Best of the Web- July 11

I’m a day late here!  I’m not sure why I made this amazingly full to-do list on the weekend my husband was out of town!  I don’t think he is the one that chews up most of my time.  Lol.

Anyhow, here we go.

Life

This one exercise could determine your success–  It’s not what I thought and I could definitely see this being helpful.  Why do you think I have a blog?

The iPhone is Ruining your Summer–  Whew, glad I have a Droid.  Just kidding.  Jessica has some seriously convicting points, and I was reminded about yesterday when what seemed like the absolute most exciting point of our week (and it may have been) was getting the kids a turtle sandbox.  Within minutes of having it set up I had posted on IG, Facebook, and Snapchat.  Um, why?  I don’t know.  I was thinking about this as I went to bed last night.  NO ONE CARES THAT WE HAVE A TURTLE SANDBOX.

turtle sandbox social media blitz

I digress.  But I really like Point #3:

“If I am bored for .45 seconds now, I GET VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I find it really fascinating to daydream about My Life Before The Internet. What did I do, waiting at dentists’ offices? How did I fall asleep when the lights went off? What in the world happened in those eight-hour car rides? I know what happened. Life Happened.”

Travel

This is so good (and pretty funny) – My Thoughts on Children in First Class

I could have used some of these when my kids were smaller.  I may have to buy #6!  12 Coolest Space-Saving Products for Travel with Kids

 

Motherhood

Why there are no silver medals in motherhood

 

Finance

If you’re struggling to get control of your finances (or even if you need a refresher), this is really great:  The benefits of paying yourself first

 

What do you think?  Willing to put the iPhone away for a day?  Feel like motherhood has given you a bronze medal?  Or maybe you have a funny story of adults (on an airplane) behaving worse than children?  I’d love to hear!  

3 mistakes we made when buying our home

 

3 mistake we made when buying our homeIt’s #MoneyMonday here on the blog and I thought I would talk about home-ownership!  I kind of hate that term because how many people TRULY own their home?  Very few!  Having a mortgage means that the BANK owns your home, not you.   Nonetheless, I want to be transparent and share some of the things we did wrong when we purchased our home:

1.  We did not put 20% down.  I know, I know.  Dave Ramsey just set a flame to my blog.  It was a bad choice.  I totally had baby fever and thought I NEEDED a house or we couldn’t have a baby.  That was silly.  Babies don’t know where they live! 🙂  We did put about 7% down but that’s not a great excuse.

When you don’t put 20% down and have a conventional mortgage, you’ll end up paying PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance.  Ours was about $70 a month.  Luckily, we got smart about 2 years into living here and saved up enough to pay down the remaining amount so our loan to value ratio was 80% and the PMI dropped off.  We figured that having $70 extra a month to put towards other things (i.e. having control of our own money) was better than paying some insurance company to protect our bank in the chance we defaulted.

2.  We didn’t pay attention enough to old doors and an old porch.  The one thing I wanted in a house was an older home with newer windows, paint, etc.  We looked a quite a few older homes, but most of them were still in the age of grandma and we weren’t quite up to the task of stripping wallpaper, refinishing floors and the like.  So when we found our house that had been flipped by someone, we were happy.  Most of the cosmetic work was done and there were new windows, we just needed to add our own flavor.

However, we didn’t pay enough attention to some of the bones.  The side door was beginning to rot (it may have been the original 1920s door) and the porch was newly painted but also was looking a little rough.  Replacing these things on an old home is not easy, because NOTHING is standard size.  You can not walk in to Home Depot or Lowe’s and pick out a door and come home.  Oh, no.  The doors are skinnier and taller and require special order and special installation.  In other words, it is not cheap (or quick!).  Our front porch is going to be replaced next summer and that’s another massive job.   If you want to stick with the 1920s style of the home you have to shell out the big bucks.  I’m really excited to have a new porch, but I’m here to warn you to really inspect the little things because they can become the BIG things.

3.  We didn’t consider our future family.  Ok, so I just wrote a post about how my house isn’t too small so I’m not going to say that at all.  Because we were planning on starting a family ASAP, here is what I wish I would have considered : A downstairs bathroom for pregnancy and potty training!  A dishwasher!  An attached garage (nearly non-existent in old homes though).  These are definitely wants more than needs, but they also make a difference when you’re trying to sell the home. I guess we’ll find out someday.

The one thing we did RIGHT (and it’s a biggee):

We were approved for a much higher mortgage, but we ran the numbers and only bought what we could afford on one income.  It was similar to what we were paying in rent for a 2-bedroom apartment.  Looking back we would have tried to go even lower because our utilities are more.  I’m always sad when someone I know has a baby on the way, or even just a health issue, and they can’t afford to quit working because they can’t afford their home on one income!  Ladies, even if you think you will ALWAYS want to work, speak to your husband about building your expenses around one income.   Life happens!  Once that baby (or illness, or sick family member) is in your life, things may change!  Even if you think those things won’t happen, your husband may lose HIS job and you don’t want to be strapped for making a house payment when he’s trying to find a new way to support his family.    Don’t make yourself house-poor.  The Jones’ won’t make your payment for you, so there is no need to care what they think. 🙂

That’s my thoughts on home-buying for this week!  Would you add anything?  Something you did right or wrong?  Maybe you jumped a little soon and didn’t put 20% down?  Maybe you didn’t realize what a pain it would to trek up a flight of stairs to go to the bathroom?  I’d love to hear!

Next week I plan to talk about if buying a home is really worth it- or how long you should rent for!  The answer may surprise you!

Why we need to stop saying, “You need a bigger house.”

Guys & Gals,

There is something that a few people have told me lately and it really gets my goat.  Pretty much since baby #3 was just a bun in the oven I’ve often heard, “You need a bigger house.”

I don’t get this statement (and I have to curb the need to say, “You need a smaller mouth” LOL).

Here’s the reality:

I don’t need a bigger house. 

house

Our family of 5 lives in a humble 1300 square feet.  When Brian and I bought the house we figured we may have a baby or two and they’d fit just fine considering we had three bedrooms, a yard, and a garage.  Built in 1920, our house is pretty typical for the time in was built.

The current average home size in America is 2,679 sq feet.  The average household contains 2.54 persons.  (I’m not sure where the .54 lives but I think in our case we have 5.54 persons because Miley cat weighs 18 lbs.  I digress.) When new build home statistics were calculated in 1973 the average home size was 1660 sq. ft and there were 3.01 persons in the home.

We’ve shrunken our families but increased the size of our abodes.

In the UK the average home is 818 sq feet, Germany is 1,173 and Spain in 1,044.  The Yoders are actually living high off of the hog compared to our European friends.

Truthfully, there are days when I want a bigger house.  When you walk into our home you are smack dab in our living room.  I’d love to have a foyer to drop our shoes and bags so they aren’t greeting you at the door.  I’d like to have an office where Brian and I could shut the door and hash out those budget meetings.  For goodness sakes, I’d like a toilet on the main floor!

The thing is, we could totally buy a bigger house TOMORROW.  We are in the financial shape to do so and could be approved for a larger mortgage (not tooting our horn, just putting it out there).  We CHOOSE to stay in our home because we love our neighbors, enjoy a small mortgage payment, and really just aren’t up for selling and moving right now (like I wanna keep a house spotless with three littles around).

Also, I don’t think there is anything wrong with kids sharing a bedroom!  Our kids have a few toys in their bedroom but they are typically only in there to sleep.  It doesn’t hurt them to share a dresser and a few square feet, someday they may go to college and have to do this and eventually they may get married and be sharing a whole lot more.

Furthermore, I think as Americans (or Canadians or Australians- at 1948 sq feet and 2303 sq feet, respectively), we can throw this around flippantly without really thinking about what we are saying.  Are we telling people that their home isn’t good enough (even though we don’t live there)?  Are we denying that sometimes people don’t have the financial wherewithal to support a bigger place?  Are we implying that a big home is the marker of success and perfection?  These are issues I think we have to work through.

Also, as Christians, I’ve heard it approached as if “well if they want to have more kids, adopt, foster, etc, they are going to need a bigger house!!!”  Maybe this is just said flippantly, but this is not the Gospel.  The Bible says to “take care of the widows and orphans” not “go get yourself strapped into more debt so you can take in your grandmother.”  Children (and adults) need an environment that is loving and safe- they don’t need their own closet and bathroom.

We choose to have a smaller home because it allows us to give more, save more, and travel more.

Having a small mortgage (and lower utility bills) allows us to pay cash for cars, take vacations, and give to causes when led.  It makes me consider all the stuff I may bring into our home because there may not be a space.  I’m working on living a more minimalist lifestyle and I’m thankful that our smaller house forces me to do that!

So next time your bff or your neighbor tells you that now that baby #2 (or 4 or 6) is on the way you’re going to need a bigger house, ya’ll can smile politely (or roll your eyes) and tell them confidently that you’re doing JUST fine where ya are!  I’m pretty sure our grandmothers had babies sleeping in dresser drawers. 😉

xo

Leah

“You’ll always have a car payment.” (NOT!)

How to change your thinking and change your situation

You won’t “always have a car payment.”  Don’t let your Dad, your buddy, or your hair stylist tell you that.

Unfortunately in our consumerist culture we have been told, “You’ll always have to take out loans for college” and “You’ll always have a mortgage” and so we believe it.  We throw up our hands and agree that Uncle Jimmy must be right, we ARE going to always owe money, so why not just do what feels good now and go “buy” the new car.  (In reality, if you borrow money to get something, it’s not yours until it’s paid off- I always hesitate to say I own a home because in reality I still owe the bank for some of my home– it’s not mine yet).

We evaluate our finances only enough to know that we can afford a $400/month payment so we must be able to afford IT.  But if in reality we only make $40,000 per year, that $18,000 vehicle is really out of our league  ($400 a month is based on borrowing $18,000 at a rate of 3% for 4 years),

audi1

 

Let’s instead say that for 2 years you saved $300/month towards a better vehicle.  I’ll say $300 because that gives you $100/month to put into another account to fix up your clunker.  After two years you would have $7,200!  You can buy a pretty reliable vehicle for $7200!

In the past 8 years, we haven’t spent more than $7000 cash for a vehicle and we’ve driven the wheels off of each one without too much drama.  Do we own the coolest cars in America?  Definitely not.  Do we rest easy knowing that we owe no one for those cars?  Definitely!

This is nothing new- Dave Ramsey teaches this stuff everyday!  However, I have noticed that no matter what, people don’t believe that others actually do this stuff and that it works.

So what’s the deciding factor for having success with this method?

Deciding to do it.

Seriously.

You must change your thinking and set your mindset that you WILL NOT, no matter the circumstances, take out another car loan. Then you have to put your money where your mind is and be diligent about saving NOW.  Changing your spending habits and debt accrual all starts in your head.  If you’re too concerned about what people think or your short-term “Keeping up with the Joneses” you will not make it.

I hate when someone says, “Oh, they drive an Audi (Mercedes, BMW, etc), they must have money.”  I usually respond with “No, they probably have debt.  Most people can get a loan for *insert fancy car name*.”    I’d rather have a cushion for my family in an emergency than some sweet wheels to make us feel good about ourselves.

If you want to win financially, be willing to humble yourself and drive the beater for a few more months…or 100,000 miles.  You won’t regret it!

 

What do you think?  Have you paid cash for a car?  Has someone told you, “you’ll always have a car payment?”  I’d love to hear!

How good mentorship can change your finances and your life

Why do young men begin a life of thievery or violence in order to support their habits?

Why do some women serial date men that will never commit to marriage?

Why do young students go out and borrow $100,000 for a Bachelors degree?

This, and other issues, I believe can be radically changed by changing the level of mentorship in our society.

Sometimes, this mentorship will be called parenting, but many times it won’t come directly from the parents.  I remember reading something that said from the early teens onward, children aren’t keen to take mentorship from their own parents, they want to hear things from a trusted friend or family member, like an aunt or uncle or grandparent.

Untitled

The concept of mentorship has been around since Biblical times.

Paul writes in Titus 2 (ESV):

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,that the word of God may not be reviled.  Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.  Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Oh, how I’ve failed at this, too!  I’m not sure how much I’m teaching younger women to love their children or husbands when I’ve had a bad day and I’m crabby about my circumstances.  My grandma mentored me for much of my young life, and that didn’t mean she was perfect.  She had bad days, too!  But she committed the time just to sit with me,  let me talk, and then engage me with her thoughts.

In his book WreckedJeff Goins said:

“We need initiation- the older generation walking with the younger one, helping them learn where to walk and how.  This is called mentorship and its grossly needed in our schools, churches and culture… We need practical training where young people, even children, learn by doing, not merely watching or hearing.”

I think much of our student loan crisis could go back to a lack of mentorship.  If the parent who is co-signing the loans or helping the child apply for loans doesn’t explain, “Hey Jr, these 4 years of late nights and fun are going to cost you the equivalent of a mortgage payment.  Enjoy your fun now, because you’re going to be paying $700/month for the next 20 years,” how are young people supposed to know what they are really in for?  I’m thankful for my dad, who when I wanted to go to a different college said about my full-ride to Capital University, “You’re going there, you’ll thank me later.”

Many parents would rather see their children be happy than teach them to make wise choices.

I have a friend who went to college two years after high school because his parents took the time to teach him that college debt wasn’t necessary. He worked full-time those two years to help pay for his education.  In the grand scheme of life, him getting his bachelors degree at 24 instead of 22 did not ruin his career, but it did save him from a lot of interest payments!

Russell Moore wrote a piece on mentors and a few of his suggestions were very practical.  Be specific when you ask for mentoring.  Rely on different mentors for different aspects of your life.  You may know someone that has fruit on the tree when it comes to their finances or business- seek them out for advice on those matter.  Maybe you know a couple that has a marriage that you want to emulate- ask them how they do it.

There is nothing wrong about seeking out a mentor.  I’d rather look dumb by asking about a subject with which I need help than just go about something blindly.  After all, when I want to know more about something, I’ll pick up a book and take advice from someone I know nothing about- how much better to take counsel from someone from whom I have directly witnessed their character.

Do you have a mentor in your life?  Maybe someone mentored you as a young person and you believe it changed the trajectory of your life?   I’d love to hear!

For your additional reading:

A mentoring cheat sheet

A Conversation about Retirement

Happy #MoneyMonday!  I know that most of my readers are young whipper-snappers (that phrase makes me seem OLD) but I think retirement, or our vision for retirement should really be in our minds from the onset of our careers.

Last week I blogged about long-term thinking, and I know some wake up everyday living for the paycheck, and others wake up everyday living for retirement (from what I have encountered, the younger you are it is the first and the older you are, it’s the latter).

Mr. Yoder Toter and I have not always agreed on this issue.  I tend to be more of a rule-breaker.  I always hated the idea of working somewhere for 30+ years and then retiring for maybe 30 years.  Life experience and losing friends when they were young always made me think that it was better to enjoy things  (especially travel) while young and relatively fit because health and long life are not guaranteed.  Mr. YT, however, has always thought I had too much anxiety (ha!).  He has always been a more content soul and fairly happy to work somewhere until his retirement years.

Almost a decade ago, I read Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Workweek and even though at the time I wasn’t able to work remotely and travel all over the world, it spurred in me an uneasiness with the lifestyle we were living.  Ferriss believes in taking mini-retirements, and although most 9-5ers may think that this isn’t possible, once you get 3-4 weeks of vacation time and take all of it at once,  you are basically able to do a mini-retirement.

retirement photo

Maybe another issue, especially as Christians, is whether we really believe that once we retire we have “earned” the right to take it easy for 20-30 years.  I don’t think we are called to pursue idleness.  Rest is obviously important in any season of life, but if we are in good health we can use our golden years to help with grandchildren, serve in the community, or even spend time abroad in ministry.

Overall, most Millennials (unless school teachers or government workers) aren’t going to work somewhere for 30 years and retire with a comfortable pension.  1. Not many our age are committed enough to work somewhere that long.  2. I don’t know of any employer still offering a pension plan.

Where did the concept of retirement even come from?  I’d never realized this  (From Michael Hyatt’s blog):

Retirement has always been used as a way for people in authority to induce behaviors in others for their own purposes. Augustus Caesar, for instance, gave his former soldiers big pensions to prevent them from becoming disgruntled and overthrowing the government.

And Chancellor Otto von Bismark threw a wet blanket on socialist radicals in Germany by offering payouts to the elderly.

The common denominator in these and other examples is that retirement was a way of buying people off and getting them out of the picture. I think the modern idea of retirement, stemming directly from the industrialized workplace, is the same.

Wow!

I won’t even get started on student loan debt.  The idea of saving for retirement when straddled with 80k+ in student loans may be one reason why Forbes asked this question: Are Millennials the Lost Retirement Generation?

I’ll do a follow-up post on some of our goals for “retirement” but for now I just wanted to open your eyes to some other options that are out there and get your feedback!

What are you thoughts on retirement?  Are you happy to trade 30-40 years of your life in hopes that when you are 65 you’ll be healthy enough to do the things you love?  Do you give up saving money for retirement in order to enjoy your life more now?  Or do you really like what you do and you’ll stay there until they kick you out?

More Reading:

Why retirement is overrated and we’re not holding out hope for someday

 

 

 

 

The #3 Must-Do for Financial Success

I think most financial experts will tell you that 90% of success with money is really just behavior.  You can make very little and leave something for the next generation if you are very wise about your spending and how you invest.  Even my previous posts (here and here) were nothing about financial strategies but more about your overall outlook on life.

legacy quote

 

I heard this quote recently and it kind of wrecked me.  Really, this quote about legacy could apply to more than just finances- it’s something great to consider when looking at our relationships as parents, grandparents, spouses, and friends.  Do I always play for my last name?  No.  I can think of times as a parent especially when I have just completely become unglued because of the selflessness that is required.  Instead of considering the legacy I am leaving to my children, I many times can’t see past the circumstances of each day!

However, looking at the quote from a financial perspective, I see one thing:

We need to value our long-term, not short-term results.

I know that isn’t rocket science.  You’ve heard before that if you want to invest in the stock market you have to be willing to deal with the ups and downs for 20 or more years until your retirement– That the long-term outlook is what matters.  It seems to me though that once we stop talking about your 401k, we also stop talking about long term results. Instead it’s “two weeks til paycheck” or “this car only costs $300 per month.”

We have so been there, too! I already told you about our first year of marriage when we had $40 in our account and literally drove as fast as we could to Applebees because payday was tomorrow- TIME TO CELEBRATE.  Haha.

I want to make the tough choices and budget well so that my kids don’t have to worry about if the finances are there to put me into the nursing home, or get me a home health aide.  I don’t want them to hear us have fights about our bank account balance. I know I talk about Dave Ramsey like he is my bff, but I just finished reading The Legacy Journey (which comes highly recommended, by the way),   He says, “Your kids are watching you.  If they see you budgeting, saving, working, and giving, then that’s what they’ll most likely do.  If they see you stress out about money, buy big things on impulse, go into debt for purchases, and never give a dime to anyone, then that’s what they’ll probably do.”  Ouch!  Even if you don’t have children- do you want your nieces and nephews to do what you do?  Do you want your legacy to be one full of stress and debt and a closed fist?  I don’t.

I want to play for my last name.  I want the Yoders to be remembered as cheerful givers and smart savers.  I want to stop worrying about only my wants and my desires so that we can impact our children, our friends, and God’s kingdom for years to come.

 

When you read this quote- what do you think of-  Your finances?  Maybe your parenting?  Or even your faith?  I’d love to hear.

5 Reasons Why Marrying Young is a Good Thing

I’ve been thinking of this post for a long time, but I’ve noticed a few other posts in blogland that also talk about marrying young so I debated whether to share our experience.  You can never have enough of a good thing, though, right?  So here’s 5 reason why I think marrying young is the way to go…

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Just kids!

 

1.  Maturity isn’t a number.  I’ve met 18 year olds that act like they are 30, and I’ve met 30 year olds that don’t act a day over 18.  I don’t think there’s a perfect number out there for when you should take the plunge into matrimony.  I think all things considered one should look at whether they really feel this is the man or woman they can do covenant-style marriage with, every day for all days.

2.  Instance Cure for Selfishness.  Marriage should never be approached as “making life better” in the sense that you hope once you marry someone they’ll stop being a real jerk. Ha.  But marriage will cure your selfishness, and in a day-and-age of the #selfie generation, we could all use a step away from thinking the world revolves around us.  Putting someone else first, ironing their work shirts, or helping out with chores will make you realize quickly that you aren’t here only for you.  If you wait to do that for the first time when you are 35, yikes, it’s going to be a harder transition!

3. You’ll Grow Up Together.  Brian and I started dating the weekend I turned 16.  Not everyone goes that far back with their spouse, but the thing I’ve noticed with friends that met in college or beyond is we had a lot less drama or baggage to work through.  He was there when I got college acceptance letters, and I was there to edit his first resume.  There’s not much to surprise you when you’ve done most of your “firsts” together.

4.  There Will be Plenty of Want.  I always giggle when the pastor at a wedding says, “In plenty and in want” instead of “for richer or poorer,”  it’s like by changing the wording things will work out better.  Brian and I made a lot of dumb decisions when we first got married (before we tuned in to the teachings of Dave Ramsey), but either way, we were broke and pretty much had the money from our wedding as our back-up plan.  I was still in college and writing papers in our closet.  No joke, we had removed the 2nd murphy bed and put my desk in the closet!  When we had friends over we flipped our murphy bed into the wall and got out a card table! Ha! You could also sit on the toilet, put your hands in the sink, and your feet in the bathtub- our apartment was a love nest and that is all!  I still choke up when I hear John Denver sing, “I know we ain’t got money, but I’m so in love with you honey…”  I know that a lot of parents don’t want their kids (i.e. young adults) to get married because they don’t think they’ll be able to afford it.  And you know what- they won’t!!  But they’ll do what the rest of us did and they’ll have to figure it out.  I believe that if you guide them into staying out of debt and living on less than they make, they will be fine!  Let them live off of love for awhile (and please preach this to me when my kids want to marry at 20. ;))

5.  Sexual Sins.  I’m a Christian, so it has to be said.  The longer you meddle in serious relationships, the more sexual sin you are going to have to deal with.  One of you may come to the marriage with a past, or maybe you delayed marriage and now you’ve crossed the line you hoped to keep.  We remember what being teenagers and young adults was like (AHHHH!) and I think there’s something to be said for setting a standard…and then not having a long engagement!!  I have no idea how we will broach this subject as parents (Lord, help us!), but I think as a Christian community we need to be more upfront and vocal about this topic.

Would you add anything?  Did you marry young and think it taught you something?

 

I’m by no means saying that marriage (young or old) is always fun or easy- we have both made a LOT of mistakes over the years!  

 

The #2 Must-Do for Financial Success

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Two Words That Will Change your Financial Future  And yes, while I still believe it true that delaying gratification will help everything to fall into place, there is another BIG thing you must do if you want to succeed at getting out of debt and staying on track.

You have to stop caring what other people think.

Some people would rather impress their sister or their best friend than leave an inheritance to their children.

Think about high school- why on earth would you pay $70 for Abercrombie jeans?  Their awesome fit and quality?  NO!  You paid $70 for hole-y jeans because everyone else was buying them and it made you feel good.

Twenty years later and that transfers to a car payment as big as a mortgage because you have three kids and NEED a Yukon.

dif shoes
This dude obviously doesn’t care what people think.

 

Being responsible with money isn’t trendy.

It’s not fashionable to wear Goodwill clothes and carry a 6-yr old purse.

It’s not fun to pull up at someone’s house and your squealing car announces your arrival.

It’s uncool to still rent when everyone is buying a house.

And while the things above include delayed gratification, the bigger issue may just be that you can’t give up what people think of you.

When people call into Dave Ramsey’s show whining about what people will think of them he usually says, “I don’t take advice from broke people.”

Unless the person giving you advice has fruit on the tree, they probably are completely clueless.

If you read The Millionaire Next Door, you’ll find out that the average millionaire wears old(er) clothes, drives a used vehicle, and basically appears nothing like you think.  Most people that care what people think don’t have what it takes to do this.

Even if you step away from finances, if you are paralyzed but people think you may never step out and homeschool because what will your teacher friends think?  Or step inside a church because what will your drinking buddies think?   Or take on a new business or career because what will my Mom, Dad, Aunt Betty think?  As Mr. Wonderful says on Shark Tank, “Stop the madness!!!”

In closing, if you need any more motivation to stop worrying about the Jones’, Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge says that at most funerals, only 10 people cry.  That’s a pretty sad statistic.  Don’t garner your existence on what people may or may not think of you!  They won’t even cry when you die!  (Depressing, I know).

Live your life.

Live your goals.

Stop looking around.

 Have you ever been paralyzed by fear about what people may think?  It doesn’t have to be finances related- maybe you didn’t want to have another baby, or move out of state??  Or maybe you just felt you were letting others influence your decision-making a little too much?!

Money and Awkward Social Situations

It’s Money Monday!

One of my friends recently gave me the idea to talk about how money can make for awkward conversations when invited to an event or outing.

Maybe you’re invited to dinner and you don’t have the funds to eat at an expensive steakhouse.

Maybe you’re asked to be a bridesmaid and you know a dress + shoes + hotel + bachelorette party is going to put you out $500 or more.

Or you could be just saving for something big or trying to get out of debt so you don’t want to go to another happy hour, work social, or concert.

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I think we all need to be sensitive to each other’s budgets and financial situations.  I know it’s hard to be transparent but it’s ridiculous to pressure someone into doing anything when they may not be in the situation to pay the bill.

I’ve talked with friends who were mad because their group went out to dinner and  everyone decided to just “throw in” for the bill.  But Tommy and Pam didn’t order drinks or an appetizer, so they thought they should only owe $25 while John and Suzie owe $45.  It may seem petty to you, but $20 may be huge to someone that is trying to get out of a bad situation!  I’m all for generosity, but if they don’t want to shout your beer then they shouldn’t be required to!

 

I wonder if some of this comes from the fact that most people in America live under a facade.

We try to appear wealthy when we really aren’t— we take on debt we can’t afford to prove to people that we have “made it.”

Our family uses the Dave Ramsey envelope system to budget for grocery, eating out, babysitting, and “fun money” (i.e. extra eating out, a clothing item, etc).  We’ve gotten so much slack for this from different people… but as with most things in life, you have to believe enough in what you are doing so that when negativity comes your way it doesn’t make you change your course!

I think it’s perfectly fine to refuse a dinner invitation – no explanation needed but you could say, “We’re not going to be able to attend.  We’re trying to (insert best fit) pay off car, go to Europe, save for a new couch, etc…”

It’s also okay to say you can’t be in a wedding or attend a function that is outside your budget.

True friends will always understand and show grace.  The rest aren’t worth it.

 

Has your goal-setting created some awkward money situations?  Have you declined an invitation and cited financial reasons?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

More reading:

Two Words that Will Change Your Financial Future