In this monthly column, Felicity gives advice of all kinds to readers. Send your questions to FelicityMaeKnow@gmail.com for a chance to have your questions answered!
Q: How do I tell my spouse I need some me-time?
- Joel G.
A: Communicate! Couples should be able to survive if they don’t spend a day or two together. Many times, getting away for a while can help you get the “refresh” you desperately need! You should always feel like you can talk to your partner and engage in honest, understanding conversation. If you need a bit of alone time to recharge, you shouldn’t feel bad about that and neither should your partner. If they are the type to worry, reassure them that you love them but just need an hour or an evening to rejuvenate. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, try not to ever leave things on a bad note. Perhaps you can encourage them to go catch up with a friend, go for a run, or take a long bath so that they see the merits in “me-time” as well. Plus, this would be the perfect opportunity for them to watch that movie you really didn’t want to sit through. Moral of the story: communicate!
Q: What tips do you have for making and maintaining a budget?
A: Handling money is by no means an easy task, so I’ve enlisted the help of a few incredible and talented colleagues to give you a variety of financial tips and tricks. I have changed their names here for privacy purposes. Shannon, with an extensive background in banking and Wall Street, says to be realistic with your budget. Know that things come up and that you won’t always comply with your allowance. To maintain your budget, Shannon insists that there are no “ifs, ands, or buts,” stick to it. Bridgette, hotelier and event extraordinaire, suggests making a spreadsheet of all income and expenses and only using a credit card when you have the money to pay it off. She also mentioned that reducing your beer budget may or may not help. Placing your bills in a visible location can motivate you to keep working until you’ve earned enough to pay x number of bills. Charlie, an architect with Baker-Barrios, recommends decreasing square footage (Thanks, Charlie). Juan, operations director and jack of all trades, says not to think of things as “only costing ten dollars” because, at the end of the day, it’s ten dollars. How many “only ten dollars” items or subscriptions will you succumb to? Eventually, those things really add up, and one day (if you’re like me), you may be wishing you had those ten dollars back. Lastly, Ulysses, CEO and outstanding Marine, shared an unconventional yet effective strategy to manage and maintain your budget: use only cash for a month. Grab one envelope for each category of your budget (i.e., one envelope for gas, one envelope for rent, etc.), and put the cash you think you’ll need into each category’s envelope. If you run out, you run out! Do your best to make each allotment last until it’s time to draft your next budget, where you can adjust the amounts as necessary.
Q: How do you decide whose side of the family to spend the holidays with?
A: While relationships do sometimes involve sacrifice, it’s important to be fair when deciding to spend the holidays with either side of the family. Try alternating every year, or if you’re truly torn, see about celebrating the day before or after or even on the same day but at a different time. Two Thanksgiving meals can be one’s greatest holiday dream, but splitting your time can be a huge source of stress. When the food coma hits, the last thing some people want to do is get up and do it all over again somewhere else. Stay fair in choosing where to celebrate. If you dread spending that coveted time with the in-laws, remind yourself that getting to know your partner’s family and strengthening those bonds can be rewarding and beautiful. Maybe, at some point, you can combine both families for the festivities. Keep in mind that there is a multitude of people out there without family nearby or even without family at all; consider asking both sides of your family to join you at a soup kitchen or volunteering at a toy drive. The most wonderful time of the year should bring people together and celebrate all walks of life. If you are in a position to give, please find it in your heart to do so – and make it a bonding activity for both your family and your partner’s family.