Category Archives: friendly finances

Cash, Debit or Credit?

Perhaps the prevalent financial question I ask myself on a daily basis is “cash, debit or credit?” It’s so routine that I barely give it a thought.


For small things I wonder whether I have enough cash on hand. I go back and forth between thinking that it’s important to have cash available and knowing that if I don’t have it, I won’t spend it.


Yet, it’s far easier to hand over a debit or credit card than to unclench a fist full of cash. Cash keeps your spending in the moment, rather than thinking ahead to when your next pay date/bills are due. Cash is hard to track in your budget though, and that’s why I limit my cash use. 


Cards are best for things you may need to reward. I’ve been guilty of losing a receipt or two before, but almost all stores can now swipe your card to get your purchase history. Yes, kind of scary!


Suze Orman has a Back to Cash challenge encouraging us to “get reconnected with your Benjamins!” Aside from my autopayments, I’m ready to take the challenge for a month to see if it impacts my spending. Now I just need to hit the ATM…since I don’t have a dollar to my name 😉


How do you make the choice? 
Would it be a challenge to live on cash?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Bartering

I got a kick out of my recent neighborhood yard sale, and I’ve been thinking about bartering. Don’t get me wrong, cash is nice. But it sure would be nice to simply swap our stuff.


Bartering is like recycling your way to abundance: sharing what you have and received what you need.  By definition bartering is a win-win. You’re also likely build some social capital in the process.


I found some green ideas for bartering for all sorts of goods and services. Canada has a sleek online bartering site called SwapSity. I haven’t tried it yet, but U-Exchange barters in several countries!


Interestingly, I found a story about an eco-barter project exchanging goods and services for environmental preservation. Before you jump to judgments, let me share a brief perspective. I stayed on a small island in Fiji, and know that locals will simply go hungry without fishing for sustenance, so an exchange is necessary for survival. I find this arrangement quite different than a mitigation scheme that allows polluters “rights” to certain pollution levels.


Even though it doesn’t add to the GDP, bartering sure makes economical sense and has become popular for good reason.


Does your family barter?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Unfurling Finances

I’ve read lots of online stories about Green Mamas who turned an eco-leaf with the new role of motherhood. It’s really a no brainer that you want your kids to have a healthy environmentWhile it should be just as intuitive to manage your finances as protect the environment, for whatever reasons, I first started caring about our finances once we became a family.

I still consider myself a financial novice. The point is that I’m trying. With patience, my best effort is getting better. Some day my investment of time and energy will pay off, hopefully before the kids hit college.

My financial strategy is to simplify, and Hubby and I are inching closer to finally merging all of our finances. If I’m not mistaken, the only lingering bill is my student loan which needs to be mailed the old fashioned way. Then we’ll be ready to close our old accounts and celebrate.

I also try to celebrate the small financial successes, like updating our new budget template. Once I finally get all this management stuff dealt with, I can promise you we’ll be celebrating our next financial goal…


When did you decide to focus on your finances?
How do your prioritize your family finances?

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Green Mama 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Tax Refund Time

You may still have a month left to file your taxes, but in our household they get done as early as possible, mostly because we usually get money back. We just had the discussion again whether or not we should adjust our deductions so that fewer taxes would be taken out on a monthly basis. We both agreed that for us it feels better to get an annual “bonus” than an unbudgeted bill to pay. On a daily basis I do my best to not fret over taxes, so why would I want to stress every spring? 
Since the invention of TurboTax, my Hubby has taken the lead on our taxes. I have to say that it’s a relief to have this annual chore taken care of, plus I think Hubby secretly looks forward to accomplishing. Coming home from work last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had filed our taxes while taking care of our feverish/cranky/teething BabyGirl. Talk about multi-tasking…way to go Daddy-O!! (Yes, I did promise to thank him publicly for his chivalrous acts of parenting and tax prep.)
The better news came when he told me that we are expecting a $4k refund! I have to admit that the first thought that crossed my mind was “Denmark,” returning to my adopted homeland. Yet, Hubby promptly burst my bubble by reminding me that our first family financial goal is to increase our emergency savings fund back up to $10k. We would reach that goal if we saved our tax refund. An emergency fund doesn’t scream family fun, but financial peace of mind in times of layoffs is worth it. I also know that we pay our share of taxes, but I’m not about to balk at funding essential social services. You’ve already heard my rant on green taxes.
Is your family getting a tax return? 
How do you plan to spend/save it?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
This blog is the story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.