Monday, March 03, 2014
Wrapping Up Our Family Financial Challenge #SavingMadeSimple #PGMom
February has come to a close (thank God!) and so has the 28 day Family Financial Challenge. How did I
do, you ask? Well, some ups and some downs, but I do feel the experience has given me good perspective.
The first step in our challenge was to sign up at mymoneymychoices.com, analyse our family's spending over the last several months, and then set up our family budget for February. This was a big task, but really crucial to understanding where our money is going, and where perhaps we need to just stop. It was eye-opening, I think particularly for my husband.
I generally have taken care of (and I use that phrase loosely) our finances. Gail's Rule #16: Don't Put One Guy in Charge of the Money, points out why this can be a bad idea. Both partners need to have a role in financial decisions, big purchases, budgeting, etc. Getting a family budget in place, where we can both see it is a great tool to get us on the same page and more conscious of our spending.
One thing I could not do, although it was a big component of the challenge, was to use cash only for the month. I am just not comfortable carrying cash, nor am I comfortable having large amounts of cash in the house. What if there's a fire, or a break-in? What if I lose my wallet? Cards can be easily cancelled, but cash is just gone. Our home owners insurance covers a maximum cash loss of $250, and since we've had a break-in in the past, I just couldn't risk it. I've also had my wallet stolen out of my purse at work. I'm scarred. We did however, use the debit card and stayed off the credit where possible. I used a credit card to pay for a repair we needed to our home, but I immediately transferred money from our chequing account to cover it. So, although we didn't see the physical evidence of the money jars emptying, we didn't accumulate debt either.
I've been meaning to get on top of our spending for some time now. I know we spend more than we should, and although we have gotten better, particularly in terms of our food budget since we cook at home far more often these days, I just hadn't put the time in to a real analysis. This challenge pushed me to do the hard work. We're definitely in a better position now for moving forward with out financial goals. Paid off home anyone??
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.