Is it Worth It? (Spender vs Saver)

Is it Worth It? (Spender vs Saver)

By
Eva Fleming

Everyday people from many different cultural and social backgrounds and with different personalities come together to form one family. And it’s a beautiful thing. But, what happens when there’s a clash in values, particularly in the way you value money? Let’s talk about it.

A value is a force within you that will influence your life. Your attitudes about money will affect how you relate to it, to yourself and to others. Not all of us have strong financial values. And not all of us have the grace needed to deal with the partner in a relationship who has weak ones. Most commonly in a relationship, there is a spender and a saver. Each one pulling the financial rope in opposite directions. The spender wants to enjoy a high quality of life with all the comforts of the here and now, while the saver wants to feel financially secure, sacrificing comfort for financial security.
This dance can quickly turn into a tug of war because their different views of money can cause hostility between them.

Some couples quickly realize that if they want their homes to be peaceful, they must learn how to compromise, learn and make it work. Understanding all the while that it’s never easy, but with work and cooperation, they can pull through. Other couples never catch on to the pitfalls of financial disagreements and allow these arguments over money to become frequent and endless because, in the end, it’s not about the expense itself but about what money means to each of them.

These fights instead of solving the problem, merely widen the distance between the couple. They continue to argue incessantly, and the more a couple bickers about money, especially if more than once a week, the higher the possibility that they will end up divorced. Not even diverging political views can cause havoc in a relationship the way different views of money can.

There comes a critical moment in which couples that disagree with how to handle their finances must decide if they are going to continue fighting or if they are going to establish parameters in these areas of their lives and be amicable as they work through their differences.

What can you do when you become stuck in the vortex of financial disagreements?

When an argument about money arises, don’t allow your disagreements to turn into a deadly battle, where one loses and the other wins. On the contrary, acknowledge that the argument the other person is making has as much validity as yours does. Give their case the same consideration and respect that you give your own.

Establish firm boundaries with the help of a third person, if necessary, and commit to trying to understand what that need to spend or save means for the person you love.

If you are the spender, grow your character by learning to delay instant gratification. If you are the saver, be more flexible in the things you are willing to spend money on for the sake of the relationship. Can’t come to an agreement? Here are some tips on how to tell if something’s worth buying.

In the end, your relationship is worth more than gold and no disagreement is worth the emotional toll that all the fighting brings. Learn to value each other above all.

For more resources on budgeting and relationship building, you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

The Cycle of Debt

The Cycle of Debt

By
Eva Fleming

Did you know that the national household debt in the U.S. is a whopping 13 trillion dollars? To help you put that in perspective, keep in mind that a trillion has twelve zeroes in it! In the words of Dave Ramsey, “debt is as American as apple pie, but certainly not as sweet.” Even though most of us have it, none of us really want it. I had a debt from a hospital stay that took me two years to pay off. And this is after decent medical coverage!

Some of our debt is the result of unexpected expenses that end up on our credit cards because we didn’t plan for them in our emergency fund. But other debt is the result of our wants and desires and things we just had to have, but never actually made provisions for in our budget.

If we want to break free from debt, we must learn to make the distinction between those two types of unbudgeted expenses and learn to plan for them seriously. One requires that we put effort into beefing up our emergency fund and the other one requires that we become more disciplined with our budget.

Emergencies are part of life. If you think your life will be smooth sailing without any setbacks, e.g., leaking roof or car repairs, then you are living in a fantasy world.

I live in Florida, where hurricane season starts in June and doesn’t end until November 30th. To survive those months, residents must have a contingency plan that answers questions like: What are we going to do in the event of a hurricane? Where are we going to evacuate if the storm is expected to be a category 5? What do I need to have in hand if I decide to stay home (water bottles, water for flushing the toilet, generators, candles, medicine, batteries, can foods, etc.), When are we going to install the shutters? What will I do with my pet? It’s important to plan every minor detail to keep the family safe and minimize any harm to the house or personal possessions, etc.

There are no always hurricanes in Florida, but one must always be prepared just in case. Readiness will help you sleep in peace with the least amount of anxiety possible. This is the kind of mentality we must have to succeed financially. The more prepared you are for what’s most likely coming, the fewer chances you’ll use your credit cards to get you out of trouble when those things do happen.

We must also keep in mind that the human spirit with all its wants and desires is nearly impossible to satisfy. In the mall I frequent, there are big signs everywhere that read: “Desire It,” “Deserve it,” “Acquire it.” All these signs invite you to satiate your desires even if it is beyond your means to do so because after all, you “deserve it.” In a world like that, without a budget and the willingness to stick to it, you are not going to be very successful staying out of debt. Here’s a budget sheet that can help you get started.

If you are amid crushing debt, seek help from the experts like Dave Ramsey among others, and follow their recommendations to pay off your current debts. Beyond that, try to develop the discipline needed to improve your emergency fund and make a firm commitment to stick to your budget and you will see how little by little, debt will no longer be an issue for you.

For our children’s sake and the future of our children’s children, let’s break the chains of debt. Let’s no longer allow our circumstances and desires to keep us slaves to debt. This new year commit to do your part to shrink those 12 zeroes from the trillion dollars that are currently strangling our economy. Let’s end our addiction to debt once and for all. Here’s a helpful resource that can help you cut expenses and avoid getting into more debt.

For more resources on budgeting and relationship building, you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

5 Things You’re Paying for, You Should Cancel, Stop Buying, and Start Doing to Help You Pay Off Debt

5 Things You’re Paying for, You Should Cancel, Stop Buying, and Start Doing to Help You Pay Off Debt

By
Sarah Pichardo

If you’re like me, you’re probably paying for stuff you don’t even use. Well, maybe not like me cause after writing this I canceled stuff and rearranged my life. So I’m already one step ahead of you…catch up!

Here are those five things you should cancel, stop buying and start doing. Then take all that cash you saved to help pay off debt (and maybe buy a new pair of shoes).

Cable
Do you actually watch all 500 channels that you’re paying for? If you do, we need to sit and talk so I can report you to science. But chances are, you’re not. Matter of fact, you probably only have HBO right now cause you’re waiting for the last season of Game of Thrones to come out. Well, keep waiting and keep paying. Or you could be smart and cancel cable now, then just get the online subscription to HBO for when it comes out and cancel it again. It’s totally legit. I checked. Also, you’re probably just binge watching Netflix shows. Cable = $100+/month. Netflix = $10/month. So why are you paying for cable again?

Unused subscriptions
Do you really need Apple Music, Spotify and Satellite radio? At some point in my life I thought all three were absolutely necessary. I have regained my senses. You should do the same.

What other subscriptions are you paying for because you mostly like to throw money away? Don’t be like this kid, you might need those pair of shoes that are going on sale next week.

Buying lunch
Not only will buying lunch everyday cause you to gain 50 pounds and therefore ruin your New Year’s Resolutions, but it also costs you mucho dinero. Don’t want to cook? Make yourself a sandwich. It’s easy. It’s cheap. Again, those shoes are going on sale next week.

Bottled water
Why do you hate planet Earth so much? It’s a pretty cool place to be. There’s oxygen and science-y things that let us live here. All that plastic from bottled water is bad. It’s killing the fishies. (Do you really want to kill the fishies?) You don’t need those plastic water bottles. Besides, now that you’re bringing your lunch to work every day, you can fill up a reusable water bottle too. Want filtered water? Get a water filter. Look at you saving the planet. Your mom will be so proud.

Excess groceries
Speaking of, can’t you just hear your sweet mami in your head right now…“Tantos niños muriéndose de hambre, y tu aquí desperdiciando la comida.” (So many children dying of hunger, and you’re just here wasting food.) Shame on you. I’m telling your mom! How many times have you bought stuff and ended up throwing it away cause it went bad? It’s pretty sad. Not even my dog wants it. How about planning your meals ahead of time, writing a list, checking it twice? But, don’t forget the snacks.

mami-quote-desperdicando-la-comida-2

There you have it. If anything, after reading this, three things are very clear. First, I need to talk to your mom. Second, you should check out this blog so you can get real advice about ways to pay off debt. And last but not least, I just saved you a bunch of money and now you don’t have an excuse to not get me a birthday present.

—–

Sarah Pichardo is the Creative Director at Family Bridges. When she’s not obsessing over pixels, designs and scripts – or brainstorming plans to take over the world – she’s probably reading a book or overdoing it with the Christmas decorations.
Follow her on…

Twitter: @sarahp726
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahp726/

For more resources on professional development and relationship building, you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

The Only 2 Budgeting Tips You’ll Ever Need!

The Only 2 Budgeting Tips You’ll Ever Need!

By
Sarah Pichardo

Adulting sucks. You wake up, go to work, go home, sleep, eat and repeat. And then that glorious day comes where you get paid and you’re all like, “hallelujah, I’m about to make it rain.” Only to have the rug pulled from under you by those things called bills. And do you know why? Because 5-10-15-20 years ago you were sitting in your parent’s house thinking, one day I’m going to be my own boss, make my own rules and do whatever I want. Yeah. Congratulations. You got what you wished for. You’re an adult and there’s no turning back no matter how hard you try.

But it’s ok. Cause you’re a pretty fantastic adult. You go to work and maybe even have a family that you love and are nice to. You do a good deed every now and again, you give some money to charity and you call your mom once a week (BTW – did you call your mom this week? Get on it. She’s probably worried sick about you; it doesn’t matter that you’re 30 or 50 for that matter. Remember, family first.) Where was I? Oh yeah – you’re pretty good at this adulting thing.

And now, you’re thinking to yourself, It’s New Years. It’s that time of year where I’m going to make changes. Good changes. Changes that will make me a better person. And you wrote those down. You made some amazing resolutions. Didn’t you? Resolutions that you’re going to stick to…for real this time. And of course on top of that list is…(drum roll please)… making a budget and sticking to it. Because on top of being an amazing adult, you’re also a responsible adult. Bam! Plus, like your abuelita always said “a pobre viene, quien gasta más de lo que tiene.” (You’ll end up poor if you spend more than you have. Except it rhymes in Spanish and sounds way wiser and abuelita-like.)

media-AbuelitaQuote-tips-for-sticking-to-budget

Anyway, enough about your grandma. So, what are those two budgeting tips? Brace yourselves; they’re life-changing…

media-Steps-tips-for-sticking-to-budget

Step 1: Make a Budget

Step 2: Stick to It!

Tada. So easy. We’re done here.

Seriously. Why do we need to make adulting so hard on ourselves? Life is hard enough. But fine. If you want more on how to make a budget, or on how to save money, check out this blog and use this budget sheet. Otherwise just follow the budgeting tips I so generously gave you. They totally work.

Like I said, easy peasy. Tell your abuelita I said hi and “bendición”.

—–

Sarah Pichardo is the Creative Director at Family Bridges. When she’s not obsessing over pixels, designs and scripts – or brainstorming plans to take over the world – she’s probably reading a book or overdoing it with the Christmas decorations.

Follow her on…

Twitter: @sarahp726

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahp726/

 

For more resources on budgeting and relationship building, you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.

Where Did all the Money Go? Making a Budget

Where Did all the Money Go? Making a Budget

By
Eva Fleming

A budget is just a plan for your money. But as simple as this definition might be, the actual task of creating a budget might be daunting for some, yet necessary if we want to be able to go on vacation, pay off our debts or save for retirement.

When I don’t keep track of something as simple as my grocery bill, my budget is shot, and life unravels!  I don’t know what it is about that section of gourmet cheeses in the grocery store that makes me lose all common sense and run up my bill mercilessly.

So, before you put pen to paper to start jotting down your income vs. expenses and making your budget plan for the year or the month, ask yourself: What is your motivation to spend less than you make? Why are you putting yourself through this rigorous exercise of self-control? Once you understand your reasons, walk in your mind to the end of the road called Budgeting and imagine where you have ended up. Then ask yourself, “how does having a few extra dollars in my savings account feel like because I stuck to my budget?” If you like the thought of freedom, then commit to make a budget and stick to it.

If you are a not a saver by nature, budgeting will not be easy for you. Those of us who like nice things and the comforts life has to offer can hardly be blamed when we run out and get the things we want or upgrade everything we have every opportunity we get. After all, we are living in a society that is continually pushing their wares on us. “What can I say? I like shoes. What is a girl to do if TJ Max has a sale on shoes?”  But just like an alcoholic take it one day at a time, you too need to take it one day at a time when living on a budget. Don’t go shopping unless you need to. Don’t spend that extra money on another pair of shoes unless you have accounted for it in your budget. Find something fulfilling and productive to do instead of shopping or overspending money on leisure.

In my journey to budgeting, my husband and I have had to give up cable TV. That was hard because I really like Outlander and Better Call Saul. But I don’t think that ten years from now those shows are going to make a difference in my life, so we’ve sacrificed and found something more productive with which to fill our time. I have taken up running and volunteering at my kids’ school.  I can testify that both activities are more satisfying than any show cable TV has to offer. Our family is much more united than ever. And because we’re not looking at the TV, but rather at each other, my spouse and I have rekindled the spark in our marriage.

There are many budgeting tools on the Internet you can get to help you. Your bank also most likely has a budgeting feature they offer to you for free. Family Bridges teaches workshops that can help you budget wisely.

But before you download your favorite budgeting tool, think about your long-term goals, then write down your weaknesses and account for each of them in your plans. And finally, make your budget and put it on a visible spot in the house where all can see it.

A detailed plan for your income and expenses in a given period is right to have.  Here’s a budget sheet you can use. Don’t be scared to tell your money where to go. You got this!


For more resources on budgeting and relationship building, you can follow Family Bridges on social media @familybridges.