We’ve learned that little things really do make a big difference. And it’s not so much about deprivation as it is about choices.
When you approach things that way it’s much more liberating. We skimp on the things we don’t care as much about so that we can spend on the things that are important to us.
Besides family finances, you also cover cooking, travel, and organizing. Have you noticed any parallels between these topics?
Definitely with the organizing or, more specifically, simplifying. Decluttering is a great tool to see what you’ve been spending money on in the past that ended up in a drawer or box in the basement or garage.
You see what you really don’t value and you tend to quit spending on that. I did, anyway.
For instance, I really, really wanted one of those steam mops. The commercials made them look so appealing.
One of my best friends told me not to do it; that it wouldn’t get used. I did it anyway and guess what needs to go with my next decluttering effort? So I still slip up at times but I spend way differently.
You’ve mentioned hating to follow budgets. How does your family manage its money?
I do hate to follow budgets. I love making them (I’m a numbers nerd) but I hate following them.
We stumbled on a strategy called found money, where we take little bits of money and give them a job to do.
For instance, anything extra that comes into our bank account or wallets (gifts, rebates, Craigslist sales) used to go toward paying off debt and now goes to building up our emergency fund.
And the extra money that I make through bookkeeping and blogging goes toward offsetting college expenses.
Every dollar that comes in has a place to go and that strategy has worked wonders with our finances.
How do credit cards fit in your family’s finances? How do you keep them under control?
While we were paying off our debt we switched to debit only but now we use our main credit card for almost everything and pay it off every month. The cash back (about $500 last year) is one of our found money sources.
Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..