This month we are focusing on structuring our financial responsibilities to better accommodate the difficulties of having a newborn and toddler. We are still adjusting to having a second child so things have been quiet around DebtFreeHappens lately but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore our financial responsibilities. It means that we need to find ways to focus on what is important so that we can quickly get back to spending time with the kids. For this month’s personal challenge we are establishing a weekly finance meeting to review our finances/bills.
The idea of having family meetings on our finances has been critical since day 1 of us paying off $107K of debt in 33 months. Those meetings were simpler without kids then but so important to helping us get on the same page financially and realizing that we could do it. Even though we have completed some big goals we still have these meetings. Unfortunately, we’ve drifted away from regularly scheduled meetings and they became more scattered. So often we would say “let’s talk tonight” and then not end of doing it. It might be a few days before we have the meeting or address the issue we wanted to focus on.
Now that we have a newborn it could be real easy to just say we are too busy to do these meetings but that would be selling ourselves short and most likely create more work in the long run. Paying bills or the need to budget doesn’t go away regardless of how busy you are. In fact, you could argue it is only more critical to pay attention when you have more at stake.
During these meetings, we would discuss the budget, review our goal progress and pay any bills we have. This type of meeting has always been consistent throughout the years despite our goals or lives changing. It really is a great way to check in on where you are at without it just being a part of a random situation.
THE WEEKLY FINANCE MEETING
So, let’s get into the parameters of this meeting I keep going on and on about. It really is quite simple. This list would differ for each person but is pretty universal at the same time.
Every Thursday evening after dinner
1. Review where we are at on cash
2. Pay bills/credit cards
3. Review budget
4. Review Goals
5. Review Potential Credit Cards
6. Review Potential Bank Accounts
There are a few benefits of establishing these weekly meetings.
- Checking in on your bills each week is a great way to ensure you don’t miss a payment. Create a list of all your reoccurring bills and go over it each week. You’ll never miss a payment again.
- You can see where you are at with your budget. If you need to adjust you have plenty of time to do so within the month.
- You can also track your goal progress and stay motivated. During this meeting you have the chance to talk to each other about why you are doing what you are doing and encourage each other.
- We’ve recently been focusing on credit cards and/or bank accounts that provide great cash back rewards. We don’t plan on doing much air travel anytime soon but like the idea of taking hundreds of dollars and investing that into a 529 or Roth IRA. This meeting gives us the chance to research new cards or accounts. If you are currently paying off credit cards stay far away from chasing rewards. Just focus on eliminating your credit card balance as part of your Debt Snowball.
These meetings ultimately can be a big catch all for everything finance related. Instead of worrying that we will miss something now I feel much more in control and confident that we have everything taken care of. That is huge when adjusting to a busier life.
Mrs. Picky Pincher
This is a great idea! Mr. Picky Pincher and I have also fallen off a bit with our regular budget meetings and we need to get back into the habit. It’s so crucial to be on the same page with your partner about where your money is going!
We have finance meetings (which we’re more likely to call “checking in with each other”), but we’ve gotten to know each other’s goals and habits so well, and every single transaction is emailed or texted to us, that there is nothing much to discuss anymore. At the beginning, these meetings were longer and more emotional. Now they’re more of a touch-base to make sure no surprises have cropped up. I can’t imagine trying to get out of debt and plan for retirement without having meetings with your spouse!