Why We Make Time to Really Talk About Our Finances

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This post is part of the How We Saved This Week weekly feature.

My husband and I talk about pretty much everything. That’s one thing that we established well before going into marriage (we met when we were 9 and 10 and were good friends for years before we actually were in a serious relationship) and it’s the “glue” that holds our marriage together.

Since I’m a verbal processor and Jesse’s highest receiving love language (meaning: how he feels loved) is quality time, we spend a LOT of time talking. In fact, our friends tease us about how much we talk together because it’s rare that something happens that we don’t talk about it. :)

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There’s No “Mine” or “Yours”

I truly believe that one reason we’ve been able to make a lot of financial traction in recent years is because we’ve really become a strong team when it comes to finances. We’ve set aside the whole “his money, her money” fights and made it all “our money”. We don’t talk about “your earnings vs. my earnings”; it’s all “our earnings”.

We don’t have separate bank accounts. We don’t make big financial purchases without consulting each other. We don’t give to a cause or need or person without both agreeing to it. And we don’t move forward with any long-term financial plan without both of us being on the same page about it.

Yes, We’ve Had to Learn to Compromise

We’ve had a lot of intense discussions about finances over the years, and while it sometimes takes a lot of talking and time and discussion, we’ve found ways to compromise so that we’re both feeling “heard” when it comes to our budget. (Such as having a blow category in our budget so that Jesse can have some wiggle room to enjoy spending money! Or cutting back in some areas so that my frugal self doesn’t feel like we’re wasting money.)

Over the years, the practice of making unity a priority when it comes to finances has paid off well. We have a lot less friction, we’ve grown in our communication skills, and we’ve learned a lot about the needs and fears we both have.

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Thinking Long-Term About Property Investments

This past week, we sat down and talked about our long-term financial goals — especially when it comes to rental property investments. This is an area that we were just experimenting with for a year or two, not sure how it would work out. Well, it’s worked out really, really well.

Jesse has loved the process of researching areas to buy rental properties in, he’s loved reading and listening to books and podcasts on how to have a successful rental management business, he’s loved working with the rental management company we hired to manage our two houses in Kansas, and his enthusiasm for this whole idea has only been strengthened from a few years of doing it.

And not only that, but the cash flow from our rental properties has turned out to be a good income source, even after deducting all the expenses involved (such as taxes, rental management company percentages, maintenance, and repairs).

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How We Saved This Week

We sat down and talked about all of that this week. We spent some time dreaming about the future and then talking realistically about where we want to be in 5 to 10 years. We talked about pros and cons to single family houses versus multi-family residences, where we wanted to purchase rentals in the future (Kansas, Tennessee, or somewhere entirely differently), and we talked about what was doable with what we’re able to save each month + the rental income we’re earning.

We set some short-term and long-term goals, we discussed a couple of big dreams, and we mapped out a game plan for the next few years. While I can’t tell you a dollar amount we saved (or earned) by having this discussion, I truly believe that taking the time to talk about these things in-depth will end up paying off in significant dividends and savings in the months and years to come.

What are some ways that YOU saved this week?

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Gretchen’s $54 Grocery Shopping and Weekly Menu Plan

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Homeland

4 cans Libby’s Green Beans – $0.59 each, used $1/4 coupon from the 11/16 RedPlum insert (doubled) – $0.09 each after coupon

1 Cucumber – $0.69

4 cans Hormel Chicken Breast – $1.49, used $1/2 printable and coupon from the 1/4 SmartSource insert (doubled)  – $0.49 each after coupons

1 Jolly Time Popcorn – $1.50, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – Free plus overage after coupon

2 cans Planters Peanuts – $1.69 each, used $1/2 printable (doubled) – $0.69 each after coupon

1 pkg Charmin Toilet Paper – $3.99, used $0.55/1 printable (doubled) – $2.89 after coupon

Total with tax ($1) after coupons and sales: $7.78

DSC_0024Walmart

1 box Totino’s Frozen Pizzas (4 ct) – $4

1.26 lbs Roma Tomatoes @ $1.28/lb – $1.61

1 pint Blueberries – $1.99 (Priced matched to Aldi)

3 Avocados – $0.29 each (Priced matched to Aldi)

4 lb bag Navel Oranges – $1.68 (Priced matched to Aldi)

Total with tax ($0.77): $10.92

DSC_0027Dillons

1 gallon Dillons Milk – $2.79 (Received $0.25 back from Ibotta)

1 pkg Sara Lee Bagels – $2.50

2 pkg Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Marked down to $1 each, used 2 $0.50/1 printable – $0.50 each after coupons

1 pkg Nature’s Harvest Bread – $2, used $0.50/1 printable – $1.50 after coupon (Received $0.25 back from Ibotta)

1 Kroger Sour Cream – Marked down to $0.50

2 Dillons Hamburger Buns – Marked down to $0.49 each, used $0.40/2 mailer coupon – $0.29 each after coupon (I will freeze these.)

1 dozen Dillons Eggs – $1.69

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

1 pkg Jolly Ranchers – Marked down to $0.49 (These are rewards for my Awana girls.) :)

2 pkg Kroger Cheese – $1.99 each

1 quart Kroger Half and Half – $1.99

2.01 lbs Gala Apples @ $0.99/lb – $1.99

1 pkg Kroger Tortillas – $1.79

2 Nature Valley Granola Bars – Marked down to $1.39 each, used $0.50/2 coupon from the 1/4 SmartSource insert – $1.14 each after coupon (Received $0.50 back from SavingStar.com)

1 Power Bar – $1, used Free e-coupon (no longer available) – Free after e-coupon

1 Farmland Bacon – $3.99, used $0.75/1 coupon from the 12/7 SmartSource insert – $3.24 after coupon

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $1.50

1 Kroger Frozen Orange Juice – $1.59

1 pkg Organic Baby Carrots – $1.50

10 Yoplait Greek Yogurt – Marked down to $0.49 each, used 2 $1/5 coupon from the 1/4 SmartSource insert – $0.29 each after coupon (Received $1 back from SavingStar.com)

Total with tax ($2.70) after coupons, rebates and sales: $36

Total for all grocery items: $54.70

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Cereal, Toast & Juice x 2, Bagels, Scrambled Eggs

Lunches

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Tossed Salad, Veggies/Fruit/Cheese/Crackers, Veggie Soup, Leftovers

Dinners

Baked Creamy Cheesy Chicken Flautas, Steamed Broccoli

Spaghetti, Toasted Bagels, Steamed Carrots, Green Beans

Venison Meatloaf, 30 Minute Rolls, Tossed Salad

Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, Hashbrowns, Fruit

Steak (from my parents), Rice, Steamed Veggies

Venison Burgers (I made these last week and we LOVED them!), Homemade French Fries, Grapefruit/Oranges

Chicken and Noodles, Cinnamon Apples

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