Guest post from Sarah of The Jelly Jars
We are in the middle of raising our family of four with two little girls and a third baby on the way. While I hold down the fort of raising and growing these littles, my husband works part-time and is pursuing his Masters degree part-time.
Needless to say, our finances are tight as we live on his part-time income.
But because of this process, I feel like our perspective on what is most important in this life has shifted in the very best of ways. I know how difficult it is to raise a family when money is so tight, so I wanted to share a few ways finances are handled in our home — in hopes that they might help others in a similar situation.
1. We talk about finances in our marriage.
A central value in our marriage is communication. Whether good or bad, confession or celebration, small talk or crisis, we talk.
And since that is a non-negotiable between the two of us, it naturally carries over into our financial health. We are in this together so we talk about stressors, financial plans and dreams, and where we stand each month.
2. We spend our money on things we value.
We guard against spending money on perceived wants, and instead spend it on what actually adds value to our life. That is a totally personal choice, one unique to you and your family.
Just think about what you love to do, eat, experience, etc. and then spend your money there rather than randomly spending money as your whims strike.
We value health, so we pay for good food and good running shoes, for example. If a purchase falls in line with a family value, it has a place in our budget.
3. We prioritize our emergency fund.
We unexpectedly had to pay for four new tires last Christmas season — a time of year with lots of money flying around. It was painful to pay an unexpected $800 bill, but it didn’t bankrupt us and we didn’t have to throw it on the credit card because we had savings set aside, saving us a lot of stress.
4. We live frugally.
This might sound obvious, but we don’t buy brand name. Instead, we opt for generic whether it be food, shampoo, you name it.
We shop at thrift stores, I go to garage sales, we buy furniture on Craigslist, and we don’t buy many new clothes. We might not be on-trend every season with the latest fashions, but we make it work.
If an item is something we want but don’t need, we don’t buy it. If we can’t pay for it outright without putting it on a credit card, we don’t buy it.
I have learned that finances are so much more than what is in your bank account, it is an indicator of how you live your life. And we have also seen that we can still enjoy life while living on a part-time income without going into debt.
Sarah is a mountain-loving, dark chocolate-eating, Frank Sinatra-listening, owie-kissing, truth-telling, freelance writer/blogger who seeks out a passionate life with her husband and two kiddos. She writes at The Jelly Jars.
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