If it had not been for a savings account I kept secret from my husband, I'm not sure we would have stayed financially afloat during the Great Recession. According to a recent article by Fox News, American savings rates are low because neither men nor women will cop to their spending problems. My husband and I don't live extravagant lifestyles, yet we never used to have enough money to meet our savings goals.
When it comes to figuring out who has the spending problem in our family, it's difficult to get past the perceptions. My husband thinks I spend more. As proof, he point to my new Versace leather satchel. I think he spends too much. As evidence, I point to his expensive new golf clubs. A new study by MoneyRates.com cited by the Fox article indicates men and women don't communicate about their savings goals. Since the Great Recession, my husband and I have gotten on the same page so I know longer have to keep my saving a secret.
Agreeing on the amount
I used to keep a secret savings account because I was afraid my husband would dip into our savings for frivolous purchases. Now we set up savings goals on our online banking site. Every dollar saved each month is spoken for prior to the money going into our savings account. According to the study, 37 percent of women and 26 percent of men reported wanting to save the same amount of money as their spouse. By using the budget calculator, we figured out exactly how much we needed to save to reach our target-date savings goals.
Communicating about priorities
Part of the process of setting savings goals included communicating about our priorities. We agreed that we need to save $8,000 for a new air-conditioner to replace the old one in another 8 years. We set a goal of saving $3,000 for a down payment on a new car in two years. However, we couldn't agree on how much to save for a general emergency fund. My husband wanted to include money for his hobbies and trips. I wanted to save enough to cover 9 months of emergencies. In the end, we compromised.
Staying out of debt
It seems pointless to save money while at the same time running up credit card bills. After the recession, we adopted a new philosophy about credit. We go online to make a payment to our credit card company anytime we use the card. I total up anything we spent that day using credit. We never have a high credit card bill sneak up on us because we pay off the balance on a daily basis.
Although I was worried my husband would spend our savings, I am pleasantly surprised that he doesn't touch it. One of the reasons he doesn't feel the need to ravage our savings is because he has an "adult allowance" of $100 cash each week. I also receive $100 a week, which I typically save in case we ever hit another financial rough patch.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
More from this contributor:
- Financials Industry
- savings account