Our Financial Story: Before Marriage


Our financial story begins before our marriage, in fact several months before we were even engaged. When you are 18 and 19 and hoping to be married soon, managing finances and being financially responsible is important.

We met the summer before my freshman year of college and began dating just before I started school. Within a few months, we were certain that we were going to be married and began making plans, mostly financial plans.

A little background on our individual financial situations:

I had a full scholarship with excess aid each semester which I budgeted and lived off of. With this money, I paid my car insurance, gas, food and everything I needed. I did not have a car payment and owned my vehicle thanks to my parents who gave me the vehicle since I earned a 4 year full ride scholarship. My parents basically allowed me to be completely independent and manage my own finances which I am grateful for.

John David was still living at home and had a scholarship which covered his tuition and books and gave him excess aid. He owned his truck also, thanks to his parents generosity. He also was working some on his family farm and earning some income there. 

Combined we had around $3,000 to $4,000 in savings. (Savings from our childhoods! Some of the money in my savings account was some of my summer babysitting money from previous years.)

Christmas break 2005 which we spent drafting budgets!

We spent time during Christmas break that year researching cost of living in our college town and drafting budgets. We realized that by living in married student housing while in school we could save nearly 50% on rent versus living off campus. Neither one of us were thrilled by the idea of cinder block walls. However, we kept in mind that living in an old campus apartment would save us a ton of money since rent was less, water and internet were included and it was within walking distance to school.

Once we decided we would live on campus, we took the figure for rent and began drafting up a couple of budgets. One was based on current scholarships, one was based on my scholarship and a scholarship John David qualified for, another was based on my scholarship and both of us working a few hours a week making minimum wage. With each of these three scenarios, we were able to make the income and expenses match.

We shared these budgets with our parents to show them that financially we could make it work. The numbers were convincing and we were given their blessings to be married.

We were engaged in April of 2006 and married May 27th.

Next Post: The Wedding

responses to “Our Financial Story: Before Marriage” 8

  1. That is such a good idea! There is a lot people can learn from hearing others' financial stories. I might post ours on my blog at some point!

  2. Mmm.. love reading this again! Thanks for sharing 🙂 On the flip side, we got married and I only had $200 in savings and we had close to no idea how we would make things work – sounds sorta romantic, but it actually caused a good bit of chaos! Being organized and having a plan (knowing God may have another) has improved our marriage 110%.

  3. Hi Rachel! Thank you for sharing your story. It's so important for people to plan out their finances while they are young and try to get debt free as soon as they can (well- to try to avoid it in the first place!). We too are debt free. I am a SAHM and I do feel like some people have made me feel bad for staying at home (saying things like "early retirement" lol) but we worked very hard to get rid of debt right from the start. Also, I just stay away from the mall! And try not to buy stuff that I don't really need. I feel like we sacrificed a lot in the beginning in order for me to be in this position.

    Anyway, I typed in simple living and found your blog… can't wait to check out your site and learn more! I am on a journey to live more simply and I love seeing how others are living simply! So thanks 🙂

    1. Allegra,

      Thanks for commenting, nice to 'meet' you! It sounds like we're very similar! And, the whole not buying stuff you really don't need makes it so much easier to be debt free and stay home. 🙂

  4. I think it is great that you are sharing your story. I am looking forward to getting to you know you better and learning from you as you continue to share!

    PS. Your blog has recently become one of my favorites. 🙂

  5. Mark Rotstein helps manage the day to day aspects of their holdings so they can focus on the things that are most important to them rather than managing the minutia of money matters. Because he takes on the burden of these enormous responsibilities on behalf of the family, they are able to enjoy the privileges that go along with their enormous responsibilities.

  6. I adore perusing this once more! Much obliged for sharing 🙂 On the other side, we got hitched and I just had $200 in reserve funds and we had near no clue how we would make things function – sounds sorta sentimental, however it really brought on a decent piece of disorder!

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