Finally Thinking Better About Our Finances

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Ben and I got married right out of college. We started dating in 9th grade, got engaged the summer after our Junior year at UNH, and then got hitched the October after we graduated (best.party.ever!). We were young and knew very little about “real world” finances. We both had jobs, so that was a start, but neither of us had much experience with retirement accounts, savings, or real life bills. It took us a bit by surprise at first as I am sure it does most young, married couples.

Soon after getting married, 9 months to be exact, we moved into our first home. We bought a townhouse in a great neighborhood, overlooking a golf course. It was awesome. I still think that to this day. So homeowner problems set in. There were issues, like when the basement needed a dehumidifier, or when we found out we needed to fix and re-grade the deck out front. These issues, we were not so financially prepared for. I mean, you just pay the mortgage and everything else falls into place, right? Wrong. There are things. Things you need to save for! Luckily, we once again had good jobs to fall back on.

Three years later we got pregnant with C. We were ready to move into a single family home, so we got ready to sell. It was a great market for sellers in 2006, and we got out with just a smidge more than we had put down in the first place. Score! We bought a beautiful home and lived there learning more and more every year about the expenses needed to take care of a house AND a family. Once again, paying the mortgage and monthly bills didn’t cut it. There were {TONS} of other expenses to budget for. Wait, what’s that word? Budget? Oh yeah.

Finally, in the last 4 years, we learned more and more about that word. To us, budget meant coming together and making a pact to talk about purchases. We needed to make a list of priorities and follow through with it. And that we did. We worked hard to get out of consumer debt. We worked hard to save up. We worked hard to communicate.

Now, as we prepare to move to a city where the cost of living is 2 times higher than where we’re coming from, we aren’t afraid of the financial challenge it will pose. Sure, we may be losing a boatload of money on our house (darn housing market)!, but we gained a financial maturity over the last 7 years that allows us to deal with these unfortunate circumstances.

Ben and I have found that it is incredibly important to:

  • Communicate – What are the priority purchases that need to happen? Do you need a new water heater or a new trampoline first? We talk about everything. And no purchase over $100 without talking!
  • Save – Always have a little something to fall back on. A lot is better, but a little will do. This little savings is great for when your water heater and furnace break on the same day three days before Christmas! Totally happened:/
  • Work toward retirement – Come on, you don’t want to have to work until your 80 so put something away for when you go sailing above the earth with a handful of balloons. Wait, that’s a movie. Oh well, it can still be a dream!
  • Budget – Know what you spend and where it goes. What is your normal water bill? How about heat? Groceries? Can you get the cost down?

We certainly live by the motto that we don’t want to die with hundreds of thousands of dollars (okay, that may be an exaggeration;) but come on, we don’t want to make our kids struggle to pay for things for us either when we are old and happy!

How do you keep your finances in order?

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well being. They help you get organized, make a plan, and stay on track so you can get and stay in control of your finances. When you are confident about about your money, you can save for your goals and splurge knowingly on waht matters most to you.

To get started visit suntrust.com/getorganized.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

About Lauryn Blakesley


A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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