At this meeting we were treated to the wisdom and practical advice of Cathi Brese Doebler, author of Ditch The Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes http://www.ditchthe.com/.
Until you do, here are the highlights of our June 2nd meeting:
Cathi’s book and guidance is all about knowing your priorities and using your money in ways that reflect those priorities. The wonderful part of this is that once you realize what your priorities ARE, you can stop comparing yourself to others because you’re focused on YOUR LIFE and living it the way YOU CHOOSE.
Knowing and acting on your own priorities can be challenging enough, let alone if you’re part of a couple. It is not uncommon in a relationship for there to be disputes about money. These disputes are usually because of a disconnect in priorities and one or both can be spending money in a way that flies in the face of agreed-upon (or assumed, uh-oh!) priorities.
Doebler encourages us to list our individual and family priorities (it’s a good idea to have the whole family involved to reduce arguments down the road when you inevitably need to say “no” to something), and then track all our expenditures for at least 3 months. Furthermore, you are to put an “N” or “W” next to each expenditure for “need” and “want” respectively. Oh Boy! I know for a fact from my own practice that when people track their spending, they’re very surprised at where their money goes. Typical leaks include coffee (5x/week/year is estimated at $425 for just basic coffee), trips to Target, and the de minimus (stuff we think is such a small expense we don’t even give it any thought).
Doebler wrote the book after she and her husband discovered and then practiced these spending and saving solutions so that she could stay home with their children.
She shared that she has gotten some backlash from women who think she’s preaching that women should stay home with their kids, and that’s really not the concept at all. In fact, Doebler and her husband carefully decided who would stay home with their kids; but committed to the fact that it would be one of them. Her book is faith-based, but gender neutral.
The point of her book (there’s also a workbook) is to help you find ways to allow you to spend more time with your kids – if that’s what you want. Certainly there are other reasons for working aside from financial rewards, such as personal fulfillment, mental challenge, social interaction (conversations limited to Barney and Sesame Street can be a drag after a while) and structure; some or all of which may be very important to one or both parents. If you’re trying to strike a healthier balance (and who isn’t), the book will give you ideas and tools to do that.
We started our conversation with Cathi asking us to list our top 3 priorities, then one thing we could not cut from our spending, and one thing we could cut from our spending.
She shared some good ideas, too, such as keeping a cooler in your car if you’re passing by a grocery store during your day and can capture some deals, groceries, and save gas by combining trips. The cooler allows you to keep the food cold while you complete your errands for the day. Another tool to help teach children about money is tying household chores to an amount; the more complicated/time consuming/unappealing, the higher the job pays. She teaches her own children to set aside 10% of their earnings for saving, 10% for giving, and 80% they can spend any way they wish (or save it up for something later on, such as souveneirs on an upcoming family vacation).
Check it out!
We may be taking the summer off but stay tuned for the next meeting (you can check the Lauber Financial Planning Facebook page and Linked In).