Previous Post: The Wedding

After we were married, the real fun began, making our tight budget work and living below our income in an attempt to save a little money to make life a little easier  upon graduation.

The first few months we were married, before school began, we lived with John David’s grandparents and then his parents (about a month and a half at each home.) This kept our living expenses down and we were able to save most of our income.

John David basically was a farmer that summer, managing his grandparents farm while they were away in Alaska and he continued helping on the farm once they returned. I worked as a mother’s helper to a mama of 8 who lived just up the road. That was an educational experience for a young newlywed. I did everything from helping prepare lunch, to cleaning bathrooms, to helping with the baby. I learned some tricks about running a household and caring for children. This really was the perfect job for me since John David and I both desired to have children and for me to stay home once they arrived.

We saved as much money as we could from our earnings during the summer and added it to our savings account.

In our little apartment

Once we began school that fall, we settled into our 572 square foot apartment and  we began living on our budget based off of our excess scholarship aid. We were a bit nervous since it was so tight but we learned to live within the budget and soon found it wasn’t all that hard. Sure, we couldn’t go out to eat anytime and we didn’t have money to spend on a lot of entertainment but we were living quite comfortably on our $160 grocery budget and even ate out one or two times a month with the $25 we had budgeted for eating out.

We were given our excess aid at the beginning of each semester and we divided it by 6. The money lasted us 6 months and by the time the 6 months was up, we had our aid for the next semester. The nice thing about this, we knew exactly what our income was each month so it made budgeting easy and there was no stress in our marriage regarding money. It was wonderful as a college student to not have any stress related to finances. We never argued about money because we stuck to the budget and lived below our income.

During the summer of 2007, before beginning our final year of college, we both interned in Nashville, TN. John David had an unpaid internship and mine at Tennessee Farmers Cooperative {TFC} in Communications was paid. Since we divided up our excess aid up each semester by 6, we had enough money to cover our budgeted expenses for the entire summer.

Everything I made was basically bonus money. After tithes, we were able to save my income from that summer. We used a portion of my summer earnings to pay cash for a new MacBook. I used the new computer to continue working for TFC transcribing from home once school began. Since I was working (about 15 hours a month) we were bringing in income that we were able to save. At this point, we decided to get serious about saving money in hopes to put 20% down on a house shortly after graduation!

Playing in the snow outside our campus apartment

One of the biggest lessons we learned during the 2 years that we were in college and married was contentment. We learned to love our tiny apartment which we made into our home and be content with the things we were blessed with. Most importantly, we learned to work as a team in regards to finances. We trusted one another fully and didn’t hide spending from one another which has given our marriage a solid foundation!

Next Post: After Graduation




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