Monday, May 21, 2012

family financial priorities

where do you spend your extra cash? on debt repayment like us for the last couple years? on clothes? the latest electronic gadget? vacations? school? where does it go and how do you decide? do you decide where your extra cash goes?

a little while ago i was reading on babble (via simple mom) about what a family prioritizes spending money on. it got me thinking. for this particular family they value traveling and experiencing the world together as a family. they lived in france, the middle east and different parts of the US.

today {now that jamie's back from rwanda - hooray!} our family went out to the boys' favourite restaurant {the one with the trampolines!} for lunch and while the boys were jumping, jamie and i talked about what we want to give towards and do with the money that we won't be putting toward debt now that we are debt-free {!!!}.
it was fun to dream and plan and so i asked him some of these questions and we talked about things we are passionate about doing together as a family and things that we'd like to be able to provide for our kids.

one thing {but definitely not the only thing} we agreed about was the fact that we don't want or feel the need to live in a large, expensive house. we don't want to be pouring the majority of our funds into a house/home. it made me happy to be on the same page as jamie on this particular thing. sure there are things we don't both value as highly as each other, but can agree upon but for the most part, it was exciting to talk about people and organizations we'd like to give towards as well as considering options that we might not have been able to in the past due to debt {such as taking trips we couldn't have considered before or starting RESPs for the kids and topping up our RRSPs, etc}.

this is something new for us. jamie and i aren't exactly "savers". we don't really plan either. which is part of the reason why we struggled and ended up in the debt that we're finally out of! being in africa as well as making a concerted effort to pay off debt as fast as possible have opened our eyes to the value of being good stewards of our money as well as to the future joy of planning now for later. i would highly recommend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University as a great financial planning resource. if jamie and i can do it, you can too.

so what are your family's financial priorities? have you thought about and talked about your family's financial priorities and values? do you prefer to spend your extra money on vacations or would you rather renovate your home? do you have any resources that have been invaluable to managing your money and planning for the future? what do you use {a piggy bank? ING saving accounts? a hole in your backyard?} for saving up for larger goals?

please share!


  1. WOOO "WE'RE DEBT FREE!" You should call Dave R's show so you can yell it to the world...or blog world counts too haha! That's so amazing! So happy for you guys!
    Sam and I however ARE savers...only thing is we don't really have similar ideas as what it's for other than the fact we just want to save as much as possible when we do have extra. So we have savings, but no idea what it'll be for now that school is done for me haha! Not in a rush to be homeowners either :P

    1. I know. I totally thought of you and Sam being savers. Which makes me happy for you guys. Even though you have to make some hard decisions, it's so much better than ending up like how Jamie and I did.
      And yes - DEBT FREE! WOOOO!

  2. Hey V, interesting post!
    Ive heard a lot of good from the Ramsey series, the only thing that we wholly disagree with is his villianization of credit cards. We use our credit card exclusively. Its free, and our debit card charges us a nominal fee every time we swipe, so thats part of it, but also you cant beat the rewards, IF you are good about paying it off in full every month. Were in France right now because of rewards!! Our TD Travel Visa gives points for travel and extra points when you use your visa FOR travel. One of our flights to Paris was 100% covered by those points.
    Otherwise, our money went to debt the first 2 years of our marriage, because I had 20k OSAP, and also to saving for a house simultaneously. The 3rd year of marriage we continued to put all extra cash into house savings, and now that we own, our savings go to RESPs and RRSPs and investments like mutualfunds.
    I had no plan at all with money, but thankfully Brad is into researching investments, savings, and debt payments. Seriously thamkful for him because I would be wallowing in debt still for sure if he werent around :s
    Congrats on being debt free!!! What a sweet feeling :D

    1. I agree. I don't fully agree with the demonizing of credit cards, but for some it's a 'must'.
      And yech to getting charged every time you use your debit cards! That's brutal!

  3. This is a great post! Joseph and I listen to Dave's pod casts whenever we're working on a project together around our home or going on long car rides... it's so good! We both get so pumped after listening to him.

    Right now we're working at paying off debt and building up savings.Last month we officially switched over to using the jar method*... and it's been easier for us to track what we're spending...(as opposed to using our individual debit cards). We're still getting used to it.. but overall we've both found the jars to be helpful to learn how to amalgamate our finances and spending as new married couple.

    We've been talking about buying a house in two or three years... but we're not in any hurry. (We love our apartment!) Right now any extra cash we have is going towards debt and savings...

    In addition to Dave Ramsey, another good resource we've found helpful is Gail Van Oxlade's website:

    *Jar Method:

    Much Love,
    Margie Becker

    1. Oh yes! Gail does that show on ... Slice? Life? That channel that I can't remember anymore. :) She is good.

      Yeah, we've kinda been doing a more relaxed (and completely unintentional) jar method here. We pay for EVERYTHING in cash. We don't have credit cards and we can't pay interac here so it's all in cash. Everything from rent to bills to groceries to date nights. Which is so good.

      Being in Africa has radically changed so many things for us in the financial realm. I'm so thankful for the financial lessons we've learned thus far.

  4. Hey V. Yeah, good post! It always strikes me how important it is to be on the same page as your spouse when it comes to what you value and the monetary you place on certain aspects of your life. I love the fact that we're all so different in this regard! James and I have always had a "life change" that required a focused financial effort. Right now, our focus is a house. We desperately want to be in our own detached house with a green back yard before the end of the year. We really value our space and really enjoy being at home and having people in our home. Of course, there are always bumps along the way that can be financially distracting, but its such a good growing process! Like you, I am just so so thankful that James and I are on the same page. Its so freeing to know that we can make decisions together on our money and our future without the fear of causing relational rifts along the way! Also, I dont know this fella, but I'll look at your link. We are also toying with the jar method idea to get a better handle on where our money goes. Love that Gail!

  5. Congrats on becoming debt free!! I literally just blogged about my money today and then came over and read this, too funny! I just discovered a fantastic budgeting program called "You Need A Budget" and it is helping me to put all of our extra money toward our debt and then after that into savings and investments! I have the Dave Ramsey book on hold at the library and looking forward to reading that as well!


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