When we decided to compete on the couples' game show "Love Bank," we weren't sure what to expect. We had just moved in together two months before, so we knew we'd likely be at a disadvantage compared to couples who had been living together much longer.
Turns out, we were right!
But being on the show was an illuminating and informative experience. As actors, our income and costs can change drastically month to month. We've come to realize that establishing as much consistency as possible can better prepare us for the lean times.
For us, one quick fix is pulling back on food spending. We're discussing in more explicit terms what we're allowing or not allowing ourselves to spend money on. Challenging ourselves to cook more, pack more meals, eat out less, and buy fewer cappuccinos will help bring a little more consistency to our budgeting.
And talking about it with each other will keep both of us honest.
After the show, we were challenged ...
Though we've always been pretty good about communicating, this relationship strength does not always carry over to money.
Even when we did sometimes bounce ideas off of one another about how to spend, it wasn't in a super serious way. A few months back, for example, one of us spent a full week and a half hemming and hawing over whether or not to buy basketball sneakers, and one of us said she didn't really care either way and just begged the other to please decide already and stop bringing it up.
"Love Bank" taught us that even though we may make many of our financial decisions independently, we can still communicate more openly and work together.
... and we were inspired
Since appearing on the show (and losing) (twice),we've talked way more about our finances, particularly our goals. We realized spending is often a joint thing, so we came to the realization that setting money goals could also be a joint thing!
This may seem obvious to most couples, but we were really excited about the idea and prefer to believe we came up with it.
We make money independently, as we assume most of the couples on "Love Bank" do, but our planning for each of us to save up an equal amount to go on a trip together might give us more of an incentive to save in the first place. Matt even proposed making it a friendly competition, something he instantly regretted because Beth is very competitive and now will definitely win.
We've also found it easier to discuss more about some of our long term goals, like owning some real estate, or even like a plot of land, or more realistically a tiny bit of space in someone else's backyard where we could pitch a tent. Big stuff!
We still have room for growth and improvement, but we are taking daily strides to improve our financial habits and communication. Someday, we shall be money-and-relationship geniuses, and we'll be back on "Love Bank" to redeem ourselves.