5 ways to SAVE MONEY on groceries

I just ran a 5 Day Grocery Challenge for the back-to-school season… because lemme tell you… my good budgeting habits went right out the window this summer. The pandemic didn’t help for a number of reasons… 1) Money that I would have spent on kids sports… vacation… memberships etc all went towards other things… including ordering in, food, and alcohol. Soooo it was easy to stop meal planning. Why bother? I was dealing with the chaos of working with home alongside the kids… it took forever to get through the line ups at the grocery store… and I just didn’t have the energy. But after the kids went back to school I had a good hard look at how much money we’ve been EATING. Yikes.

I wasn’t alone on this challenge… 100 other women joined in… and the engagement was explosive!!! Every day for 5 days I got on the camera live to teach a lesson and give a task to this incredible group of hard working women…. and they delivered. Ohhhhh yes.

By the end of the challenge the group was flooding with messages about how much money these women were going to save with their new found skills… and better yet… what they were going to DO with these savings. Because it’s really not about how much money you are spending on food. It’s about your goals. If you COULD save $7,800 per year like the lovely lady above… what would you DO with it? Would it let you go on that vacation your family hasn’t had in 4 years? Would it let you trade in your clunker of a car for something safer (and let’s be honest… a little more stylish?) Is your goal worth doing a bit of work to change the way that you do grocery shopping? That’s up to you.

Here are the BIG 5 WAYS that you can SAVE money in the grocery store.

#1 – Shop in your OWN pantry first.

This is HUGE, ladies. You may not even realize how much food you already have sitting in your house. Be just came out of a pandemic… so some of you may have an apocolyptic amount of food. You gotta stop any food waste… because those are your hard earned dollars. If you’re putting that money into your freezer and then it gets freezer burned and chucked out… that’s YOUR MONEY you’re throwing away. Some of the challenge members took DAYS to finish their inventory sheets, because they had food buried so far in the deep freeze they needed winter gloves to handle it all. Write down EVEYRTHING that you have in your pantry, freezer, cupboards, and fridge. USE the ingredients that you have ALREADY PAID FOR!!!!

I’ve got some pretty inventory sheets in my free shopping guide that you can print to write it all down on. Click here to get it!

#2 – List out your family FAVOURITES

List out your favourite recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I want you to actually sit down with your kids and spouse and talk about your favourite things to eat, so that you create a list of go-to’s that won’t fail you. This is because we just get busy. And when we get busy and are juggling more balls than we can handle… and are HUNGRY on top of that… we end up ordering in instead of winning a battle against the every-day question “What’s for dinner??!?” Plus, if these meals are your favourite… chances are the ingredients are things that you use regularly. You need a go-to list of things that are easy. And don’t just write down a few. Rack your brain and really think, so that you have a HUGE list of stuff to pull from. Busy mom’s do NOT have the bandwidth to come up with pinterest-level gourmet meals every single day. Don’t put that pressure on yourself. Get that list done so that you can look at it and make something without having to think much about it.

*BONUS: List out some meals that freeze really well, so that you can make a bunch of them to stick in the freezer for days that you just need a quick meal.

#3 – Come up with THEMES

Themes are an AWESOME way to simplify your meal planning! We have all heard of TACO TUESDAY. But it’s more than just making tacos on Tuesday. You could make the SAME tacos and eat them 4 weeks in a row by putting the ingredients into the freezer for the next week. You could have a different kind of taco every Tuesday. You might just make Taco Tuesday your Mexican Food Day. The point is to keep it simple by coming up with a theme for the day to save you precious time and energy. Other great themes are FISH FRIDAY… MEATLESS MONDAY… PASTA DAY… SOUP DAY… You get it. Come up with at least 7 themes that you can commit to. Make enough for lunches the next day… or make enough that you can put some in the freezer for FREEZER FRIDAY. Make a little extra so that you can put it into an omelette for the morning. Think of ways that you can make MORE on one night so that you can save time and use it again for another meal.

Are you afraid of commitment? Okay. Do 3 or 4 themes for the week and then use your family favourites list to make up the rest of the week.

#4 – Meal Plan ONLINE, and use your guide!

Okay, so you have a list of everything in your house. You have a roster of your favourite recipes. And you have some theme ideas for the week. Keep your meal planning as simple as possible. Write down the days of the week and what your family will be eating each day. Choose recipes that use up the ingredients that you already have as much as possible.

Next… you’re gonna go online to shop for the ingredients that you’re lacking. Go on your local grocery store and order it from there. If it’s not on the meal plan list… it doesn’t go in your cart. STAY FOCUSED. Shopping online will stop you from throwing impulse buys into the cart and will help you compare pricing for ingredients. Also… it’s a lot easier to take items back out of your cart online than it is in real life if you decide you don’t want it anymore. Use your shopping guide! I’ve got 28 small tips and tricks that will add up to big savings. For example… buy smaller fruits. They go by weight and if you give your kid an apple bigger than their head they’re just gonna eat half anyway. Buy a jug of popcorn kernals instead of microwave bags. Stay under $1.99/lb for produce.

Don’t forget to download my free shopping guide that tells you the average price you should be aiming for key things like meat, produce, cheese etc.

#5 – Shop only once a week.

Ran out? OH WELL. This is something that I say to my boys maybe 1000 times a day. If you have kids, you will probably relate to this. If you run out of something… oh well. Find something else. You won’t die without bananas. (Side note… if there IS something that you would actually die without, please go buy it.) Improvise your recipes if you are out of an ingredient. The more you go into the store, the more chance for extra items to jump into your cart. Resist the urge to drop in for that one thing. Chances are… you can do without.

I run my Grocery Shopping Challenges four times a year… and they’re always a FUN time. (plus, I give out prizes. Last time it was an air fryer.) If you wanna be told when the next one opens up, follow me on social media or download my shopping guide!

28 Tips to SAVE Money on Groceries!

This worksheet was brought to you by Lindsay Plumb and the Pretty Money Club for the Back to School Grocery Challenge!! For MORE ways to save at the grocery store, click to get Lindsay’s FREE grocery guide!

Eat Healthy, Save Money.

No, I’m not pulling your leg. Yes, it is possible! Some of you may already practice healthy eating and find that you save money while doing it. Others may be skeptical that healthy eating actually ends up costing less in the long run. Regardless of your situation, I was inspired to write this article to motivate and encourage you to think about ways to curb the spending and make tasty, healthy meals for your loved ones. I am in no way suggesting your current eating habits are unhealthy; I’m simply trying to challenge some myths about healthy eating and saving money, and hopefully show you that it is entirely possible to save money in a world where food prices are on the rise and packaged foods are constantly pushed on us. So, without further ado, here are three things I find useful when applying healthy living to cost-friendly eating habits. 

1.     Buy the good stuff 

A lot of misconception around the belief that healthy eating costs less is because the products that go into a healthy dish cost more up front. For example, a bottle of pure maple syrup costs a lot more than a bottle of corn syrup. If you purchase the pure maple syrup, at the surface it looks like you are getting less bang for your buck when in reality you are saving. The reason why you are saving is because you need less of the pure stuff, since it is a lot more concentrated and flavourful than processed corn syrup. Also, you are investing in your family’s health in the long-term. Pure maple syrup is chalk full of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese, and even copper. Of course, it does still contain sugar. On the bright side, since it contains sugar you can even use maple syrup in place of white or brown sugar in baking recipes. Enough about maple syrup. My point is that if you buy the good products up-front, it may seem like you are spending more when in the long run you are saving big bucks because you can use that ingredient in many dishes and use less of it as well. A good product goes a long way. Buy the good stuff, ladies! 

2.     Think ahead and carve out the time 

True, it takes time to prep and cook a recipe from scratch rather than buying it pre-cooked and pre-packaged. But if you think ahead and carve out the time necessary to prepare meal ideas and cook, you will find it really is not as bad as it seems. Think of a weekly meal plan, and at the beginning of the week purchase the stuff needed to make every meal. Make more than one meal at the same time, refrigerate them for later use, and heat the dish up when you are ready to eat it. Most dishes can be refrigerated for 3-5 days, sometimes up to a whole week. Prep a giant bowl of salad in advance and put everything in except for the meat and dressing. It will keep for easily 3-5 days. Sip on a nice glass of white, red, or Rosé while cooking and put on some relaxing tunes. Even enlist your little ones to help you. Get creative with your meal-prep and you will find it to be quite an enjoyable experience. I typically do my weekly shopping and meal-preps on Sundays, but you know what works best for you. The hardest part is getting into the habit of doing it. As soon as you create a routine, you will likely find that you look forward to the evening of rationing, organizing, and cooking in advance. Keep snacks on-hand, because looking at and smelling a weeks-worth of tasty meals might give you and your loved ones the munchies! Think ahead and carve out the time necessary to create healthy, tasty, and cost-efficient meals in advance. You may be pleasantly surprised at how satisfying and easy this is to do. 

3.     Buy in bulk 

Rather than buying a box of pasta, head to the Bulk Barn and purchase a large bag of it for roughly the same price. Rather than buying a jar of pre-made pasta sauce, buy a big can of tomatoes, a few spices and herbs, and make your own. Rather than buying a tub of pre-packaged lettuce, buy a romaine heart and wash/cut it up yourself. You get my point. Grocery stores are so good at selling us ‘convenience’ items at a huge mark-up. Sure, it is convenient. But it is also extremely costly and produces more waste than we know what to do with. There are so many benefits to buying in bulk, and it’s extremely easy to manage. Wash and chop your lettuce yourself and save $2 or more, just like that. Take the time to cut up your vegetables and store them in a leftover container in the fridge. It really doesn’t take as long as they’re leading you to believe and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much money you will save in the long run. Purchase a large tray of chicken breasts rather than two at a time, prepare all of them at once and freeze the ones you do not plan on eating right away in one or several freezer-safe Ziploc® bags. Or, buy a whole bird and roast it; you can use all the meat in different recipes throughout the week, and even boil the leftovers to make a chicken stock. Not only are you saving money buying in bulk, you are also saving the environment by purchasing less plastics. Buy in bulk! 

So, there you have it. Three simple ways to curb the food budget and feed your loved ones healthy meals so that they have the nutrients and energy to succeed. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with your routine. And don’t be discouraged if you miss a week. Trust the process. You’re already here reading this, which tells me you are curious to try something new and change your habits. Try these three habits above, pay attention to your budget for the month, and let the numbers speak for themselves. Enjoy saving money and eating healthy!   

P.S. – I’ve got a kick-ass challenge coming up where I’mma give you a shopping guide that has saved my clients hundreds of dollars a month on their grocery budget, show you what you should be budgeting for food, share some awesome family friendly recipes, AND connect you with other busy women that have tricks up their sleeves to share. PLUS.. there’s a prize. Join my facebook group to know as soon as the challenge goes live!

and if you want some yummy recipes ASAP… here’s a sneak preview to my recipe book!

How much money does cooking it yourself REALLY save you?

Before you get into this blog post, know that I am a busy mom, wife, and entrepreneur. Even though my passion is to help women make their money pretty… I am NOT gonna tell you that going out for dinner or ordering meals in is a no-no. I GET what it’s like to come home at the end of the day (or emerge from your bedroom-turned-home-office-because-covid) and NOT want to cook. I personally don’t consider myself much of a homemaker and find myself in woe if I have to come up with dinner on the spot. BUT I have also noticed that food delivery services and ordering in has increased (in my home and in my Pretty Money Club members.) I read comments on Facebook threads where women were wondering aloud how much more it reallllly costs to just get that take-out instead of going to all the trouble making it at home. So I got curious. I did a lot of math. The short answer is YES; making food at home DEFINITELY saves you money. But you might be shocked to know just how much.

Get the whole family involved in burger making tonight! In this blog post I compare the cost of a burger meal from three different restaurants, and then show you my own burger recipe in an effort to show you how easy it is to make a meal that everyone will enjoy while saving money and eating healthier. Good for your wallet, good for your body!

McDonald’s: Quarter Pounder with Cheese combo

(source: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html)

Cost per person: $10.89 + tax
Total Cost for family of 4: $48.79 incl. tax

Burger:

  • 100% Canadian beef
  • Pepper & salt for seasoning
  • Processed Cheese Slice
  • Pickles
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Toasted sesame seed bun

Fries (medium size):

  • Potatoes, Cooked in vegetable oil blend (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil)
  • Salt

Beverage:

  • Coca cola (med) with ice

Although a night out at McDonald’s is the cheapest option out of all three restaurants, it does not mean you are getting your money’s worth. It’s also not the most glamourous night out, as I’m sure you can imagine. Not only does the caloric intake of this meal total half of an average adult’s daily recommended intake, but the calories in this meal are not healthy ones. The reason for this is primarily because there many more additives in McDonald’s food that gives it a distinct flavour, but that also makes the food less natural and therefore a lot unhealthier to consume. You can easily make this meal at home using cleaner food choices.

[For instance, make French fries from scratch with Canadian russet potatoes simply by peeling, rinsing, slicing, and baking for 40 minutes.] [Another way to cut the calories and is to opt out Coca cola with a cleaner beverage, such as soda water with a squirt of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. ]

Moxie’s: Cheeseburger

(source: https://moxies.com/restaurant-locations/bc/victoria-yates-street/touchless-menu)

Cost per person: $16.00 (not incl. drink) + tax and gratuity
Total Cost for family of 4: $71.68 incl. tax, before gratuity

Burger:

  • Beef patty
  • Aged white cheddar
  • Red relish
  • Pickled mustard seed mayo
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Pickles
  • Toasted sesame brioche bun

Served with fries

Moxie’s does a good job of packing their burgers full of goodies. I especially like the fact that they include lettuce and red onions (although there’s currently a recall on red onions in North America, so you’ll have to settle for white or yellow). I also appreciate that they use real cheese. Yum! While this is a better option than fast food, in terms of both dining experience and health consciousness, the cost is much higher. You’re looking at more than $70 for a family of 4, before drinks and gratuity. The burger meal does not include a drink, so you can expect to add at least an additional $3.50 each for a soda, or more if you and/or the hubby wants a glass of beer. The costs add up quickly if you include the whole family.

OLO Restaurant, Victoria BC: Cheeseburger

(source: https://www.olorestaurant.com/menus)

Cost per person: $23.00 (not incl. drink) + tax and gratuity
Total Cost for family of 4: $103.04+ incl. tax before gratuity

Burger:

  • Beef patty
  • Mushroom ketchup
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles

Served with fries

I appreciate that this burger includes a unique mushroom ketchup. Still, this is a pretty penny for a cheeseburger meal, especially for a family on a budget. Again, drinks are not included in the meal cost. OLO does not list the cost of a soda on their website, but one can assume a class of Coca cola or the like would be in the range of $3.00 or more.

Make it from home:

Cost per person: $5.58 (not incl. drink)
Total Cost for family of 4: $22.32 (not incl. drink)

I was pretty generous in OVER estimating the cost of portions of things that you could buy in bulk… so this example would be if you went into a grocery store, had to buy ALL the ingredients, and didn’t bother to look for sales. Normally the recipes that I recommend come in at $12.00 for a family of four. Yep. TWELVE DOLLARS. If you need to know these recipes, join my facebook group exclusively for women who want to make their money pretty. I’m gonna be running a grocery challenge soon and I’ll definitely be sharing some winning eats.

BURGER:Price per burger (prices are approximate)Price per family of 4Bulk price before tax
6 oz. ground beef $1.68$6.73$4.49 /lb, buy 1.5lbs = $6.73
Salt & pepper for seasoning$.10*$.40*$5.64 for S&P shakers, 155g ea.
Slice of cheddar cheese (20g)$.49$1.96$7.35 for 300g
Vegetable oil$.02$.08$4.59 for 1.42L
Sesame hamburger bun$.37$1.49$2.99 for 8 pack
Pickles$.15$.60$4.79 for 500ml jar
Ketchup$.03$.12$2.99 for 750ml container
Lettuce$.37$1.49$2.99 for 1 bunch
Onion$.09$.37$.74 each
TOTAL PRICE to make burgers:$3.30$13.20$39.08




FRIES:Price per portionPrice per family of 4Bulk price before tax
2lbs Potatoes $1.98$7.92$0.99 /lb
Vegetable oil$.80$.80Already purchased above
Salt$.10$.40Already purchased above
TOTAL PRICE to make fries:$2.88$9.12$10.01




TOTAL COST to make dinner @ home:$5.58$22.32$49.09

Ingredients:

Burger (yield: 1 burger):

  • 6 oz. ground beef (for the best burgers, use ground beef with 80/20 meat to fat ratio)
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning
  • Slice of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Sesame hamburger bun
  • 1 pickle, sliced
  • Ketchup
  • Lettuce
  • 2-3 slices of onion

Directions:

  1. Heat vegetable oil on a pan using high heat (preferably cast iron).
  2. Form beef patties and season with salt & pepper. Poke a thumbprint in the middle of each patty and place cheese on top of patty.
  3. Place each patty on the pan and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Ensure the cheese is melted.
  4. Place sliced pickles, lettuce, onion and ketchup on toasted bun.
  5. Place cooked burger patty on bun & close. You’re done!

French fries (yield: 4 servings):

  • 2 lbs (6) potatoes, sliced into strips
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Peel & rinse potatoes. Cut them into sticks by cutting potato into 4-5 vertical pieces, then cutting each piece into sticks.
  2. Place in large bowl with cold water. Allow them to soak for 2-3 hours (or overnight if it’s easier).
  3. When you’re ready to make fries, drain water & lay potatoes on a baking sheet lined with paper towel. Blot the potatoes with paper towel to dry them.
  4. Heat a few inches of oil in a large pot. Cook potatoes in 2 batches until soft, 4-5 minutes per batch. This starts the cooking process; do not cook fully. Remove each batch and drain onto new/dry paper towels.
  5. Turn up heat, and when oil is hot, fry potatoes in batches again until fries are golden crisp. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and voila!

In this recipe I’ve drawn from each of the three restaurant orders in an effort to show how you can make a dish similar to theirs for much cheaper at home. For vegan/vegetarian option, substitute beef for Beyond Meat™ burger patties. They are a bit pricier, however, and will run you about $9.99 for two. Also you can substitute cheese slice for Daiya cheese (20g per burger), which is approximately $4-5 per 200g bag. The prices were extracted from the Save-on-Foods online shopping portal (www.shop.saveonfoods.com). If you already have ingredients on-hand, like salt, pepper, vegetable oil, and ketchup, this whole meal will cost you even less than what is listed above.

So, you can feed a family of 4 at home for cheaper than what you’d pay even at McDonald’s, with better ingredients. Even if you have to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients in bulk, you’ll still pay less than what you would pay at McDonald’s for one dinner… and you’ll have ingredients left over for future meals. And with a little elbow grease, you’ll feel better knowing you made it all from scratch. Amazing, right?!

If you wanna get on board with me and learn some grocery hacks that will save you hundreds of dollars every month… join my free facebook group. I’m gonna be going live to share my secrets with you… and I’ll be hosting an awesome challenge in September with a yummy prize. I’d love for you to join in!

OR if you want some FREE recipes, I’ve got a few up my sleeve. How does $4 dinners, $3 lunches, and $2 breakfasts sound??? Yummy. That’s how. Click here for some recipe inspo!

How to Avoid BLOWING YOUR BUDGET as the economy re-opens

Being stuck at home has its perks. If you’re like the ladies that voted on my poll… you’re actually saving money. No daycare bills. No Friday night movie nights. No vacations. Student loan repayments are put on hold. Less driving and parking. No kids sports registrations. Most people said that they have more cash on hand… and it feels good. If you could turn saving into an exciting habit, I’d tell you to ride that dopamine thrill and keep saving!

This isn’t usually how it works though. I’ve met many ladies that have become EXPERT online shoppers. From groceries and clothes to other basic life necessities, the majority of things can be purchased online these days. Businesses that weren’t up to snuff on the e-commerce wave suddenly emerged online. Those pesky internet ads don’t help either. Social media algorithms are programmed to collect information and show you exactly what you’re looking for. Online shopping is the new norm, and corporations know this. You may feel a sense of security having those extra dollars on hand… but in the click of a button (literally) you can spend it all away.

I’m in British Columbia, Canada…. and now that BC is in phase 3 of our COVID-19 re-opening, I know it’s tempting to treat yourself and/or your family. Stores everywhere are having mega sales in an effort to get that money you’ve been saving. Local businesses that are worthy of our support are asking for it. Don’t get me wrong… I believe in spending your money with joy. But I coach my clients to create a budget plan that allows them the freedom to do so. Without a budget in place for your joyful spending, it can become wild and unchecked. Here are my hot tips for resisting over-splurging.

  1. Make a budget that includes the future.

We all want to get out and enjoy the fact that we can actually walk around a store and make purchases again, but if you don’t have a specific amount set aside for your free spending, you could be spending away your goals… or the money you need for the roof that’s gonna leak in 3 years. You gotta plan for future you and think about how you want your money to work toward your goals. When you have a clear vision for your values and dreams…. that super cute pair of shoes just might not be worth delaying your dream trip by even a week. Or if you had a crystal ball that would tell you your water tank is gonna burst next month, you might not decide to buy that new patio furniture. Get what I’m layin’ down?

  1. Wait 24-48 hours before making a purchase

See something you really want to buy and genuinely think you need? Wait it out. Sleep on it. You’d be surprised how quickly you forget about an item you may not actually need. Stores are doubling down on marketing these days and are trying to make up for lost time by reaching into your pockets… and making it seem REALLY URGENT. Don’t fall for it. If you wait a day or two and still believe that you need to buy it, go back and make the purchase. You’ll feel better knowing you’ve made a smart purchase rather than an impulse buy.

  1. Take a break from social media

Not only are those annoying ads trying to sell you on whatever it is they think you need, your Facebook friends are also posting about the new gadgets they’ve purchased or the new home renovation they’ve just completed. This leads us to make subconscious comparisons about what they have versus what we have, and we then start to think about whether we need those things too. Take a break. Go outside and explore. Leave your technology at home. Not only will your wallet thank you, but so will your mind. It is much easier to avoid the temptations of social media marketing if your mind is in the right place.

  1. Make meals from scratch

Meal-prep food services deliver ready-made meals straight to your door; how convenient! You can get fast food delivered in under an hour. Yes please! It may seem easier and cheaper than going to the grocery store and making everything from scratch, but keep in mind these services charge for delivery, sometimes upwards of $2.99 for one meal…. and convenience. (Is it really worth an extra 2 bucks to have your bell pepper chopped FOR you??) And if you order more than a few times a month, these additional fees add up quickly. If you find yourself at home with more time than usual, why not take advantage and make your meals from scratch? Not only are you saving money by grocery shopping, you are also helping the environment by cutting down on packaging.

  1. Do your own home improvements

Of course, leave the plumbing and electrical to the professionals if these trades aren’t in your repertoire of skills. But there are many things you can do yourself to spruce up your home and by doing so you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in labour costs. For instance, rather than tossing and buying new, you can sand and paint old furniture. You’d be surprised how effective and easy this is to do. Always be sure to check the off-tints section in the paint department and save more than half the cost on paint. Or maybe you’ve been considering putting a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom — you can buy DIY backsplash stickers from home improvement stores for a fraction of the cost. Spend time researching ideas on places like Pinterest or Instagram, and don’t be afraid to get crafty! With proper supervision, DIY home improvements are a fun thing to do with kids.

When it comes to saving money, a little effort goes a long way. These are only some of many ideas to help you reel in that cashflow. Remember, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. This is a time when we must focus on our mental and physical health, while preparing ourselves financially for another wave.

If you feel like you need help in the budgeting department, I gotcha covered in a few ways.|

Take my free 5 day budget makeover series. I’ll send you videos and templates to help you get your budget in check.

Join my free facebook group exclusively for women to chat about money. I go live in the group to share tips and tricks that I teach my coaching clients and my Pretty Money Club members.

Finding your motivation

I confess that I have felt COMPLETELY unmotivated to revisit my budget…. AND THIS IS WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING! When the pandemic hit, I spent a ton of money to keep my kids entertained while I moved my office home. And it was really easy to think “Well, since I don’t have to pay for baseball or jazzersize anymore… I’ve got cash for new lawn chairs and refinishing the deck.” Oh yeah. That list added up. A few days of sitting on my sun-soaked deck drinking a fancy cocktail (’cause we gotta enjoy SOME comforts during a pandemic, AMIRIGHT) and my motivation blew away with the breeze. Plus I probably just wanted to avoid actually LOOKING at how much I was spending. SO, if your BUDGET is lacking motivation, never fear! I have a gift for you!

CLICK HERE TO TAKE MY FREE 5 DAY BUDGET MAKEOVER.

And now more on motivation…

The world as we knew it came to a grinding halt when the global pandemic hit earlier this year. Now that we are phasing back into more familiar ways of life, we may find ourselves reflecting on the first half of 2020. Some might have experienced the past few months as a time of relaxation and an opportunity to slow down. Others likely found that the reality of job loss, the uncertainty of income, or worries about the health of loved ones took up a lot of head space that could have otherwise been put towards embracing a more simple lifestyle.

Whether or not you’ve found last three months bearable, you likely are on common ground with the surmounting lack of motivation most people are experiencing. Finding motivation is not always an easy task, especially these days in the face of COVID-19… because we don’t know what to expect. Our regular routines and responsibilities have shifted. Our mindsets have changed. What used to be important might not be so much anymore.

I’ve got a bunch of strategies to find my way through a motivational slump.  Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Don’t lose hope

Mind over matter, baby.  Keep it simple.  Good self care.  Don’t overthink.  And most importantly, don’t lose hope.  The mind is a powerful thing, but it can be guided by YOU if you take control. Your subconscious may be saying “you’re soooo unmotivated… you can’t get through this slump…” which your body believes. Get RID of that negativity as soon as you notice it. Awareness gives you the POWER to forcefully change your thinking. Next time the overwhelming thought creeps into your mind that tries to convince you that you’ve not done enough or you’ve fallen behind, just smile and acknowledge that thought.  Sure, it’s there… but it doesn’t have to rule you.  It is important to remember that your thoughts can’t hurt you.  Thank that thought for it’s point of view, and move on.  Keep your eyes on the prize!

2. Keep a list

Even a small one.  You don’t have to write a novel or an essay.  But it is a heck of a lot easier to stay motivated when you write things down and free up your headspace for the task at hand. Categorize your tasks by importance. What do you NEED to get done? What do you WANT to get done? What will benefit you the most?  It is also extremely satisfying to cross things off your list once completed.  Whether it’s a daily or a weekly to-do list, writing stuff down allows your mind to focus on the present moment.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, just make sure you put it somewhere that you’re gonna see it. Like, right in your face. On your mirror. On your keyboard. On your waffle… I don’t care. Just don’t lose it!

3. Focus on one task at a time

Keep your eyes on the prize.  Believe it or not, science shows that humans are not the best at multitasking.  This goes along with number 2 above.  If you keep an up-to-date list of to-do items, then you will be able to put all your attention to one task at a time.  Don’t beat yourself up if it takes longer than expected.  Just make sure you finish one task before starting another.  This will help to keep your mind satisfied and, most importantly, motivated. If you deplete yourself by trying to finish everything at once, your energy will slump and you’ll be frazzled because you spent all that time dragging everything out of the closet to organize, but are now tripping over it in the night and strewing your neatly organized piles of memorabilia from 15 years ago all over your taxes from 10 years ago and…. you get the picture.

4. Reward yourself

Finished that one simple task, even if it took all day?  Reward yourself for a job well done. If you set small goals and allow yourself the freedom to relax after each task is completed, then your mind will be more willing to go to bat for you when you need it.

5. You’re doing the best you can.

Give yourself permission to relax. The hardest thing for us to do as humans is to simply be present with ourselves. Maybe you don’t feel like doing your tasks today, and that’s okay. You know you will be able to pick up where you left off later. Your mind will appreciate being treated with kindness especially in those times when all it wants to do is chill out and enjoy the moment. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Make sure you’re fulfilling your most important obligations and everything after that can wait.

We are living through a historical heyday. Our sense of normalcy will change as time goes by, and this level of simplicity that we may find ourselves in will not last forever. Enjoy the moment as much as you can. Finding motivation is much easier than staying motivated. It’s important to remember that humans are motivated creatures by nature… if we lack purpose, we slump. Remind yourself that it’s OKAY to have no motivation sometimes. Rest and recharge, and get back on the bandwagon!

Should we talk about a guaranteed basic income program?

The concept of a guaranteed basic income (or better known as Universal Basic Income, UBI) is simple: figure out how much money a family needs for essentials, and if the household income is not enough, top it up. But putting this idea into practice hasn’t been so easy.

Many experts believe that a UBI would be significantly beneficial. The Government of Spain is considering moving to a permanent basic income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. UBI programs have been discussed and piloted all around the world (including here in Canada) for years…. to no avail. There are a lot of concerns as to how a program like this could work… or if it even should be considered.

I’m neutral in the debate on universal/guaranteed income, but I got curious. I asked my Canadian money group “Black is the New Red” (with 7000+ members) what they thought of introducing a UBI in Canada, to hear directly from the mouths of the people. I also dug up some opinions from the experts, with points on both sides of the discussion. I found three main themes came up in discussion:

1. More Equality & Empowerment for Woman?

“It seems it would be especially good for women. I think of how it’s still mainly women who comprise the ‘sandwich’ generation of looking after both kids and parents. With UBI they would be compensated and have more independence.”

“If we could afford to take time off or just work part time until our kids started school, I think that would be really beneficial for both the children and the parents.”

– Members of Black is the New Red

There was a lot of thoughtful conversation about how women carry the brunt of the responsibility for care-giving, whether it be for children or elderly/ill family members… even if they are also employed. Many suggested that a universal basic income could alleviate women from being overworked as they balance employment, care-giving, and household responsibilities. Many woman would like to stay home (even part-time) with their child until they are school-age, but cannot because they simply cannot afford to. Alternatively, some women would prefer the opportunity to work and are crippled by the high cost of childcare.

What the experts say:

“Women are more likely to take on roles caring for the elderly and children — both career paths that typically pay poorly. If we believe that care for our aging population and for the next generation are central to a healthy society, then we should also promote and enable care work. UBI, it is hoped, would give workers the ability to dedicate more time to this important work. Moreover, under most welfare systems, the dependent of a rich-enough spouse is not eligible for cash benefits of their own. This has proved disastrous for those in abusive households with financial dependency. Once again, women have been historically more likely to find themselves excluded from existing safety nets. UBI would help remedy this problem.”

Juliana Bidadanure – Faculty Director, Stanford Basic Income Lab and Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Stanford University
*read Juliana’s report here

“The implementation of a basic income would be gender-neutral and so, in theory, fathers and mothers would have the same support. In practice, however, and especially given the likely low level of basic income, this policy might have the (unintended) consequence of encouraging a return to the breadwinner model of parenting, with one parent better able to stay at home, but another parent still needing to remain firmly attached to the labour market.”

Alison Koslowski – Professor of Social Policy and Research Methods at the School of Social and Political
Science, University of Edinburgh.
Ann-Zofie Duvander – is Professor of Demography at the Department of Sociology at Stockholm
University and one of the coordinators of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research.
*read the paper here

“Combined with an adequate child benefit, a basic guaranteed income would at long last make freedom from domestic abuse and exploitation truly possible for victimized women and their children.”

Josephine Gray – Canadian Women’s Studies
*read the article here

2. HOW would it be possible to pay for this? Would it come out of my pocket?

“If this money is more money I’ll be taxed, then that makes things harder for me. Things are already hard enough.”

“I would gladly pay more taxes if it meant a more equal life for everyone. Less domestic violence and poverty = less spent on law enforcement. Less mental health issues = less spent on extended health care. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“Get rid of all the other benefits. No more child tax, no more GST. Tax rates will be a lot more affordable than people think. Plus the savings on administration for one program instead of many would be substantial too.”

– Members of Black is the New Red

How a Universal Basic Income would be paid for is a big concern for a lot of people. Many of the members believe that the expense will come right out of their wallets in the form of taxes, and others believe there will be alternate ways to find funding. Many of the members were totally okay with paying higher taxes, and others were NOT okay with this idea at all.

What the experts say:
Experts have proposed a variety of ways to pay for a program including:
– Carbon tax
– Revenue from natural resources
– Wealth tax on the highest income earners
– Tax on luxury goods
– Taxing companies that choose to rely heavily on automation (rather than human jobs)

Others insist that many existing programs would become redundant with UBI, and thus the funding from those programs could be repurposed.

3. Would people be lazier and just choose not to work, even if they could?

“It’s amazing how many people expect things for free. Why because you don’t want to work the government should support you? The sense of entitlement is unreal! If people lived within their means and worked hard society would be much better off. Free handouts does nothing but make people spoiled and entitled.”

“Scientists did a study on termites…because they build very intricate structures. These scientists put tiny little cameras on the termites and what they found was that there are some very gifted termites, some creative termites, some hard working termites, and some “lazy” termites who lay around watching everyone else do the work. Sound familiar? In society we take care of everyone and find what people need to be motivated…then we are all more successful. Cooperation will always surpass competition.”

“Poverty is expensive. When people live in poverty they are more likely to cycle through the ER, to require expensive medical procedures, and to require assistance from the police. When people are in poverty all of their brain power is taken up by meeting their basic needs: how will I eat today? are me and my children safe today? When someone’s brain power is taken up struggling to meet their basic needs, they have no capacity left to work on bettering themselves in ways that might allow them to get a well paying job. This is why it is shortsighted to expect people to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. The cycle of poverty is vicious, and it is extremely expensive. If everyone had enough money to not need to worry about their basic needs it frees up brain space to break the cycle. “

” Socialism is great until the people paying for it run out of money.”

– Members of Black is the New Red

Many of our members believe that providing a guaranteed basic income will simply allow people to stay home and play video games all day rather than work, whereas many others believe that providing for basic needs will ensure better mental health and strive to find motivation and passion. It seems this particular point is very divided.

What the experts say:

“Despite popular belief, the evidence shows that the poor do not waste resources. In fact, giving cash to those most in need seems to be an efficient way to improve their prospects and welfare. With cash in hand, individuals can fulfill their most pressing needs and pursue their unique goals. And while some individuals use cash to retrain, others buy livestock or a car, putting themselves and their families in a better position to face economic adversity.”

Juliana Bidadanure – Faculty Director, Stanford Basic Income Lab and Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Stanford University
*read Juliana’s report here

“Not everyone has a passion, and not everyone is equally talented. This is a simple fact of life. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur or an artist. Our economies need construction workers, welders, plumbers, electricians, nurses, firemen, policemen, janitors, waiters. Some people go into some of these jobs with passion, others because it pays the bills—and these jobs need to be done. UBI would send exactly that wrong-headed message, reducing people’s incentive to work. And it would get worse. Our concept of a dignified life is relative. Getting by on my guaranteed basic income, I will look at my richer, working peers and feel that my lifestyle is not quite dignified. So I will lobby politicians for an increase in UBI. As UBI rises, even fewer people will work; those who still work will have to be taxed more, and so even fewer people will work, and… If you doubt these arguments, consider that advanced economies are already littered with young people with college degrees no employer considers useful—while ancient Greek literature may be a passion, it does not guarantee a job and a living wage.”

Marco Annunziata – PHD in Economics from Princeton University
*read his article here

“One should always be wary of simple solutions to complex problems, and universal basic income is no exception. “

Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics at MIT
*read the article here

I couldn’t possibly cover all points of this very controversial discussion, and I am not an expert in politics or economics, but I do think that these types of discussions are important to have and these ideas are important to explore.

What I can say is that I have seen the benefit of families creating a financial plan for their day to day expenses, future plans, and dreams. I also know how important it is to have basic needs met and money set aside for self care, hobbies, interests, and experiences beyond that which we need just to survive. If my dreams came true, everyone would feel empowered, secure, and in control of their finances and their future. I know that I’ve found my place in the world when even amidst a global pandemic, the amazing students in my Pretty Money Course are calm, confident, and unafraid for their future. This is my motivation to get up and make a difference.
~Lindsay Plumb

COVID-19 : What do we do with FEAR?

When we are scared, we usually fall into one of two camps… we curl up in a ball, put the pillow over our head, and hope it all goes away. Or we feel compelled to DO something to make it all okay. The thing is, neither side can fix the world. The pandemic cannot be ignored, no matter what you believe to be true about it. And you can’t just “fix it” and put everything back to normal; there are way too many things outside of your control.

How can we as a society get through this? Panicking solves NOTHING. Sensationalizing views on the pandemic solves nothing. Fear is very real and very present right now. We have got to support each other and show grace and love to others and ourselves. The best way that you can do this now is to scale back and prioritize your immediate family and closest friends. Stay connected, figure out ways to manage stress, preserve your relationships, and make a very basic plan for life over the next 6 months. Unless you are a professional that has support to offer your community, don’t worry about what the Jones’s are doing. We are stronger when we are tightly knit.

Seems simple, right? Maybe not so much. This pandemic has caused a huge shift in lifestyle and routine, which stresses most people out. Working parents had a tough job before, but NOW many of you are at home trying to juggle doing your job virtually, homeschooling, stopping the kids from fighting, having your personal space invaded constantly, and figuring out how to do all of this on half your usual income. Single people may be at home by themselves a lot more than usual, battling boredom and loneliness. This is not easy.

To combat fear, we have to focus the majority of our energy on the NOW. What’s right in front of us? What are we going to do with TODAY? How can we contribute positively to our lives and those immediately around us TODAY? What do you need most right NOW? We, as a culture, suck at living in the moment. The MAJORITY of the time, we are thinking about the past or the future, not the present moment. When you get up in the morning, have a conversation about what your day is going to look like. What do you each want to accomplish for the day? Wherever possible, include OUTSIDE time; even just a short walk around the neighborhood. Monitor your screen time and notice how it affects your mood. An hour may leave you feeling refreshed because you’re getting some zone-out time, but 3 hours of intermittent mindless scrolling might creep negative energy into your day.

How do you plan your life for the next 6 months while keeping most of your focus on the immediate moment? K.I.S.S – Keep it simple, sweetheart. Spend 15-20 minutes discussing each of these important topics:

  • How are we going to stay connected to the people we love most? When? How?
  • How are we going to manage our time in respect to responsibilities like work, homeschooling, cooking, and cleaning? Who is going to do what? When? How?
  • What are we going to do when someone in the family gets overwhelmed? Do we have safe time-out zones? Do we each have coping methods for intense emotions?
  • Who can we reach out to for support in each of these areas of life: Family communication, health, work, school, finances, activities and hobbies.
  • What does our budget look like? How has our income changed? Are we meeting all our essential needs? Can we cut back wants to contribute to an emergency fund? Should we defer some of our bills? What funding do we qualify for?

Build a small, mighty network of people who are wise and able to support you and your family in these areas of your life. If you have questions about your finances during this COVID-19 pandemic, I am here for you. I’m not here to sell you anything. I’m here to offer you real-life practical solutions to ease the stress of navigating changes in your finances. I’ve got free resources for you. I’m hosting live webinars to answer your questions. What’s in it for me? Knowing that I can make a difference in your life, empower you, and ease the stress.

Check out my COVID-19 Financial First Aid Kit here.

Join my Canadian money group to ask questions and join in conversation with thousands of other Canadians

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10 things to do on your family STAYCATION this Spring Break!

Are you sticking around for Spring Break this year? The number of people that go into debt for vacations is insane. You do NOT have to go somewhere exotic or drop hundreds of dollars for a few hours getting your feet rubbed at the spa to have a memorable spring break vacay. You can go the budget-friendly staycation route—living the good life close to home.

The key is making a plan. Decide what activities you’re gonna tackle BEFORE spring break sneaks up on you, so that you can tally up the total cost and adjust your plans if need be. Don’t forget to budget for:

  • Transportation
  • Entrance Fees
  • Meals
  • Activity Equipment
  • Time off work

There really is an endless list of activities that you could do with your family to keep entertained for the entire spring break, but here are 10 ideas:

Bring a picnic and play some games

You don’t have to be sporty to enjoy some active time, either. Pack up some home-made food, portable music, and bring a fun activity like Spikeball, Bean bag toss, or Croquet. See if you can borrow a lawn game from the endless number of people on your Facebook page instead of buying a new one.
*If you’re local to me, you can head down to Tulista Park near Sidney with a volleyball and play on their beach court (which is also right next to a skateboard park, the beach, and a community arts centre…hello!)

Do something artsy

Even if you can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, you can get creative. If you’ve never done a Paint Nite, give it a go this spring break. You probably don’t even have to buy tickets to an actual Paint Nite – chances are, you KNOW someone that could lead your family through a guided painting! You could check out the splatter room at 4 Cats art studio, take a pottery class, or go to a local gallery. Google a DIY craft and stock up on a few supplies to have some fun at your dining table if you’d rather stay in!
*Victoria BC locals, check out the ART BATTLE at the Victoria Event Centre!

Do something physical

Drop in to a rec center that you haven’t been to before. You could skate, swim, partake in family sports and activities… whatever they offer! Or try something that you haven’t before… like a climbing wall, trampoline park, or laser tag. Whatever it is, get your bodies moving! See if you can take advantage of a day pass, punch card, or weekly pass to maximize your $.

Go on a bakery adventure

Drive into town somewhere and park the car. Then get out and wander around until you find a bakery. Buy one treat at that stop and share it. The goal is to find new places to treat without using google maps and get some steps in while you search! You can vote for your favourite after you’ve decided you’ve had enough walking, or enough sugar!

Experience Luxury… at home

Kids… you’re going to Gramma’s for the day, because Mom and Dad are booking in some R&R. The key here is to get in some relaxation time together. Put some candles around the tub and dim the lights. Give each other a massage. Jump in the shower together. Paint your toenails, trim your beard. Order skip the dishes from a fancy restaurant and eat it at your dining table in your house robe. Snuggle and read to each other, or rent a movie. Put the phone away and ignore the clocks, because it’s time for you.
*If you’re local to me and have never been to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, it’s a real luxury treat! If you book for a treatment, you are allowed to spend 4 hours in their heated outdoor pool and hot tubs right on the ocean. If you’re going to spend $$$ on a spa treatment, get your money’s worth by choosing a place that has a grotto or mineral pool, like this one, so that your dollar per hour goes way further.

Host a board game night

Invite some friends over and play some board games. There are some seriously fun ones out there! Play a game that includes the kids, have a BBQ, put on a movie for the littles, and bust out the games for the grown-ups. Try “Speak Out” with the kids – it’s hilarious. A list of my must-have games includes Codenames, Guestures, BANG, Ticket to Ride, Cranium, Sequence (they have a kids version too) and Settlers of Catan. Check out your local thrift stores to buy a pre-owned game (I literally just bought three for five bucks) or ask your friends to bring their fav board game over.

Have a pancake competition

If you’ve got some lazy mornings available to you, make the most of them by infusing a little friendly competition. Make a breakfast buffet and see who makes the better pancakes. The kids can be the judges!

Go on an adventure

Go hiking, biking, or kayaking. Just get outside. Make a scavenger hunt out of it and ask the kids to find you the smallest leaf, or the biggest rock. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Go geo-caching or play POKEMON GO. (Graham and the boys have been battling geodudes all over the place lately)

If the weather just ain’t right outside, check out a local attraction.
*If you’re local to Victoria, check out this list!

Camp

Whether you score an awesome spot at a campground, or you pitch your tent in your backyard, camping creates memories. Get some sparklers or glow sticks, ingredients for smores or banana boats, and get your propane fire pit ready for fun!

Find some animals

See what attractions your local farms have; chances are there will be a market or farm tour available. You could also check out a petting zoo or the actual zoo.Book a trail ride on horseback, or go on a horse carriage tour. Check out the local bee farm (some of them have honey tasting bars, yum!)
*If you’re local to Victoria, we are lucky to have the bug zoo, butterfly gardens, Shaw ocean discovery center, beacon hill petting zoo, and urban bee farm!

Happy budgeting for your stay-cation this spring break!
~Lindsay Plumb

11 Ways to talk about MONEY with your partner.

Download my free list “7 tips for having SUCCESSFUL money chats with your partner”

Marriage can be full of joy and fulfillment, but it definitely ain’t a walk in the park. Anyone who has been married any amount of time can tell you it’s NOT always easy.

And what about money management? Same story. It’s not easy. You can even have all the steps laid out in front of you… and it’s still tricky! In the Pretty Money Club, we do an 8 week course to gain the knowledge, but then continue to meet regularly for refreshers, community, and accountability. It’s absolutely necessary!

Put marriage and money together, and you are definitely not going to get rainbows and sunshine all of your days. (I’d be shocked if this is a bubble-burster for you. I’m guessing you already know this.)

I’ve chatted with thousands of women about their finances by now and I know one thing to be true: If we hope to overcome money problems and money fights in our marriage, we have to be intentional. We gotta purposely set aside time for money talks. We have to make appointments with our partners to communicate. And we need to learn to communicate WELL.

The Reality of Money Problems for Couples Today

Money magazine found that 70% of married couples argue about money—and money fights happen more often than fights about household chores, spending time together, sex, and snoring! Money is the 2nd leading cause of divorce, which just shows how serious and hard putting relationships and money together really is. We need to take this very seriously… (seriously doesn’t mean boring though, for the record. I’ve never heard the Pretty Money Club described as boring.)

What if money IS a problem in my relationship?

The answer is pretty simple. To overcome financial conflict in your relationship, you have to get on the same page as your partner. Of course this is easier said than done, but putting in the effort and work will be worth it.

The good news is that you don’t have to have the same beliefs about money to make it work.

In fact, your unique perspective regarding money is actually a strength you each bring to the table. I’ve worked with tons of woman that are self-declared “spenders” while their spouses are “the savers,” and vice-versa. Relationships can have a partner that is introverted and one that is extroverted, one that loves gardening and one that is allergic to grass. We are different people and that’s okay!

You’ve got to be able to have open conversation where you can appreciate your partner’s perspective and where their opinion may be coming from. If you can learn to appreciate your own emotional perspective of money and really hear your partner’s invested emotional interest, you can become more unified as a team.

If your money conversations always go sideways, try this:

  1. Plan a time. You need space for this conversation that will not be interrupted by your life. It should be a time where jobs, kids, and other distractions are unlikely. Distractions will kill this conversation quickly. If you walk into this process dreading it, it’s going to feel dreadful, so try to make it feel a little more upbeat by combining it with a budget friendly date.
  2. Show up for these chats prepared with a list. Write down some things together that you want to talk about. If it’s a topic that is really touchy, just keep it to that one item and have some open-ended questions ready to ask each other. If it gets emotional, take a break immediately and start with a different topic (from this list) when you’re calm enough.
  3. Share your money stories. How your family treated money when you were growing up has shaped how you think and feel about it today. The same goes for your partner. By talking about your history, you understand each other more. And that understanding can go a long way. A major part of staying together is communicating shared values and honoring them. So while your partner might prefer to shop at the whole foods market and you love the discount grocers, you both value healthy living and nutritious meals. So how can you meet in the middle spending-wise while still eating well?
  4. Share your financial fears. Fear makes us do crazy things—like hide purchases or get a secret credit card. Fears boil down to a few common words: power, respect, security, and dreams. Look for the underlying truth. Some truths could look like this:
    “I feel like I have no influence over how our money is allocated.” (A lack of control = power)
    “I don’t know what I’m doing with money.” (feeling inferior or ill equipped = power)
    “I’m afraid something bad will happen and we won’t be able to afford it.” (Security)
    “I’ll never be able to do XYZ because we can’t afford it” (Feeling like a dream is unattainable)
    “You never listen to me.” (Feeling disrespected.)
  5. Do a budget together. You need a budget plan that you both agree on. If you don’t have a budget plan that is written down, you’re both just going to be guessing. If you feel like you have to hide your purchases to avoid conflict, then your budget plan needs to include an agreed upon equal spending allowance for each of you. Then you can buy your latte’s without judgement and stop nitpicking your partner for impulse buying that new toy. Having a LIFESTYLE BUDGET is a key part of my budget plan.
  6. Don’t keep money secrets. Many of the stories I hear about arguments stem from one partner keeping purchases hidden from another. When you try to hide your spending, your spouse feels like they can’t trust you, and you can’t build a strong marriage without trust.
  7. Dream for YOU. Make a list of your own personal goals that you want to accomplish, even the ones that don’t seem like they have anything to do with money. It will cost money or time to actually make dreams happen… and time can cost you money!
  8. Dream together. Then think about the goals you want to accomplish as a couple by combining your individual goals. Talk about your long-term goals, like vacation and retirement. When you’re working together toward common money goals, you have a shared vision and shared dreams. Dreaming about the future with the one you want to share it with can deepen your relationship. Prioritizing your goals together can make it easier to decide which ones to focus on first. It also makes compromising a lot easier because you can choose what is most important to you and what you are willing to give up in order to have it. As you work through deciding which financial goals you want to focus on, take some time to FIND THE FACTS about how much those goals are going to cost. It’s really easy to get carried away with goals and underestimate how much money or time it will take the accomplish them. Remember, we don’t use UNICORN BUDGETS.
  9. Listen to your partner. I know, you’ve heard that before. But how many times do you really listen? Most of us (including me) are guilty of listening only to think up a response. And then we interrupt with our ideas and viewpoints and criticisms. Make this a rule: When your spouse is talking, you’re only allowed to ask questions. You can’t offer your thoughts until they ask or until they’re done sharing. It’ll change the conversation, I promise. If this is challenging (which is often is) then use a “speaking pillow.” Only the one holding the pillow is allowed to speak.
  10. Forgive your partner. We’ve all made money mistakes. And we’re all going to make more money mistakes in the future. The way we handle those mistakes—ideally with grace and without enabling—dictates how comfortably we can talk about money in the future. Make a plan for this too. Tell your partner what you would like for them to do if you make a mistake, and ask them what they expect of you.
  11. Have money chats regularly. Seriously, don’t wrap up your conversation without scheduling another. You have to be doing this regularly, because you have to be revisiting your budget any time your income changes or your goals shift. Deciding which goals you want to prioritize as a couple and fitting them into your budget is just the beginning. As time goes on, you might want to add new goals in or you might find that one or both of you don’t actually want the things that you thought you wanted when you initially set your financial goals. That’s okay. People change and goals change too.

Remember to download my 7 tips for having SUCCESSFUL Money chats with your partner. You can bring it to your next chat!

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