By Lexi DeRock
My response to whoever said “Money can’t buy happiness” has always been that they just don’t know where to shop. Of course, I say that jokingly as I know that money doesn’t always solve peoples problems. That being said, money is often the source of a great many problems!
I’ve not always been so good with saving money in the past, and I’ve run up my fair share of credit cards, but I learned from those mistakes and I’ve always been an independent person who managed to pay my bills and not get myself too much in the way of debt. In fact in the past few years of running my own hair, makeup and photography business I’ve actually managed to do fairly well and see my piggy bank grow!
However, this last year of my life has seen a great many changes, most of which have been fantastic but some have been definitely challenging.
This year I got married to a fantastic fella and moved halfway across the globe and found myself in a completely new world of challenges and thrills!
I left Paris, France (and the business I built for myself there) to move to Melbourne, Australia and the life I hope to build here. Overall I could not be happier with how my newest chapter is going. We found a lovely little house to rent with a massive back yard for Satchmo, the furriest member of our little family. Married life agrees with us both and we want the same things for our future. Only one little four letter word is impeding our blissful happiness…BUDGET.
I know that budget is a 6 letter word, but for all the negativity and taboo surrounding the topic of money it may as well be as bad as a swear word in church. For the first time in my life I’ve found my finances entwined with those of another, and that lumped together with some of the challenges of immigration and a desire to spend more time together have created a necessity for a meeting of the minds and pocketbooks.
As I said before, I left the business I built when I moved countries and that was something I knew would be very difficult to let go. However I also see it as a wonderful opportunity to change, refine and recalibrate my business to suit the next stages. Unfortunately the re-building process was forced to be placed on hold as it took several months for me to gain the right to work upon my arrival. Therefore my husband was put in the stressful position of having to be the soul breadwinner and I had the uncomfortable task of feeling generally useless and unhappy in not being able to contribute financially and becoming dependent on someone else for my money. This is something I came to find out, does not sit well with me.
In the 9 months or so that we’ve been married my husband, an accountant by trade (yes, I see the irony) decided to undertake a law degree, (which I fully support) and I decided to study to become a doula (birth assistant for those that don’t know). Both of these things are definitely the best decision for us in the long term but in the short term it puts a strain on our bank account and the amount of time we have for one another
A few months ago my husband was in a well-paying but stressful job, requiring him to work very long hours which, in combination with school, didn’t leave much time for family, friends and fun. So we decided the best thing would be for him to resign and look for something that would allow him that work life balance we both want, even if that means taking a pay cut to get it. Again, this is a choice we know is best for us but during the time it takes until he finds a job it puts me in the breadwinner hot seat and makes budgeting carefully a necessity.
After lots of thumbing round the internet, articles and books we’ve drawn up a strict budget to get us out of our debt, through this economic dryspell and into the home and life we see for ourselves.So stay tuned for the next post where I start to share with you the budgeting tools we are implementing, the tricks and tips we find for saving money and to hear the rantings of a newlywed American living in the upside down part of the world!