Last week I shared in an Instagram story that O and I limit spending aside from groceries to once or twice a month. We started this routine in the summer after realizing there was just way too much spontaneous spending going on (think lots of Amazon boxes and phantom “needs.”) I received so many questions on what that looks like, why we do it and how I feel about it so let’s dive in.
First of all, I initially introduced this concept in our Summer Spending Strategy post right here so if you want to read that, click here. Since then, we’ve implemented a couple changes that have made it much better. This is how it’s broken down: every Monday evening O and I have a meeting. We’ve done this for a year and a half now and it’s been such a blessing for our marriage and truly changed the game. We implemented it in a time where we felt there was too much chaos and our communication wasn’t as intentional as it usually was so if you’re interested in that, you can read more about it here.
In those meetings, we always go over what purchases need to be made. Before these meetings I used to place an Amazon order on a whim (kid’s spoons! another water bottle! a throw pillow! nail polish!) and when the items arrived I realized I didn’t exactly need those things. O also is really against excess and we’re in a culture where instant gratification can lead to so.much.excess. It just needed to change. We bounce ideas off each other in the meetings and while some things are a definite need for that month- like replacing my dried out mascara, grabbing socks, replacing skincare and so on- there are often items on the list we realize we don’t actually need that month. Our purchase times are the middle of the month and the end of the month in a span of two or so days and if we don’t really need anything as we approach mid-month, we just keep compiling the list til the end of the month. It’s changed our spending and as you may have read in this blog post I wrote for Deeply Rooted, I love having structure for spending as a reminder to be the best steward of my resources since that tends to be a sin struggle and temptation for me personally.
If you feel like you’re constantly bringing things into the house and you’re in a tsunami you created, try it out for one month. Make a list of the things you need for you, your kids, your home and the upcoming gifts you need to buy. Run it over with your husband and truly evaluate each item. The end of the month does feel a teensy bit like Christmas but the best part is I know each item I’m picking up was a true need that both my husband and I feel great about.
Now, here’s a little side note. O and I each have a few different credit cards (we pay them every month and, praise the Lord, have no debt) but this system works best for us: One card for Personal/Family items. One card for Tithing and all Gifting and then I personally have a card for Gold & Graphite which is our American Express card with our favorite airline. We absolutely love our bank (UBS) and the rewards are incredible so we don’t have any other cards- not even Target. We have these different credit cards so when O goes through the finances every month, we can clearly see how much we dedicated to each item and can clearly separate our Tithing from our actual purchases. O is a pie chart man and loves breaking down our spending month to month…few things make me more sweaty and sad than sitting down with our financial advisor and having “money talks” but thankfully O loves it and singlehandedly keeps Excel Spreadsheets and Quicken in business.
Back to spending- Every dime I make is set to my personal AMEX account and that is where I’m able to spend on things for the business as well as the items that come along outside of those spending frames that make the most sense for me to purchase. For example- if I need more tinted moisturizer and conditioner, I’d wait til the end of the month and that would come out of our family account. If a brand is having a rare sale and I know an item is worth getting to try out and share with you guys, I buy it with my personal card.
O is a professional investor and our financial advisor Stacy is one of the most talented men in the business. Together, they’re always fine tuning our spending and Stacy has been guiding our finances, teaching O about diversifying revenue streams, investing and saving since the second O graduated college and was drafted to the NFL. This means he really, really knows us. We’ve had some meetings that really caused me to 1. panic but then 2. reflect. It put things into perspective for me a few years ago and forced me to allow that “want” feeling to sit and be left unmet at times without always satisfying it the second it arises. I’m always working to better honor the Lord with our spending and this small step has been a big gift to us.
If you have any more questions, leave them in the comments or shoot me an email and I’d be happy to answer!