From the time I decided to become an attorney, my brain was always wrapped around the future.  Everything in life was set to mesh well with getting into and succeeding at law school.  That included finances.

Always careful to only take the exact amount of student aide to cover what my scholarships did not, I knew I didn’t like the idea of all that interest accruing.  I didn’t move out, I chose to stay living at home, where I could study, work, and not have to pay rent (plus I like my parents a lot, and staying wasn’t nearly the drag for me as others seemed to think it was).

Last week we talked about opening the finance lines of communication to cut back on unnecessary items. As you went through your budget with your spouse, there were certainly some areas that were not integral to living well, and you probably cut out the extras.

Continuing on our journey through relationships and finance, we come to discussing spending habits and the willingness to cut back on unnecessary items. This can be one of the trickier subjects to discuss because you both work hard for your money, and you both deserve to treat yourselves.

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly…to listen to stars and buds, to babes and sages, with open heart; await occasions, hurry never…this is my symphony.” –William Henry Channing

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It sums up my life philosophy so brilliantly, so simply, and whenever I lose sight of one of the ideas, it grounds me back to a more sane way of viewing my world.

”Jack Sprat could eat no fat, His wife could eat no lean,
But just between the two of them, They licked the platter clean.”

“There once was a girl from Nantucket…” Just kidding–we won’t go any further into that limerick. But I do have a point to the Jack Sprat poem: Sometime opposites attract. One man could have fat-related indigestion while his wife is an Atkins fanatic. Another man could be a Packers fan while his wife is a die-hard Bears fan. A third man could save every penny while his wife is a spendthrift. Whatever the case, sometimes the most unlikely pair can be the strongest.

Another suggestion from our post about becoming equals when it comes to finances is setting bit ticket spending limits with your spouse. When my husband and I were first engaged, we eased into a big ticket agreement pretty seamlessly. We have always asked each other if a $50+ non-standard purchase was OK. Then, once we got into the hundreds or thousands of dollars purchases, we have always bought the item together. Our TV, for example, was a joint purchase.

As 2010 winds down (where did the year go?!), there is still time to complete your 2010 finance resolutions and take care of other money-business before 2011 rolls in.  Wouldn’t it be nice to start 2011 with a clean, organized financial slate?  Let’s look at some ways you can begin the new year without adding 2010’s unfinished financial goals to your 2011 resolutions.

Clean Up Old Goals

When I was growing up, my mom managed to make the holidays the most magical time  of the year.  We always decorated the Christmas tree as a family.  "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" charmed us on family movie night, and cookie decorating was another holiday tradition.  Christmas dinner was always special (our holiday staples were green bean casserole and turkey).  Christmas Eve gifts never failed to please, and Santa's gifts were always over-the-top.  I knew that Christmas was the most wonderful family gathering of the year; but what I didn't know -- that we were terri

I have a very vivid memory of my twin girls' last birthday party.  You gotta picture it: our modest ranch home packed with close friends and family, balloons galore, pizza, wings, a Caillou cake (which is a story in and of itself!), and about a gazillion presents.  When it came time to open all of those glorious, glittery, girly packages, my gals could hardly contain their joy.  Gleefully, they tore into the presents, tissue and ribbons flying.