Simple Finances

Keeping our finances simple is one thing that has given us peace of mind and heart during the nearly ten years that we’ve been married.  Because of the choices that we have made and continue to make on a daily basis, we’re able to continue on course when the financial world around us seems to be in turmoil.

Our simple money management looks like this:

We live below our means, even though our current means qualify us for some state assistance.

  • One of my least favorite sayings is “you spend what you earn.”  So not true.  The very thought of spending my husband’s full paycheck every month is frightening.
  • We lived below our means even when we had two jobs and no children.  That made things much simpler when it came time to transition to one income!
  • We have learned so much about being content with what we are blessed with. 
  • When an unexpected expense comes in (recently it’s been doctor bills) we can write a check.  The money is there.  That doesn’t make paying the bill any more fun, but it sure simplifies matters!
  • Because we live below our means, we are able to give.  Giving brings peace to our lives.

Aside from our 15 year mortgage, which we are working toward paying off early, we have no debt.

  • We are extremely thankful to be nearly debt-free.  If something were to happen to our income, we wouldn’t have the added stress of trying to hang on to things that aren’t yet paid for. 
  • Payments irk me.  I can’t stand the thought of paying interest money for anything.  I would much rather watch interest pay me in our mutual funds (which I am confident will rebound ;-).   If we can’t pay cash (or we just don’t want to!) we don’t buy it. 
  • Having no debt leaves necessary wiggle room in the budget.  Even though it’s hard to watch prices go up on nearly every type of item, we can make the adjustment. 

Who are the Joneses, anyway? 

  •  It’s just a guess, but I picture the Joneses being incredibly stressed out about paying for all the things they’ve collected, watching in horror as their credit card interest accrues… on items they don’t remember needing or purchasing.  Again, just a guess, but who needs that?
  • Another thing with the Joneses.  If they really can pay for all of that stuff, what are they sacrificing?  Their time?  Health?  Relationships?  Defiitely not simple, and definitely not worth it.
  • Again, contentment.  We’re content with our older home (with a nice big yard for the kids to play in and for a garden!)  We’re content with our tv, and our cell phone, and our two older vehicles.  They get us where we’re going safely.   

Keeping our finances simple has been a true blessing to our marriage.  The teamwork that it takes to create and implement our financial goals, and to hold one another accountable when one of us really wants something 😉 , has contributed to our unbreakable bond.  We are so richly blessed.

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.

5 Responses

  1. Great post, Amy! I couldn’t agree more. Sounds like we have very similar practices in regards to finances, and yes, it brings so much simplicity and especially peace in times like this. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. My goodness…a kindred spirit.:)

    Dh and I feel exactly the same way about our finances. We don’t spend money we don’t have and we save for larger expenses. Right now, we are saving to replace the flooring in our home. I will feel so much better when the new floors are in and I know they are completely paid for.
    When we bought our first home, we qualified for the mortgage with only Dh’s income. We knew we would soon be starting a family and that I would be staying home with our children, so we didn’t want a mortgage payment we couldn’t afford without two salaries.
    We do use credit cards occasionally for on-line purchases, but the full balance is always paid before the bill is due.
    The peace of mind is SO worth anything we might have to wait for or just not buy. I wish I could find a way to convey just how wonderful it feels to be debt free to people I know are struggling. I believe they would do their very best to get out of debt, if for no other reason but the sweet peace of mind that comes along with being in step with good stewardship.
    Good for you, Amy! I wish you and your family all the best.:)

  3. Sounds just like us too! I really like your blog. I’ll come back and do some looking around tonight, but I just wanted to add this verse:

    Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. Proverbs 16:8

  4. While I admire your simplicity and know that my family is daily living to be in the same debt-free status you are in, you are missing another element of who others who owe money might be. They are NOT all the “Joneses”.

    We are them. We have no credit card debt, we paid cash for our only car (which now has almost 240,000 miles…and is still running strong), and we live below our means daily. However, at our “highest” (or lowest) point we owed close to $40,000. Not ONE PENNY of that was credit card debt, a car loan, or a mortgage. It was medical bills.

    And yes, we were (and are) insured. However, typical to many families, it was (& is) crummy insurance. Unfortuntately, there was NOTHING we could do to change that. We made too much to qualify for any state assistance, yet too little to pay the difference in our insurance and the medical bills.

    We even had to delay a surgery our son needed by THREE years because we couldn’t afford the $5,000 out-of-pocket required. No one cared that we paid $930 for this crummy insurance. No one cared that it was so crummy we had almost $40,000 in medical bills. They just cared about our salary.

    Now, BECAUSE our son’s surgery was delayed he needs MORE treatment for the next several years…to the tune of $3000/year OUT OF POCKET!! That would have been avoided had he had his treatment at the proper time.

    We now are down to owing only $21,000 in medical bills. However, we also add $5000/year to our medical debt.

    PLUS, we have a child who is gluten-intolerant so my once-frugal super-couponing grocery budget shot from $200/mth to $800/mth OVERNIGHT (it’s now closer to $600). THAT, while my son still required food & medicine for HIMSELF only that totaled $350/mth.

    So. Although there are people who struggle day-to-day and spend every penny of their husband’s paychecks every month, it’s NOT because we’re all bad and buying things that we won’t remember tomorrow or really didn’t need.

    In fact, our washer died a month ago. We won’t have the money to replace it until January…after we get Christmas money from my husband’s family. And that money was supposed to pay for our curriculum for next year.

    And THAT is our life. We don’t eat out (except the occasional lunch for my husband…which he does “on the cheap”), we haven’t had a home phone in 7 years, we have had basic-cable ONLY if we can’t get stations without it, and if we don’t have the money it doesn’t get bought…sometimes when it should. (Like medicine for mommy that gets delayed because the kids need food.) We cannot afford to purchase a home and must deal with landlord regulations preventing us from growing the good we’d like to grow. (We grow what we can in the only “green” space in our yard…an inground pool that’s been filled with sand.)

    Please, don’t be so quick to judge those in situations different from yours. We are stressed, but we also know God’s in control. And I will NEVER make the mistake of assuming someone in a situation different from mine is a lesser person than me.

  5. Dear Amy,

    I am so sorry that you were offended by that post… not my intention at all. I reread it to see where I went wrong; I probably should have added that even with our frugal lifestyle, it is only by the grace of God that we are where we are. Those darn medical bills can BITE. We’ve always paid our own health insurance, too, and nothing makes me more angry than having to pay out of pocket when we pay so much just to have the insurance. We got a tiny taste of that when I was diagnosed with melanoma a few months ago. Now (after paying for the surgeries) we’re just waiting… because we know that the insurance company is going to see that diagnosis and our rates are going to skyrocket. Guess we’ll just hang on for the ride… what else do we do?

    Again, my sincere apologies. The purpose of the post was only to speak of simplicity in my life and how our lifestyle brings financial simplicity (and maybe some encouragement for others who are needlessly stressed because they overspend).

    Thanks for visiting my site! Amy

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