This post is sponsored by Spruce. Spruce is a financial technology platform built by H&R Block, which is not a bank. Banking products provided by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC.
We recently picked up lunch from our favorite sandwich shop and then had a picnic at the college Brandon and I went to. We love showing the boys where we went to school and made so many wonderful memories. BTR and I have come a long way since two eighteen-year-olds – marriage, a house, two businesses, and three kids!
Finances are not the most exciting thing about being an adult. I miss the days of counting rolls of coins from my dad’s business to hopefully earn enough to buy a new glitter lip balm. BTR talks about saving to buy CDs to play in his disc-man. Brandon and I both worked in college (hey there tour center friends!), but we both could have done a better job at budgeting and saving back then!
BTR and I have advanced beyond those simpler times – but with a house, kids, businesses, and more, it took us some time to get where we are today. I wanted to share some tips that I think have worked for us. By no means are we experts, but I am excited about the steps we’ve taken over the years to manage our finances and be on the same team!
1. Talk with Your Partner
In our early years of adulthood, we didn’t talk much about finances. We paid our bills and used credit cards if we wanted or needed anything. We just made sure money was left in our bank account at the end of the month. Once we started to openly talk about money we realized there were things we wanted for our future like kids and all the expenses that come with them, a new house someday, a larger car for our growing family – team minivan! Being able to talk with each other is important so we are on the same page. And no, we don’t always agree and that’s ok too! But to be a team we have learned to compromise and work together so we can reach our goals as a family. Which leads me to…
2. Plan and Set Goals
This has been so important and empowering for us! We started with small goals like saving a certain amount each month to put into an account in case of an emergency so we wouldn’t have to use a credit card. The Federal Reserve says a good number to start with is $400. Once we hit that goal, we wanted to pay off our older vehicles a few years before we were going to need new ones. It was nice not having a car payment before we traded in my old SUV to buy our minivan a few years ago. Everyone’s goals are different, but setting a goal is the best first step!
Once we had kids our goals changed because everything is always evolving. Right now, we have long-term goals like saving for retirement, college (x3!), and hopefully a new house. But we also have short-term goals like paying for a family vacation.
And when you reach a goal, it is SO exciting. I fully support little celebrations when you reach a goal! Go grab some ice cream, you deserve it!
3. Make Your Money Work For You
We are always researching how we can save money on big purchases or how to get the best deal. If you know me at all, you know I *love* a good deal! We’ll check to see if there are any credit card point specials for certain purchases, ask for a discount if we pay in full or with cash, ask for a price match, etc. I love that when I use my Spruce debit card I can earn cash back on everyday purchases at select retailers!1 I also love that Spruce doesn’t have any signup or monthly fees.2 Fees can add up so it’s important to pay attention to those details. Plus, when you set up direct deposit within Spruce you can even get paid up to two days early!3 BTR and I are always plotting and thinking about how we can make our money work smarter to reach those goals.
4. Never Stop Learning
As we continue to make and reach those goals, we have gotten excited about learning more about finances. We love reading articles, listening to podcasts, and talking to our financial advisor and accountant. We’ve learned the order of debt to pay off first, and some debt is good if you are investing other money at a higher rate of return. We’ve also learned a lot about interest and how some things make no sense to pay interest. We don’t make a purchase unless we know we can pay it off completely. It can be boring for sure, but the little changes now can make a huge impact later when saving for retirement or college.
I love that within the Spruce app I’m able to set up two separate saving goals within my Savings account. I have one set up as a safety net (there’s that $400 again!) and another for our vacation fund.
Walking around our alma mater with the boys was so fun and a reminder of our goal of saving for college. We started with baby steps to saving and we feel like we’ve grown and learned so much over the years. We still have many goals to reach, but we are lucky that finances are not a stress in our marriage. It’s not because we can buy anything we want, it’s because we plan together, set goals, and then achieve those goals!
I sure wish Spruce was around when we were in college. It would have helped us visualize our spending more clearly and see where we should have been saving! With savings goals, cash back,1 and no hidden fees2 Spruce is a great mobile banking platform for everyone. Plus, it is built by H&R Block based on years of experience!
Want to get started on those goals with us? Check out Spruce by clicking here and soon you’ll be celebrating wins too!
Spruce℠ Spending and Savings Accounts are established at, and the Spruce debit card is issued by, MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard® and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.
1 Spruce Rewards are powered by Dosh. Cash back offers and amounts may vary by user, merchant location and offer period. Check the Spruce app for offer availability. Cash back earned by qualifying purchases will be deposited in your Spruce Savings Account. See Spruce Rewards powered by Dosh Terms for details.
2 Other fees apply for certain uses of your Spruce debit card and accounts. See www.SpruceMoney.com/fees for details.
3 Early access to funds depends on the timing of the payer’s submission of the payment. These funds are generally made available to you the day the payment instruction is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date. To be eligible, you must receive $200 in direct deposits over the relevant 35-day period, not including tax refunds.