When we got hit by a huge electricity bill
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. My husband and I were enjoying our coffee when the doorbell rang. It was the landlord. The landlord handed over the electricity bill. Without opening the envelope, my husband gave it to me and said “Honey, please pay the bill tomorrow.”
I opened the bill and saw the amount. It was Rs 10,000. I said very calmly, “Honey, I don’t have this much money in my account, so you pay it.”
“Even I don’t have this much,” he said.
And then we started to blame each other ‘you don’t take care of your expenses’ ‘you are so irresponsible’ ‘you waste so much money’ ‘you are an extravagant person’ and continued the argument. After a good amount of disagreement and discussion we both sat down and took another cup of coffee.
Related reading: How money issues can ruin your relationship
We asked for help
“Now instead of fighting with each other and blaming, we need to find a solution. Our credit card limit is also exhausted, we cannot use that. I think we will have to borrow from someone,” I said. My husband agreed to this and that someone was my elder sister. She helped us and also scolded us. She sat us down and said, “You’ve been married for the past 3 years and are working in responsible positions, how can you be so careless? Don’t you know how to manage your finances? Soon you will be having a baby. How will you plan her future if you don’t manage your finances properly?”
This did not end there. My father found out and even he gave us a piece of his mind. He was an investment advisor. We showed him our credit card bills, shopping bills and all types of bills…. Gosh, that was awful. We showed him our salary slips (I really never wanted to, but had no option) and last but not the least when he asked about our savings, our face was blank. What savings?
And we both very proudly answered him, “We never thought of that.” That was the last statement about savings in our life. From that day started our journey of managing our finances. Unlike other couples, we both were aware of each other’s salary. He knew my banking details and I knew his; that trust and transparency we shared with each other. Hence, when it came to manage finances together, we both took responsibility.
Related reading: Finances have long been troubling us
How to start saving your money
Here is the advice my dad gave us for managing and till date we adhere to it happily.
- At the start of the month, list your expenses and try to spend accordingly. This habit will help in managing your income.
- Spend from one salary and keep the other. This step not only helps in creating an emergency account, but also in maintaining a bank balance.
- Prohibit use of credit cards for shopping, movies and fun activities. It should be ONLY a means for emergencies.
- At least start on any two investment plans in the market.
Now the question was how to choose among the best plans and how to invest in them. What are the key points to be kept in mind at the time of plan maturity, when to withdraw or reinvest?
Related reading: 15 clever ways of saving money as a couple
How to choose an investment plan
Our super advisor, my dad, said, “Yes, it is a bit difficult task, but then you both have to be educated about the investment plans. Keep the following points in mind.”
- Visit the banks where you have your salary accounts and ask them about their saving options.
- In addition to the banks, also reach out to nonbanking financial companies. These companies have really good saving options.
- Check out insurance policies from prominent insurance providers. Choose a trusted institution.
- Don’t be in haste; always read the terms and conditions carefully.
- Do the calculation yourself and check if the financial advisor is telling you the right amount.
- Seek guidance from people who have been investing for many years.
- In addition, each one should open a PPF account.
We were listening to my dad like an obedient students, without saying a single word.
This is how my husband and I started our financial investment; after all, it is our hard earned money.[This story is part of a series featuring SHEROES members from the Aspiring Writers Community]