Tag Archives: Communication

Financing a wedding

D’Oh! The Dough!

I’ve had this post sitting on the side for a while now and I got a big kick in the pants last night that is directly related to my thoughts here. Hope you enjoy it.

One of the things that I read on all sorts of relationship and finance blogs is that if nothing else, establishing financial goals is paramount to success, especially in marriage. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but a vast number of marriages are plagued with financial woes and that is something I never want to deal with.

How we’ve done it so far:

Since we are not married we have everything separate still. She does control the purse strings when it comes to the wedding spending, but we are planning it together so I do have a significant say in where that goes. For the most part isn’t my money anyhow. (Thank you Eric and Joy, and Mom and Dad! We are truly blessed to have you supporting us!) The costs of weddings are absurd to me. I regularly claim to know we would save money by not inviting anyone and heading down to the courthouse, but then I get a face full of “This has been my dream since I was little,” or “Why don’t you love me,” or, my personal least favorite, “No you can’t get the family sized bag of chips.”

So looking beyond the wedding, but backtracking to several months ago, I insisted that Jess attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class with me. If you are unfamiliar with it I cannot recommend it enough! He teaches a Biblically focused, common sense approach to money management through a “Baby Steps” program. While we are not following it to a ‘T’ now, we will when she is making money instead of hemorrhaging it.

The precipice is relentlessness attack on debt and slowly building wealth. He suggests making a zero-based budget and sticking to it. Easier said than done! Since this is not a finance blog I am just going to say a quick blurb on this: Take all the money you earn and assign it to some aspect of your life: bills, savings, spending, etc. My final word about budgets comes as an anecdote told by Mr. Ramsey, abridged by me: You cannot save for retirement if you eat your life’s savings at restaurants every month.

The short story on the baby steps is to have an emergency fund of 6 months of spending, paying down debt, saving for retirement, paying off your home (or saving for one), and building wealth and giving to charity. So here is my attestation to the power of the baby steps.

I have a meager emergency fund saved up; I am terrible about sticking to my budget so it isn’t as high as it should be. It would also be higher if I wouldn’t have spent so much on a certain piece of jewelry… Anyhow, yesterday evening Jess and I were at the local organic grocery store when, with no warning at all, the battery in my car died. My first step was to call AAA and get a tow truck sent to me. I called and talked to them while Jess went looking for someone that could jump me. Unfortunately, the good Samaritan and I were not able to get my car to start. I think I might have not grounded the black cable correctly, so inexplicably I could not get my car started. Once she left and the tow truck hooked up his jumping kit, my car started immediately.

I dropped Jess off at home and made a beeline for the auto parts store. The clerk tested my battery and it didn’t even have enough power to make the horn honk or lock my doors. Trying to get it to honk was the only fun part of this whole adventure. I ended up spending $154 on a new battery and didn’t bat an eye. Not only because it was something that I really needed for my day to day life, but because I have that money in the bank for a situation like this. I got home and wasn’t even in a bad mood over the whole thing. It’s a blessing to be able to not worry about “little” things like that.

On very happy news, I am writing this post on the heels of recently receiving a raise at work and getting a notification of my first payment from this blog. ($10!! Guess who’s going thrift shopping!) So I graciously thank everyone who has read this and continues to come back! Maybe some day I won’t need those raises and can just live off of this!

I am also working on a little section for the site of things that I am reading now. More updates on that to come.

Tri Bike Ride Together

The Couple that Runs Together

Over our two year relationship, Jess and I have had a lot of firsts. The first time Jess went to Med School, the first time I moved back to Ohio, the first time I wasn’t allowed to eat as many chips as I wanted, and, this past Saturday was another first, our first triathlon!

If you don’t know, a triathlon is a race with a swim, a bike, then a run. They come in a variety of distances from sprint (500-750 yard swim, 10-15 mile bike, 5k) to Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) and beyond. The one we did yesterday was on the shorter side of sprint distances, but it was a blast. The bike and run were a little hillier than expected, but I suppose with a name like “Hocking Hills” it could be worse than anticipated.

Getting close to the finish

Brittany ran along with us cheering as we neared the finish

I started doing triathlons 2 years ago and loved them ever since. And to reinforce just how addicting the sport is, as I was writing this, from behind her computer, breaking out of her studying hermitage for barely a moment, Jess asked, “Can we do another triathlon?” After which we spent half an hour looking for a couple more to do before the weather gets too cold.

To get back to the title of this post takes me to another first that we had a year and a half ago. When Jess and I first met she had never done any sort of organized race. So after a small amount of cajoling I talked her into running a 5k at school. I’m not going to say she was hooked then, but I was able to, again, cajole her into running a trail 10k with me when she came out to Kansas City for the first time. There is an embarrassing story that goes along with this, but I will save that for some other time, possibly when I need to get revenge or when she isn’t sitting close enough to hit me…

So Jess may never run a trail race again, but the advice given to us by several other racers has stuck with me. The couple that runs together stays together.

It’s a simple thought but has enormous implications to me. Being able to work out together, I think, has a much greater propensity for relationship growth than many, if not all, couple-type hobbies. My reasoning behind this is because of the level of fatigue associated with it compared to other things that couples do. Two of our favorite things to do together are cook and paint. Neither of which require stamina or skill. Sure, Jess is a fantastic cook and has a keen eye for painting, but there is no driving factor behind it. It’s a single meal. A lone canvas. An item submitted for my and her approval. The only way to judge something like this is to wait until the end and offer a critique.

When I paint I am in my own space, I know a color goes here and a color goes there and there is not much I can be told on how I see the picture coming together, but when I run with Jess, I do not have that luxury. I may help dictate the pace, but I cannot quit out or determine when I will stop. I am accountable for my finish time as well as hers.

I think it is a wonderful dynamic. I love working out in any way together and I think the key is to know each other limitations or if you do not know them you get to learn them. Jess is not as good as I am at riding a bike, so I have to slow down. I am not as good at swimming or running, so she has to deal with a little more walking than she wants. No matter what, by the end of a race I feel closer to Jess than before and we both have a huge sense of accomplishment that we get to share.

This might be most evident in, and forgive me for jumping back a bit, the evening after the 10k. You see, just two nights before this, Jess finally agreed to be my girlfriend. After months of trying and growing closer to her over phone calls and long nights on skype she was at least “that” in to me. What she did not know was that I had been harboring far deeper feelings than wanting to be a boyfriend. What finally brought out that first, gasp-inducing, feeble “I love you” was not just the couple of beers liquid courage beforehand, but the closeness I felt doing something that we both felt great about and finished together.

Congratulations on your first triathlon finish, Jess!

End of the race

Hopefully I can update you on another race soon!

Dr. Studylove

Or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Exam.

If you have no idea what that is referencing you should brush up on your classic films. There will be a quiz on it next post.

Hope you are all ready for a post that has nothing to do with weddings!

Jess and I have not really had a close, as in proximity, relationship. We have gone from Kansas City/Cleveland, to a few months being around each other, right back to what might be worse than Kansas City’s distance. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a short hour and a half drive away, but the lack of time together, over the phone or skype, has been hard to deal with and I am torn over my feelings on this.

On one hand I am hurt and jealous. I get such a minuscule amount of Jess’s time. I had become accustom to being able to reach her at any moment and that is no longer the case. Between classes, lab time, and study time, I am resigned to mere moments a day and even when I am with her for the weekends I am generally sitting in a study room with her and several others until all hours of the night listening to them prattle on about bones and arteries and other boring stuff. To put it plainly, I feel neglected… Seriously, it is really boring stuff and she doesn’t even bring me good snacks…

But! The other hand! Now the other hand! I know that everything Jess is learning is going to help her succeed. I know that I am sacrificing some time with her now in the hopes that we will have a life together that we will get much more time together. I have the privilege of being one of her closest and strongest supporters. On a more selfish note, I have a whole lot of time to do whatever I want! Which, at this point, is prepare for the GRE and GMAT. After early November I am not sure what I will look to for self betterment, but I am sure I will find something. Maybe I can finally get that ukulele I was wanting…

This weekend was a bit of a breaking point for me. I have spent the past couple weeks being dejected and offended and this culminated in me expressing my dissatisfaction, albeit not well. When I first started having these feelings it was along the lines of, “she never makes time for me” or “I hate that I can never reach her”. I focused on her and that was not the right stance to take. It took some serious introspection and self examination while driving to my client’s site on Sunday for me to really understand what I was feeling. I know that things are not perfect now, nor will they ever be, but that does not mean I can’t make the best of the situation.

One of the big things that I had forgotten was that I need to trust in God. I would not be here, in the position I am in, with the wonderful woman I am with, or with all the blessing I have without Him. There are multitudes of reasons why I should be thanking Him and praising him, but my vision gets too cloudy some times. I get tied up on what’s going on around me and what I want to have happen and forget that it isn’t up to me.

The moral of the story: Medical school is hard on both people in a relationship for different reasons. If you are in my position, keep loving them and get busy with your own interests, even if you have to do it in a study room on campus. If you are on the other side, don’t forget you have a significant other.