Sunday, January 31, 2010

For Poorer

Fact: currently, my lovely fiance and I are broke as a joke.


The state of our finances is not a surprise. Last year, we lived in a pretty cheap city, and we each made a salary. This year, we've moved to a city with a ridonkulous cost of living, and with me in grad school full time, we're living on the earnings from my work-study job, Mr. O's freelance work in news production, and his second job waiting tables. Basically, our rent doubled and our joint income got cut in half. We knew that this year was going to be the leanest one we've ever had.

Even though we were prepared, I'm not gonna lie: it's been tough sometimes. We get the rent and the bills paid every month, and we have groceries in the fridge, but between our determination to stay out of credit card debt and our commitment to cover all the minor wedding expenses that pop up, we have virtually no room in the budget for leisure expenses.

Since we've had to cut the extras so short, I've been missing the things we did together and the dates we went on in years past: trying different restaurants, going to the movies, taking road trips, and so on. Boston is a fantastic city, and I have had many pangs of wishing we had more budgetary freedom to explore it.

However, there are two bright aspects of our brokeitude. The first is that we've been such a good team during this transition. Mr. Octopus and I have communicated a whole lot about how to manage our finances, and I feel very reassured by the fact that our general money stress hasn't been compounded by fighting. I'm sure that this is not the last time over the course of our lives that we'll have tough financial times, so it's comforting to know that we can manage it together, peacefully.

The second is that we've really been reminded to appreciate what we already have. Our dates these days consist of anything that's free. Our Friday night this week involved homemade pizza, beer, and watching Food, Inc. on the Netflix website. It was very quiet and very low-key, but we made it fun! It also makes the days that we do scrounge up a little extra cash--like this morning, when we went out to breakfast for the first time in what felt like one bajillion years--seem extra special.

We went to The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square, and it was TOTALLY worth the 40-minute (!!!) wait to be seated.

I think my picture is blurry because Mr. O was getting the shakes from being so excited to eat his meal.

Our year of stingy living has not always been fun or easy, and I will not miss it at all when I graduate in May and get a job again. But it has been a good learning experience, and it's given us the opportunity to support each other. Last weekend, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, because our lack of funds forced us to turn down a friend's invitation to something that sounded like a lot of fun. Mr. O was very sweet in sympathizing with my disappointment, but also reminded me that even the security to pay the rent and bills every month is a luxury that many people don't have, so I needed to buck up. He was right, and it totally helped.

When you're going through something tough with your significant other, how do you support each other?

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