If you’ve read my blog lately, you may have seen that I don’t live with my wife during the week. My current job is approximately 2 hours away. Because of the distance, I have to stay there during the week and then head home on the weekends.
There are many disadvantages of living away from my wife, both emotionally and financially. I won’t really get into the emotional stuff seeing that this is a financial blog. However, I can shed some light on how we handle our finances on a day-to-day basis.
First, let me give you a little insight into the added expenses. In order to stay in PA during the week, I have to pay for housing, groceries, parking, and fuel. All of those together add about $600 to our budget. Those are all in addition to what we already spend in MD. It’s definitely straining, but it’s better than me not working at all. My wife and I have been apart for long periods of time before (I went to TX for grad school) so we are used to being apart. However, it’s not something I want to do for more than a year.
Even though we are apart, we still need to make financial decisions as a team. Marriage is commitment and both partners need to have an equal say. Here is how we do it:
Communication Is Key
Just as the title says, communication is a key part in our financial decision making. We communicate daily about our finances on the phone and via Skype. We are constantly talking about our budget and how much we will have left over to pay down debt. We actually think budgeting is fun and are always looking for ways to save a buck just so we can pay off more debt at the end of the month.
Financial communication is a necessity is every marriage. If one partner is spending away while the other one is committed to getting out of debt, they’re not going to get far. You just need to sit down and talk about your finances. Heck, if my wife and I can do it every night when we are 2 hours away from each other, so can you!
Long Distance Budgeting
Almost all of my adult life, I have been a Quicken kind of guy. It was always easy for me to use and made my finances come together in one simple platform. Well, when we got married, I noticed one major flaw. It was only on my computer and it was really hard for my wife to understand how to use it. So, we made an executive decision to give something else a try. A written budget wasn’t really an option for us as we are more technical people. It would also be a little harder to keep track of being apart. Then came Mvelopes.
Mvelopes is an online based budgeting program that can be accessed anywhere (with an internet connection). Mvelopes is based on the envelope system which we thought was the best budgeting technique for us (and still do). It allows us to check our budget at the same time and discuss the different envelopes and what we spent during the week. It just keeps us on the top of our game. It also keeps us accountable.
Keep a Positive Attitude
It’s easy to get a little depressed when you are away from your spouse for extended periods of time. It’s especially hard for us since we were married only six months ago. However, we continue to be positive about our situation and are trying to get things straightened out. Currently, I have an interview next week for a job in MD working for the same company. If all goes well and I get the job, my income will increase about 10%. It will also eliminate our need for addition expenses such as the rent.
Well, hopefully you will never have to find yourself in my position. It’s tough, but we are making it work. If you do find yourself in this predicament, hopefully these tips can help you out. These are actually good tips for couples who are living together too. You need all of these to manage your marriage and finances.
Have a great weekend!