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.)
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