Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Family, Fun Dollars, and Finances, Oh my!

Since February, Corey and I have been in conversation about our future. Now that we have the two children we "planned" on having, our family is complete. Where do we want to be in 5 years? What do we want out of life? What's next?

For about two months, we had a series of discussions focusing on these kinds of questions. We would go out at night on walks through the neighborhood, kids in tow in the wagon. In the end, result of these talks was the decision to change our financial landscape. Basically, after Lily's premature birth we have been in a slow but steady financial decline. The insurance company paid their part of her medical costs that were incurred, and we are still left with a considerable amount. 

We decided that instead of living in a "fancy" house with granite on the counter tops and native stone on the fireplace, a hot tub out back and half an acre of yard, we could live with less. The fact is the market is up and we can sell the house for more than what we bought it for. The number our realtor gave us would put us in a position to walk away with enough money to pay off these hefty medical bills.

 A mere three days after meeting with our realtor, we found a three bed/two bath house with a fenced-in backyard for rent. From our mortgage to our rent each month, we will be saving $1,100.00!

So, in the spirit of living with less and saving for our future, we decided to cut back on Fun Dollars as well. This week, we are seeing how $80.00 instead of $100.00 works for us.

I encourage everyone who reads this to take some time to actually sit down (either by yourself or with the person you share finances with) and take a snapshot of your own financial landscape. What does it look like? What would you like it to look like? How will you get there? It's not always easy, and talking about money can be stressful even to those who seem like they have an abundance of it. What matters is transparency. Be honest and real about your money, only then can real change and growth happen. I say this not to be preachy, but because I never learned it. My father, bless his heart, always handled everything financial with our family. I never learned about money until I was an adult and I was already in debt. Especially if you have kids, open communication with your financial partner is the best way to learn and to teach about finances. If your kids always see you arguing about money, what message does that send them? If you take time to discuss and even explain the simpler aspects of finances, they will learn young and build a healthy relationship with money before they go too far into adulthood debt.

We told Carrick that part of the reason we were moving was so that we could have more Fun Dollars to do more family things together, like go to the zoo (he's been begging for a Zoo trip.) He understands the concept of Fun Dollars, he gets his own, and he understands that things cost money. So to tell him that we will have more money freed up because "We're not going to be paying as many Fun Dollars to live in this new house," keeps him in the loop and educates him as well.

So, we will see how this pay cycle goes working with $20.00 less than usual. My dad is coming out to visit, and Easter is around the corner, so I will have to be extra careful with my Fun Dollars. (And no co-mingling of money while Dad is here. I will have to keep my spending separate. But I think dad will be cool with that, especially if I explain why.)

Until next time, Happy Spending!

Moving can be exhausting!

1 comment:

  1. Your dad is totally "cool" with this and understands the "why." He will certainly cooperate during the week he is there to help make this work!