Financial Health & Organization

I've been thinking this week how there really are so many things that go into health and one of those things is finances. My mom told me that when you get married, money is something that you fight about often if you aren't careful and on the same page, so you need to be on the same page. Luckily for Tanner and I, we are on the same page. I truly try to exemplify Christ in the way that we handle finances as well, and I just wanted to share what we do and how we balance because I feel like we have a good system. Disclaimer Note: People handle money SO differently which is why couples find it hard to agree. We do NOT think that we are better because of this, but this is what works for us personally as a family, and has helped us to really be able to downsize debt. We also just got out of school a few years ago, so I'm sure this will change through the years.

Combine and conquer

First, if you didn't catch in one of my other blogs, we do combine our money. We believed when we got married that what is mine is yours and what's yours is mine. I had saved ALOT of money before we even met, but that instantly became Tanner's. Tanner was working when we first got married while I was still in school so I felt that only fair anyway as he was carrying us through. Our money is both of ours. We are two people, but one family.

"For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."-Ephesians 5:31

I believe that with combining money, it is a very biblical way of showing this to one another. I believe that it creates trust that I trust you with my money and you trust me with yours. We believe that in doing this, it's also a statement of "I'm not planning on ever going anywhere" and sets that standard right from the beginning. 

I also said in one of this week's blogs that we have a $50 curtesy call limit of "Yo, I want this. Do you mind?" and we honestly are so close that Tanner texted me to let me know he was buying $30 shoes yesterday at Payless. HA! 

ORGANIZATION OF MONEY

We know how much money comes out of our checks each month default, and we have those written out vs what we make. I don't use an app, but just write it out on a google sheet for myself, and that works best for me. I know that there are some GREAT apps out there (Mint is a good one), but honestly I need more of this for me to actually spend money on ONE thing that isn't related to bills because I tend to get really caught up in getting my student loans paid off that I get consumed by it. 

Some stuff I was comfortable sharing because it's typical, then others I was like...yea no. HAHA!

Some stuff I was comfortable sharing because it's typical, then others I was like...yea no. HAHA!

Okay, so it's not just that I have this tidy app that shows me what I'm going to do with money, but just that I genuinely follow through. That 10% is not much as you can imagine. It's really not, but I want my student loans gone. I know that some people don't mind forking it out for the rest of their lives, but I simply refuse so every dollar that I make that I can put on them, the better. I also know that you want to be able to do nice things with the hard earned money that you get, but I'm just dead set on getting those gone then I'll relax a little. haha! 

LOAN FORGIVENESS

Tanner had the same amount as me coming out, but he is doing something called PSLF (public service loan forgiveness). If you are in college, you should look into it. If you work for a non profit (which he works clinical pharmacy so hospitals are typically non profit as are public schools) then after 10 years, all of his are forgiven. He pays a monthly amount that is income based so each year he has to send in information so they re calculate the amount. The first year out of school, he was in residency making 1/3 of what he does now, so therefore the payment was 1/3 less especially with me in school. From a long term wealth perspective, that's SO nice that 12 of his payments were at such a low price. For the ten years, he has to do 120 total payments in a non profit full time setting. 

LONG TERM WEALTH MINDSET

We think of things as "long term wealth" and I don't say that like we are about to be millionaires...heck to the no. However, I do say that in a way that every day DOES matter, and small decisions do matter. We have learned along the way the flaws in this ESPECIALLY in a Christian manner. We CANNOT be stingy or greedy. It's NOT about us. AT ALL. Our money is not our own. To us, it is the Lord's money but we want to be good stewards of that as well. 

When I went to buy my car, of course they try to convince you to spend money on all of these other things, but that really aren't useful for you. The guy kept trying to tell us that this extended warranty was "only $12 extra per month" and that's so little for what you get, but I kept looking at the numbers and I was like "BUT NO, IT'S $4000 more!" We think in the long term, and not "well it's only X amount this month." 

PAY DEBT WITH HIGHEST INTEREST OFF FIRST

When we went to buy our house, we could have put a down payment down, but when you look at the interest of the loan on the house which is around 4% and then the interest on my student loans (7%), it's crazy to put money in one place when you could be using that money to pay off a higher interest debt. I don't like being in debt period, and America makes us think it's okay and I guess it's normal, but my goal is to one day not be that way, but I know that it's a process and takes time. We know that investing is great, but again, you have to look at the return. The average return on investments might be 4-10% but what if it's 4% and my loans are sitting at 7%. We have to get rid of that debt first basically is what I'm trying to say. 

DON'T BE AFRAID TO THRIFT SHOP

Tanner needed new dress clothes for work as he was tired of wearing scrubs. He could have gone to Charlotte to the nice stores like most do. But my outpatient cancer pharmacist husband goes up in Goodwill and spends an entire hour searching and finds 3 brand new pairs of pants, and 4 brand new shirts from name brand places. Yes, he probably hit it big this week and he might not always have luck like that at Goodwill, but I was just so impressed by that. I basically buy everything from Marshals or TJ Maxx, and I live in workout clothes (which I'm changing as of next week-side note that I'm feeling VERY inspired to start getting my workouts done and then getting ready instead of staying in those clothes). Maybe it sounds cheap to some, but I honestly just don't think about spending and if I'm at a store, I would rather pick up something that I could surprise a friend with to tell them I was thinking of them. Again, this works for us and is VERY different than most and we understand that but luckily it helps.

DONT SPEND IN AREAS YOU DON'T NEED TO. PICK YOURS AND TRY TO BE FRUGAL IN OTHERS. 

We like to travel, so that's where our "extras" come from typically, and of course that's different for each person and you have to decide what you personally enjoy and not feel bad about spending money in that area. We know that experiences and travel are our thing, but that XYZ are not, so we don't spend in that area. Do y'all ever think the "well you spend $5 on a starbucks every day so you can buy our product" line is old? Like do people ACTUALLY spend $5 on starbucks every day? I sure don't know any. ha! We also ALWAYS eat at home. Always. {Unless of course meeting up with friends/family}

We were both raised in a way that whether you have money or not, you don't spend money in areas that you don't have to. Why would you? I don't know, but people do all the time. People pay for names and brands when no one even knows the difference. If quality is different then well, of course, but I'm talking SAME exact things. If we aren't going to use things anymore, then we sell them on Craigslist. We don't hold onto things that we don't want or need, and part of that is my fear of clutter (that's a joke but really), but it helps to always be transitioning in and out with things that we use and things that we don't. If I haven't used it in 1.5 years, then it has to go. (Example: Tanner got me luggage for my birthday so old was immediately out next day! haha).

I will say I believe in having nice quality things. I believe in having like ONE thing that is super quality and treating it REALLY well, and then if I want more of that particular item then I'll buy a knockoff. For example, I have ONE lululemon top. It brings me joy and I take really good care of it. I have ONE Michael Kohrs purse that I bought four years ago with our leftover Belk wedding money, and I still use it. If I decided to get a new purse, I'd probably try to sell this one. I have very few pairs of shoes (maybe 10) but they are all nice and I have like one pair for specific type situations and I'm good with that. 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY 

I saw a deal for Chase bank users that if you transition X amount of savings into an account with them, they give you $275. Well, that was a hassle, but I did because who doesn't want $275!! I had to leave it with them for at least a year. SURE! WHY NOT?! 

Ebates/Cash Back Credit Cards : There are TONS AND TONS of programs out there that you can get cash back on things. Typically, credit card companies will offer the first year free and so we just cancel after that first year. You get 1-5% cash back and we would just put EVERY expense on the card getting that money in a check each month just for doing nothing. 

Coupons-It doesn't matter to us that we don't "have to" use them. We believe this stuff makes a difference. I'm not going to go out of my way because there's only so much time in the day but if I see a coupon, I'm going to use it. 

RE EVALUATE FRIVOLOUS SPENDING

Convenient Store Stops-Maybe this isn't a habit that anyone else had to break but all it did was take me looking at my bank account to see that I was spending up to $200/month at a DANG CONVENIENT STORE ON DIET SODA AND SNACKS to stop that mess!!!! How ridiculous right?! I think it's important to re-evaluate things on at least an every other month type basis and say "Okay where am I spending that is just silly to spend in these areas?" 

I'm sure you guys have way more tips on how you save money and pay off debt, so I'd love to hear yours in the comments! :) 

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