Family Finances :: Managing Family Money

Two things I know for sure:

1) Financial situations require open communication between all involved parties.

2) __(can you guess?)_________  has significantly lowered the amount of gaps in communication with my husband.

As August wrapped up, my husband and I were faced with an increase in our monthly rent and once again were looking at our finances.  For a family of three with both adults working full-time, we certainly are the stereotypical “living paycheck to paycheck” American family.  I seriously don’t know how we were scraping by, especially with the size of our TWO car payments and cell phone bill on top of rent.  Those four bills alone appeared to be consuming close to one-third of our monthly income.  Add car insurance on top of that and I was pretty confident that half of our income was being thrown out the window.

Somehow we needed to figure out a way to change what we were spending money on if we wanted to get out of our 550 sq foot- one-bedroom-apartment.  {Yes, there are two adults, a toddler, a cat and a dog living in a one-bedroom apartment in Westland.  It’s cozy and we call it home. I’m blessed to have a roof over our heads.}  Heck, we needed to figure out a way to have a bit of extra money available for car repairs we are anticipating before the end of the year.  Not to mention that one of our vehicles is a lease and is due to be turned back in to the dealership in early February.  {EEK! Yes, there’s a ton of pressure on my shoulders just putting these thoughts in writing.}

Now, let me be clear.  I knew how to budget from a calendar to figure out which paycheck to pull money from to pay a bill.  And I always made sure bills were paid before money started to be used for eating out or entertainment.  I could very easily write down an expense list and deduct it from our income.  What I was not doing efficiently was budgeting savings.  In my mind, savings meant money for the future.  It didn’t mean money for a specific activity or event that was already predetermined and we could start collecting funds now.


I had to change this cycle.  I had to add in these extra things to our weekly budget.  Things like car repairs, gymnastics class, coffee money, etc.


What would you do in this situation?  Stay tuned to see exactly what we did in our home to make a drastic change.

Sharon cash envelope

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Sharon Maxfield
Hey there Detroit Mamas! I'm Sharon, a happily married mama of a crazy toddler, Elizabeth {Liz, Lizzy}. Born and raised in Livonia, I lived in the Grand Rapids area for college {Go Lakers!} from 2004-2007, which is where I met husband Drew, a west-Michigan native. Although we escaped the mitten for twelve months to live in Albuquerque, we returned to our beloved #puremichigan in 2008 to be closer to family. We got married in 2008 and have been living a life of opposites since that fall. I work outside of the home on a traditional M-F 8-5(ish) schedule and he works Sunday nights – Friday mornings on a 7pm-5am schedule. We function best with a shared google calendar, a written budget {recently changed to cash-in-envelopes!} and a meal planner {yes, I am the woman who pins everything!}.


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