What does financial security mean to you?
Lots of fantastic financial blogs, books, and podcasts help people get out of financial trouble.
Credit card debt.
Student loan debt.
The daily grind of car payments and rent payments and “I just went shopping two days ago! How is the fridge empty??”
But once you pay off debt, the wealth of articles slows down to a trickle. It’s harder to find suggestions for families who aren’t digging their way out of financial difficulties, but haven’t worked out their best strategy to grow, not just make ends meet.
The other side of debt has its own struggles and worries.
Bad budgeting habits.
Realizing the house you worked so hard to save that down payment for doesn’t have enough bedrooms to hold the family you dream of.
It’s as though bringing debt down to $0 is the “and they lived happily ever after,” and it’s hard to find as many people who are eager to talk about what comes next.
I’m Jessica. My family doesn’t have major debt, but we’re still growing toward the life I imagine for my kids. One bold plan is saving for a home big enough to host Thanksgiving in, even when this baby is big enough to bring her own family to celebrate!
Three things that make me feel rich: sushi, plane tickets, and when we walk into a bookstore and my husband tells me, “Buy anything you want” (he likes to tempt fate)
How to Face Your Finances
I realized not too long ago that, while I felt okay in my weekly and monthly rhythm, I felt disconnected from the big picture of my family’s finances. Were our savings on track for a milestone like a bigger house? Was I confident that we could REALLY afford the vacation we booked? Did I feel comfortable scaling my freelance work to fit what was best for my mental health and family, not just the bills?
No, no, and no.
If you’re like me, you maybe stopped paying as close attention to your money once it was no longer a struggle to cover monthly bills. You can get away with that for a while (I did), but eventually credit card balances might creep too high, or you have to pass up on an opportunity because the savings you need aren’t in the bank.
Here’s what I’m doing this month to regain clarity and control over my family’s saving and spending:
- Set up a shared financial tracker. My husband and I don’t always know what the other spends day to day. We need to be able to see each other’s accounts and spending so we can make clear decisions as a couple.
- Pay credit cards weekly. I want to talk about this in more depth later, but for the last month, we’ve committed to paying off our card balances in full every Friday. It’s been amazing! I can log in to our account without worrying that the numbers I see don’t reflect a major bill that’s about to hit.
- Commit to a monthly savings schedule. Setting a target savings number makes it easier to understand when and why to say no to an outing or an impulse buy.
“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a Great Balancing Act.”Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
The books we read to our kids sometimes hold ideas we need, too. My life (like yours!) definitely feels like a Great Balancing Act. I’m excited to learn more about how to reach my family’s next milestone, and to share what I find out with you. Here’s to all the Places You’ll Go (and I will, too!).