4th Year In Review

Budget Blonde WeddingSince the hubs and I got married on January 2, I post a “year in review” at the start of every new year on the blog.

It’s meant to capture the highs and lows of a year of our marriage just so we can remember the good, the bad, and the crazy.

You can see my review of our 3rd year, 2nd year, and 1st year on the blog too.

I love that I randomly started this little tradition because it’s really fun to see the progression.

We’ve definitely changed a lot over the past few years. Our first year of marriage was really rough with a lot of long distance and basically just getting used to the whole idea of being stuck together fo’ life. It took me a long time to get comfortable with the big change that year, but I can say that each year has gotten progressively better, more comfortable, and more successful too.

Just as a recap, I would say the most important thing that happened our 1st year of marriage was that the hubs got accepted to medical school. It was such a huge milestone for us and really changed the course of our lives since we would then move to Grenada and I would quit my job, etc.

I would say the most memorable part of our 2nd year of marriage was moving to Grenada, and it would be hard to forget my harrowing experience of being sucked into a flash flood in the rain forest but immediately rescued by the quick thinking and quick hands of the women who were with me.

And, the most notable thing about our 3rd year of marriage was that we paid off all of our credit card debt. What an awesome feeling!

Of course, I’m sure you can guess the highlight of our 4th year of marriage – getting pregnant with our twins of course. :)

Here are some other highs and lows from year #4:

  • We had three months of long distance total. In past years, we’ve spent as much as 5 months living apart, so this was definitely better!
  • Little Julep turned 4. She also decided to eat dark chocolate the night before we moved back to the States for good and was extremely sick on the entire plane ride home.
  • The hubs finished his notoriously hard second year of medical school and is now ready to start hospital rotations so he can pick his specialty and then apply to residency in a year or so.
  • I had my last year of teaching English at the university and possibly my last year of having a traditional 9-5 ever.
  • It was our first full year of being credit card debt free, and we dutifully paid off our credit cards in full every month.
  • I opened an IRA and maxed it out.
  • We did not have to dip into our emergency fund.
  • I got published on the Huffington Post and interviewed by Huffington Post Live and Google +.
  • The hubs traveled to India with several of his classmates and had an amazing time.

India Budget Travel 4

  • In July, my freelance income surpassed my day job income for the first time ever and continued to do so throughout the rest of the year. This gave me the confidence to try out blogging full time in 2014.
  • Every year I post the #1 thing that we argued about. The last few years, it’s always been chores haha, and don’t get me wrong, we still nitpick about those. However, I would say the hardest thing we dealt with this year as a couple was just the stress of the 2nd year of medical school. There were times when I just couldn’t be the good, supportive wife for the hubs because his stress level in school was so unreal. I felt like there were many times this past year where my supply of “You can do it!” really ran dry, and I would have to just let him deal with his own work and retreat into mine. When we got pregnant with the twins, though, I feel like we really made the babies our priority. It was super distracting for the hubs to do school and me to work while worrying if the twins were both healthy, but it definitely reaffirmed our devotion to each other and our family and made us work better as a team for the last half of the year. The med school life is crazy, but I still believe in my heart of hearts that it’s worth it.
  • Of course, I spent many days enjoying Grenada in 2013, hanging out at the pool and drinking pina coladas…that is, until I couldn’t drink pina coladas anymore haha.
  • I continued to make a ton of new blog friends and even got to meet one in person on New Year’s Eve!
  • I still don’t like to cook and wonder if I ever will…
  • We found out the twins were boy/girl. What an incredibly fun day that was. Still can’t believe we got that lucky.
  • boy girl twinsWe moved back to the United States after several years in Grenada and definitely had to deal with some culture shock.
  • I saved 60% of our income in the month of November – I don’t know if that will ever happen again, but I’ll surely try. :) Also, our total 2013 income was more than double that of 2012, which was a really big confidence builder for me to give full time blogging a try.
  • We’re still in love, so very excited to meet our children soon, and hope to really stay open minded, communicative, and understanding as we adjust to having two babies in our homes very soon.

Can’t wait to write the recap for year #5 now! Have a great day everyone!

The Hubs Wins A Money “Discussion”

Marriage and Money

By: Allison Gray

I’ve written a bunch about marriage and money before, but I’ve never really discussed a specific incident where the hubs and I disagreed on how money should be handled.

It’s actually pretty rare for us to full out argue about money because we have our system really down pat.

I can maybe count one time in almost four years of marriage when we had a big money showdown fight, and that’s because he forgot to pay the water bill about two weeks into married life…

Lame argument, I know.

After all, there are way better things to fight about when you’re married, like whose turn it is to sweep the floor and do the dishes (which, if you’ve ever seen one of our yearly anniversary updates, you’ll know that “chores” are the #1 thing the hubs and I bicker about.)

Still, we don’t really argue too much about money in particular since we don’t really spend a lot, and we’re committed to the same goals. There are times when I don’t understand why he wants to purchase a particular item, but since he has his own discretionary amount to spend every month, I can’t really say much. Luckily he can’t say much about the $50 I spent on makeup the other day either due to the same principle. :D

So, let’s not call this an argument. Let’s call it a discussion.

The Discussion

I wanted to pay off a big chunk of student loans.

My student loan balance is still completely stupid high. It’s around $33,800 now, but I just love seeing “33″ in the front of the number and not “39″ like it used to be. Gotta celebrate the small victories.

One of the things I really wanted to do by the end of the year was bring that balance below $30,000. Seriously, how amazing would it be to see a “2″ in front of that loan amount?! (I even wrote about this goal on DC’s blog.)

So, I wanted to go ahead and put 4k towards the loans (2k in November and 2k in December), because I currently have the income to do so since my blog and freelance writing biz continue to bring in more money than my day job ever since July.

Hubs Said No

I’m actually glad I ran this by the hubs, because normally I would just go ahead and do it since I am in charge of day-to-day finances (and he’s in charge of long term investing.) Yet, something told me to mention it to him because it was kind of a high number.

He immediately was all, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Of course, his reason was – you guessed it – theĀ  twins. :) (For those of you who don’t know, we’re expecting two bundles of joy in April)

He explained that just because we currently have the income doesn’t mean we should spend it, even if it is for a good cause.

Also, come January, my contract with my day job will be over, and I will only have my business income. It means no more double income, which is a bummer, but it is also necessary because I can’t keep doing both at once. (It’s really hard.) So, even though I argued that my business income would still be steady next year (since it was very solid July-October,) the hubs felt it wasn’t enough to rely on, since we have no idea how the whole raising-two-brand-new-kids thing will go.

We also will have to add on some more expenses next year. For one, we’re moving across the country in May. We want to start college savings funds for the twins. We want to get life insurance for me. The hubs already has it (for my readers abroad, check out AAMI Life Insurance.) Plus, there are all sort of things to buy for the twins, and twins are more prone to health issues, so we don’t know if we will have to pay for extra healthcare.

My Side of It

My argument was that despite all of the uncertainty, we could still comfortably bring my student loans under 30k by the end of the year. We have an emergency fund in place (3k). I’ve saved the funds to completely max out my IRA, so that’s taken care of. I have put 7k in a savings account just for the twins with the goal of filling it to 10k by the time they come in April. I even have a vacation fund that’s fully funded and a moving fund halfway funded. We’ve even already purchased 90% of our Christmas gifts and will have no rent until May because we’re staying with family.

So, I felt really confident putting funds towards my students loans, but I understand the hubs’ point about the unknown. We’re both super nervous about being first time parents to two kids no less, so if the hubs feels more comfortable having an even bigger cash reserve, I can’t blame him for that.

Basically, when he said no, I dropped the issue and that was that (gotta let ‘em win sometimes, ladies!) I think it’s a wise choice in the end though since I know next year is going to bring a lot of changes and big moves and parenting and me being a full time business owner, so things might get crazy…

What do you think? Was the hubs right to say hold off on the loan payments or do you think paying them off would have been okay given how much we’ve already saved up for next year?