Abagail and I combined our finances not long after getting married. It made sense on emotional and mathematical levels. We’re working together as partners, and it’s our money. Not my money and her money. Our money. Also, if we combine our investments, chances are they’ll grow even faster.
As part of combining our finances, we started budgeting together. We call the time we intentionally sit down and talk about our money a budget date. We have one each week. Usually on Friday nights because every other Friday is payday. We pull up good ole YNAB after dinner and review where we’re at.
Frugality gets a bad reputation. Like any practice, it can be taken to a comical extreme. But I think there is a lot of merit to trying to live a more frugal life.
The first handful of synonyms in the thesaurus for frugality are: thrifty, economical, careful, cautious, prudent, provident, unwasteful. That last one in particular stands out to me. Not wasting. That’s a very noble quality. Not wasting money or food or resources in general.
So let’s shift our perspective on frugality. Let’s run with it being an admirable way to approach living a healthy and balanced life. How does one even be frugal, particularly in respect to finances?
Eels. Stuck onto you and leaching money from your life. They’re everywhere, especially in the age of online services.
Eels are recurring expenses, usually monthly, that are so low that you might even forget you’re paying for them (which is what those businesses want). Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, iCloud, Amazon Prime, Dropbox, etc. Services where you pay for access but don’t own anything. You’re expected to pay in perpetuity.
Keeping it simple and building up steadily over time
Two weeks ago I started a daily workout habit. Well, I’m not sure if it’s a habit yet. But I fully intend to turn it into one. I’ve been going for a walk every day for the last three months (rain or shine), and the timing seemed right to start another health-conscious habit.
I’ve been working on being more intentional with how I spend money. As part of that, I ask myself a series of questions before I buy anything. I mapped this out into the flowchart above. I use it in conjunction with our budget to ensure our money is being spent wisely.