In this episode of Getting Money Right, we’re talking with Rachel and Rudy Rupert, a young couple who have recently married and have had to work through combining their finances. You’ll hear them share their experience, their challenges, and how they’ve worked together to make the blending of their finances successful. You’ll really enjoy the nuggets of truth and wisdom this couple will share in this episode.
1. Tell us about yourselves. How long have you been married? What do you do? What’s something significant that’s going on in your lives right now?
Rachel: We got married in September 2016, so we’ve been married a little over a year and a half. We both work at Gateway Church in different departments, and we’re expecting our first baby, a girl, in August of this year.
2. what has been the biggest adjustment to blending your finances together?
Rudy: I didn’t have a lot of experience in saving and it was a huge adjustment to learn how to save.
Rachel: The biggest adjustment was learning how to provide for everything we needed to make our life work. Not having had to take care of some of the expenses we had when we lived at home with our parents meant we had to learn how to make our money provide for what we needed and wanted.
3. What was the event or conversation that led you to believe and have hope in your ability to join your finances successfully?
Rachel: Taking the time to sit down and talk about what our expenses were and build momentum based on our numbers and what our budget needed to be to work well.
Rudy: Getting the clarity through the budget and managing it to realize that saving was definitely possible. No matter how much you make, saving a portion of it is possible if you gain the right mindset.
4. Rudy, how did you deal with the fear or concern of being able to provide for you and Rachel?
Rudy: I didn’t have fear about the budget but definitely wanted to learn and prove to Rachel that I could do it. I didn’t want her to see me as someone who couldn’t save or manage money well, especially since she was more experienced than me at managing money.
5. How would you each describe yourselves, as a Saver or spender?
Rachel: I am definitely more of a saver now, although I did struggle with becoming more of a saver early on when I first started working. I learned that focusing on goals helped me to become a better saver.
Rudy: I was a saver as a kid but then when I started working and spending I didn't continue saving. I formed the belief that the only way you could save is if you made a lot of money.
6. How have you worked together to become better at saving?
Rachel: My mindset was that saving was not “optional,” that it was part of the budget. Rudy didn’t have the same mindset and together we didn’t make it a priority early on. But, I kept bringing it up and encourage Rudy that we needed to make saving a priority and eventually it began to work, because the progress we made proved to me and especially to Rudy that we could have the things we needed and still save a significant amount. Doing it is what made it more of a reality for us and convinced us together to make it a priority.
7. What were some of the practical things you did hands on to make the blending of your finances possible and eventually more fun?
Rudy: We started talking about goals and setting goals for how we were going to spend our money. We were specific about what we were saving for and seeing the increase of our funds toward those goals was key to keeping us motivated.
Rachel: We focused on making sure that each of us got to share and include their desire for saving. Rudy wants to travel and I want for us to eventually buy a home. Both of these saving goals are important to us individually and together. Continuing to discuss these specific goals has been a great motivator in moving toward reaching them.
8. How often do you talk about your finances and your budget?
Rachel: Our goal is to do it often, at least weekly, and we do a pretty good job of that, especially now. We’ll also take the time at the end of each month to talk about how we’ve done and if there are any changes or things we need to watch for in future months.
Rudy: Talking and doing it together forces us to talk about what we’re trying to do and makes it more possible to succeed.
9. What system do you use for budgeting?
Rachel: We use YNAB and it’s been great software for us to keep on top of the budget. I use the phone app to enter transactions almost every time I have an expense, something the app allows me to do easily. Being able to enter the expenses and have real-time feedback has been a great way to stay accountable to what our budget actually is.
Rudy: The software was confusing at first, but since I've learned how to use it it’s been a great tool to help me see what I have to spend on the go and for us to stick to our budget.
10. Are you both engaged in managing the budget?
Rachel: Yes. We both take an active part in the budget. Sometimes it can be a challenge but you have to roll with the punches and have patience and grace with each other to succeed.
11. Who is the primary budget person? Is there one person who owns the management of the budget or do you do it together?
Rudy: At first it was Rachel because she had the knowledge and experience of how to do it. Once I learned how to use it it became something we started doing together. Once a month we go through every expense or area of spending. We’re in this together and that’s where the joy of doing this comes from, in the sharing of this responsibility and finding agreement.
12. How would you encourage couples in our listening audience to combine and start managing finances together?
Rachel: What’s worked for us is having a combined ownership of our money. Being fare to the other person and inviting them to dream with you about your plans for the future. Managing the money and making decisions without including the other person is not going to work. The potential and opportunities you'll have as you work together are greater than you could ever do on your own.
Rudy: You have to have grace and patience for the person who’s not yet up to speed on how to budget. Teach them if you can and give them time and encouragement and they'll learn to budget and value saving as much as you do.
Rachel: I also believe it’s crucial that you continue to reassess your budget and make room for the needs you have. Don’t be too rigid and keep your dreams and goals in focus and you’ll do great.