On Monday, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Nothing major in our relationship changed when we got hitched, since we had already been together for more than five years. Yet there were many small changes: my last name changed, resulting in me having to obtain a new passport, Social Security card, credit and debit cards, my driver’s license and insurance cards. We’ve merged our car insurance and medical insurance plans. We’re filing joint taxes for the first time. I’ve contributed a little bit here and there to his law school loans even though he’s not even done with school yet. We still have separate bank accounts, though.
Things went really smoothly … until Hanukkah. Normally I’m a very reasonable and logical person, especially with money, but something about the holidays went to my head. We received a little gift money from my grandmother and aunt, and I suggested we put it toward his loans instead of using it on something fun. I thought I was being so noble.
Then we received money from my dad for Hanukkah. The envelope would normally have my name on it, but as our first holiday season as a married couple, it had both of our names on it. I opened it up and at first was excited by my bounty, but then I became angry. Greedy. Why did I have to share MY money with HIM? It was like I had regressed into a little kid who didn’t want to share my toys. I felt like I shouldn’t have to split it 50/50 since I gave the other gift money to him! I mean, our gift money. To his loans. So I didn’t split it evenly, and he was nice enough to just let it be.
Later, I was really embarrassed when I reflected on my behavior. It was so unlike me to get emotional and selfish, but it was also my first year being married during the holidays. I have never had to “share my toys” in that sense. I’ve been financially independent for so long that it was very confusing trying to look at things as ours, not mine. That was a good wake-up call, and I’ve been working on being more mature about it. It’s getting easier all the time. I’ve also learned that it’s totally normal to have feelings like this during major life transitions.
Read on for my list of my 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week. The first one from Money is the Root is about this exact topic. Enjoy!
1. Money is the Root discusses some of the financial issues that come up for couples planning to get married and merging their finances.
2. One Cent at a Time offers advice on how to be a wise credit card user and what you should learn about a new credit card.
3. Dinks Finance shares what she learned about saving and spending during her no-spending spree.
4. Young and Thrifty lists 10 ways you can save hundreds of dollars every month.
5. One Money Design shares a recent credit card lesson he passed along to his daughter and reminds us that kids listen more than we think.
6. Buck$some Boomer reminds readers of the importance of not buying things you can’t afford and how to use credit wisely.
7. Careful Cents explains how bartering can be such a useful tool, especially if you own a business.
8. Enemy of Debt shares in great detail how she managed to pay off her significant debt.
9. Married (with Debt) discusses one of her methods for eliminating debt: selling things you don’t need.
10. I know kids are expensive, but I had no idea how much. Money Under 30 reveals the answer in this post about the cost of having a baby.