Hello there Campus Calmers! Sorry I’ve been away for a bit–a lot has happened since I last blogged! I graduated from Ithaca College as a class marshall for my school, Roy H. Park School of Communications. I moved out of my apartment in Ithaca, NY and had to say goodbye to so many of my friends. I moved into my new apartment in Syracuse, NY with my fiance, Ray…and I’m getting ready to start my Master’s program in Documentary Film and History at Syracuse University! Whoa…I’m tired just thinking about it!
Ray and I are thrilled to have settled into our new apartment. We’re still in the unpacking process (and decorating!), but it’s amazing to finally have a place to call our own. Yet, with this excitement comes a small sense of dread…we are out on our own.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m thrilled to be living and going to school with my future husband (2 years to go until wedding bells chime!). But we are both young, fresh out of college, and are new to this whole “real world” thing. Bills, renters insurance, more bills, car repairs, more bills and TONS of student loans…whoa. That’s a lot to deal with, especially with limited income, not to mention the desire for an occasional fun night out to the movies or to a restaurant.
Talking about budgets with your partner is terrifying. It can cause fights and loads of stress, not to mention it’s not exactly romantic. Realizing you’re on a limited budget can put a damper on your day, but creating and sticking to a budget doesn’t necessarily have to be a pain in the rear end. Here’s a few things Ray and I have come up with in order to stick to our budget and still have fun
1. Be honest and keep the lines of communication open. Communication is key to any relationship’s success, especially financial success. Be honest about purchases–don’t keep things hidden from another, because you don’t want to be in a bind later.
2. Make sure someone is keeping tabs on the bills. You can certainly share financial responsibilities in your relationship, but I have found that it’s easier for one person to keep track of finances. In my case, that responsibility falls on me (I volunteered!). That way, we’re not worrying who paid what bill every month.
3. Keep track of your budget! This is always a difficult one for me. I’m great at planning and creating budgets, but it’s hard for me to stick with them. I discovered a great website (that’s free and secure), Mint.com, which helps you keep tabs on your bank accounts, credit cards, financial goals (like saving for retirement or paying off student loans) and monthly expenses. You can create your own budget limits, set bill payment reminders and keep tabs on your net worth! We’re huge fans.
4. Keep your bills low and still have fun! Ray and I are committed to keeping our bills low without sacrificing fun. We’ve planned different themed dinner nights to cook together, go for walks in our neighborhood (and there’s a beautiful park nearby) and we have movie nights. Luckily, our apartment lets in a lot of natural light, so we keep the lights off until dark. Every little bit helps!
How do you keep your bills low without sacrificing fun? Share with me below!