/she spends so much money I need a cushion they don’t know about” or “the money I had prior to us getting married is mine only- they have no rights to that.”

Now I know Dave Ramsey would cringe at these responses. If you have ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show, you would know that his response to “financial infidelity” (his words, not mine) is forbidden and leads to divorce. As I speak to these individuals, however, I find that some have been married for 20+ years and don’t hide the funds to be malicious, but to create a savings and a cushion from their spending fanatic spouse.

Where is the Money?

Of course I had to ask where the secret stash of money is located! Many people have separate accounts their spouse don’t know about. Others stash the money the old fashioned way in a cookie jar or under a mattress somewhere. I asked what would happen if something happened that the spouse would need to access the funds. Many just shrugged their shoulder or gave me the I-never-thought-of-that-before look.

As I do research on the subject I see the concept of hiding money is parallel to hiding assets and divorce (so maybe Dave Ramsey has a point). I personally don’t agree about hiding money from a spouse BUT I also know that every situation is personal and unique. People respond based off of the reality and perception of their situation.

I am always interested to see how people view this topic- so please share your thoughts. When do you think it is ok to hide money from a spouse?

Crystal’s Comments:  I completely understand protecting yourself, but my opinion is that it is hard to stay married to anyone you have to protect yourself from.  So no, I do not hide money from Mr. BFS.  If I ever felt like I had to, I would be supremely worried about our future together period.

Big Things Come in Small Packages – Guest Post from my Mother-in-Law

The following is a guest post from my mother-in-law, Mrs. Veranda, who just started blogging in January.  Yep, I brought her to the dark side.  I am one of the lucky people who actually loves their in-laws, so no MIL jokes.  ;-)  I was first introduced to Mr. BFS’s family a couple of months after we started dating in 2001 and they officially became my in-laws in mid-2005, so we’ve known each other pretty well for more than 10 years.  For this post, she asked what she should write about and I said you all enjoyed personal stories.  I plan to get more posts out of her in the future as well.  Please check out Out on the Veranda when you have the chance!

I know you’ve heard that saying – big things come in small packages – well it’s true for my daughter-n-law, Crystal.  When my son introduced her to us, I think she was about 21, but she looked 15.  (I was 18, lol, and yes, I’ve always looked pretty young…)  When your only child introduces you to his future bride, you are naturally skeptical.  After all, he’s your pride and joy and no one is good enough.  Or so I thought.  Crystal has more than proven to us that she is a perfect match for our son.  (Awwwww!)

Here’s why…

Crystal and Money

My husband and I have always said that my parents were tight with their money.  Yet, not long ago, my father made the comment that Crystal and Mr BFS were so tight that they squeaked.  I don’t think of them as tight, just very frugal with their money.  The girl knows how to budget. 

I wish we had known Crystal when we were first married and she could have given us pointers on creating and using a budget.  Fortunately we had 401K’s and retirement accounts with our employers.  (I still bore them with budget talk, lol.  Never too late.  ;-) )

Blogging for a Living

When Crystal first told us she was going to quit her day job and blog full time, we were concerned.  First of all, we weren’t sure how blogging worked or how you could make money at it.  And then there was the issue of job security.  Well, as you all know, job security is a thing of the past.  We were skeptical, but Crystal has shown us that she knows what she’s doing. 

Once we sat down and talked to her and our son, we found out that she had investigated this every way there was to look at it.  They both have college degrees, so there is always that to fall back on.  But, to tell you the truth, I don’t think that will be necessary.  At the rate they’re going, they’ll retire before we do and find something else to make money at.  Crystal knows how to make money!

My Hopes for the Future

I hope that Crystal continues to prosper at the blogging business she created and will be able to cut back her hours to allow her to have some time for herself.  I think that girl blogs 24/7!   Of course, I would not mind a grandchild or two along the way as long as that is what they want…

Crystal’s Comments:  LOL…grandkids?  Let’s take one huge leap of faith at a time, shall we?  ;-)  Anyway, there you go folks…you have been demanding more posts from my family for about 2 years now.  Now you have this one and the one from my mom about getting an antenna for your tv.  Pretty soon, I’ll even get Mr. BFS to step up.  :-)

Tips for Planning your Wedding on a Budget

The following is a guest post from Ellen at Fun With English, where she explores the origin of English words and expressions. In her spare time, she is on her own journey to improve her financial knowledge!  She’s guest posted here several times before with ones like How to Save Money on a Road Trip and Impulse Shopping and Discount Chocolate.

I’ve noticed a lot of ads for wedding shows, so I know it is wedding planning season.   I’ll freely admit my wedding was not nearly as economical as Crystal’s :-) , but I think I’ve still got some good planning tips to share!

Tips for a Wedding on a Budget

1.  Start saving now.  As soon as you get engaged, you should start putting money away.  We had a rough idea of the overall budget that what we wanted to spend on our wedding, so, once we got engaged, we started putting a lump sum away each month.  Our goal was to have enough money saved by our wedding date (we got married about a year after we got engaged) that we would have enough to cover all our costs.

2.  Figure out what is really important to you in your wedding.  Do you want something small and intimate? A big blowout?  Perhaps you’re not big on a sit down dinner, but an open bar is a must.  Talk things through with your better half (and other family members if you’re feeling generous/crazy), and see what matters to them.  Your significant other may want photo wedding invitations or a videographer.  For me – I really wanted a 3-tier cake. I don’t know why, but in my head, my wedding cake was always 3 tiers, so that was a must.

3.  Search for talented and connected friends and family members.   My now sister-in-law is an excellent photographer and kindly did our photos.  Ask around – perhaps someone you know would like to DJ, or works at a flower shop and can give you a discount.  Make sure you budget in something to compensate them for their time and efforts.

4.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  You can reuse family rings as is (hey, Prince William did it!) or have them reset into a new setting.  Reuse flowers from the ceremony at the reception – we put our bridesmaid’s boquets in vases to decorate the head table. And speaking of wedding party – try to save costs for them as well.  We picked the least expensive tux for our ushers, and I let my bridesmaid pick out their own dresses, all just keeping in a common colour scheme.

My Summary

In the end – with a sit down dinner and open bar, my wedding ran a bit over $ 10,000 (this was 8 years ago). Not frugal by any stretch, but certainly cheaper than the average cost of a wedding!

My last tip is this – plan wisely, but don’t overdo it. I had $10,000 as a budget in my head and freaked out any time I thought we might go over.  I also cheaped out on my bridesmaid hair and makeup (I should have helped cover it, but didn’t), and I really regret that.

What is the best money saving tip you have? Is there something you spent money on you shouldn’t have? Or  something you wish you had spent money on?

Crystal’s Comments:  I highly suggest having a videographer if you think you may want a video of the ceremony later.  That is my only regret.  We didn’t splurge on much at all and had a fantastic wedding – really, we absolutely loved it.

Making More than My Husband and WE are Loving It!

I was reading She Is The Man Now over at Financially Consumed and thought about the history my husband and I have with our money.  I have made more some years and he has made more some years.  I don’t think either of us ever felt bad about making less.  I know my husband is ecstatic that I make more now that I am self-employed since that means that we are taking home more income now than we ever have before.

Our Income History

When we first got married in 2005,  I made more  than Mr. BFS even though I only had a $26,500 annual salary because he didn’t land a teaching position right away.  But he did find a position as an 8th grade science teacher in 2006 and my $30,000-$35,000 income was much less than his $42,000-$43,000 from 2006-2009.  Then he stepped into a new school district as a librarian in 2009 and added to the gap by making $47,500.  I was and am so happy for him.  He actually likes his job and I love watching our savings grow.

Our Current Income

Now it looks like I am making more again in 2011.  I have brought in more than $5000 a month in June, July, and August.  Overall, my blogging income from January-August 2011 has been $28,000.  I made about $15,000 in my day job this year as well.   My husband’s salary is still around $47,500 plus he is a sports official as a hobby job, which bring in another $2000-$3000 a year.  As long as I make $1500 or more a month from here on out, I will be out-earning Mr. BFS. 

Our Take on Income Differences

Does my husband mind?  Nope.  He loves it.  He brags about it to close family and friends.  For example, his grandparents asked us how we were doing and he started going on and on about me blogging full time and using my marketing degree to start an online advertising business.  He then spouted off what I had banked so far this month and he and his grandpa started talking about savings, lol.  In short, our money is our money and we are just happy to have more of it than before.

Does that mean I’m not proud?  No, I am very happy.  I am glad that I am finally earning more than $35,000 a year.  But not because of my husband’s income.  I was frustrated with myself simply since I knew I could do better but was being too lazy to really try.  Then I found blogging.  It just fit.

On a big side note, please don’t think I am saying we are perfect.  We have issues just like everyone else.  For example, my husband doesn’t care if I make more than him, but he has admitted that if I ever get a doctorate, he would want one too.  So he is competitive when it comes to education, lol, just not cold, hard cash.  ;-)

My point of this whole post was to say that my husband and I don’t see any issues at all with a guy staying home with his kids.  We don’t see a problem with a woman staying home with her kids either.  I don’t think it’s about sex.  I think it’s about doing what’s best for you and yours.  Do whatever feels right and works.  That just makes life easier.

What do you think?  Is there anything wrong with a wife out-earning a husband or the other way around?

Money Lessons from “Royal Pains” and Cancelled Weddings

One of our favorite tv shows is “Royal Pains”.  It is about a concierge doctor doing what he does best in the Hamptons since he was fired from his emergency room position in the first episode.  It’s actually a feel good show, which I appreciate.  As you can guess, there are a billion lessons to learn from the stuff you see in the fake Hamptons, but the most recent subplot is what caught my attention. 

The TV Problem

One of the main characters, Divya, is Doctor Hank’s physician assistant.  She was arranged to be married to a long-time family friend, but she pulled out at the last minute at the end of last season.  Since she has refused to be in another arranged marriage, her very wealthy family cut her off for the first time ever.  At first, I was worried the writer’s were going to make this very intelligent character a complete financial bimbo, but she catches on that she needs to be frugal right off the bat.  The big kink is that her ex-inlaws-to-be have demanded that she repay them for all the money they had spent on the wedding and stupid fru-fru events and plane tickets.  So she gets a second job to pay them back.

Lessons to be Learned

First of all, I thought the writers captured the character perfectly.  She is written as a smart woman with a HUGE dose of responsibility and dependability.  I thought that deciding to pay back the ex’s parents would be right up her alley.  But I started to wonder if she should even be responsible for all the silly charges that were completely up to their whims. 

In the real world, if I had cancelled my wedding at the last minute, I would feel like I would have needed to send back the gifts, return my husband’s family ring, and pay back all the charges my ex’s family had incurred like the reception decorations and honeymoon.  But I wouldn’t think I should have to pay for whatever crazy private dinner they were going to throw for the family the following day.  That would be on them.

In short, I’d have a line.

How Common Are Wedding Cancellations?

All of this said, I’m going off on another rabbit trail.  What is with all of the last minute wedding cancellations on tv and in movies?  I do not understand.  Most weddings take months to plan and hopefully the couple has been together long enough to know if forever is right for them.  Was I the only bride never to even think about cancelling?  It wasn’t “if” we were getting married – it was just a matter of “when”.  We aren’t perfect and there are days that I think “damn it”, but if I wasn’t sure about marrying my guy, I sure as hell wouldn’t have put in all the work to plan a big event.  I hate party planning.  It was a hassle.  We ended up having a great wedding, but I wouldn’t even have called the university chapel if I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be using it.

What do you think?  Should Divya be on the hook for all of the splurges?  Our last minute wedding cancellations that common?