Category Archives: finance tips

Home Work

You’re probably too busy enjoying yourself, but you may have noticed that I don’t post on the weekend. There are a few reasons for this, most importantly that I need some down time to be re-inspired for the week ahead. This usually includes some type of “Frugal Family Fun,” like this past weekend spent with swim class, working in the garden together, and taking a family hike at the new Copper Mountain Nature Park

There’s also a practical reason, stats show that most people read blogs during work breaks on weekdays. For those of you who aren’t in that habit, you can catch up on a week’s worth of posts in your leisure time 😉

Not posting on the weekend also gives me time to do my “home work.” This weekend I’ve been testing the budget template that my Sis and I have been diligently perfecting for your budgeting pleasure. While I can’t promise that it will take the work out of setting a budget and tracking your family spending, I do think that it will make the task quicker and more manageable. Plus, part of my struggles with my old clunky outdated spreadsheet was that I felt like I was wasting my time altogether with innate calculation errors. Testing the template so far has me hopeful that it will solve some of my past frustrations.

On the weekends I’ve also been doing my home work by reading a few finance books, which I’d say is a commitment, since I’d rather be finishing up a truly entertaining book that I can’t seem to finish now that I’ve started this blog (The Geography of Bliss). But I have been learning about how to take steps toward financial abundance and that’s the whole point.

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties
Financial Fitness for New Families

I’ll draw more on these resources in future posts, but now that my homework is wrapped up it’s time to get ready for a new week.

Do you assign yourself homework?

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

Chaordic Lives

Managing your finances on top of the responsibilities of a modern family can feel like uphill chaos. No matter how organized and well-intentioned you may be, reaching long term financial goals requires a level of commitment that can sometimes feel out of reach in your busy daily life. I know for myself that some days it’s hard enough to find my wallet, nonetheless update our budget. The good news is that’s perfectly O.K. as long as you keep your family moving toward your goals.

At least that’s one of the lessons I got from a recent reading for a work-related leadership training about Dee Hock, past CEO of Visa International. Hock is an amazing thinker who structured Visa around the fundamental organizing principles of nature and evolution. Visa is perhaps the largest global company in terms of customers and transactions, and this success wouldn’t have been possible without tapping into Hock’s “chaordic theory.”

The Chaordic Field is described as the  “perfect balance of chaos and order where evolution can occur.” Living systems thrive in this narrow link between chaos and order. While in nature sometimes the goal can seem hidden to us, in a system such as a family, living your values gives a meaning that equals success. Hock asks that you create an enduring purpose and principle – actions occur in networks across the the system unified by a shared sense of purpose and principles. Hock:  “Purpose is discovered in that wellspring of common commitment and caring.”

Hubby and I certainly have an interesting dynamic, as I am more comfortable with activity and chaos, and he needs order and structure. We often find it uncanny how we can accomplish anything, but chaordic theory helps me see why we make such a great team.

Hock recommends you manage yourself first “manage self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts.”  We cannot control our children or our spouses, controlling others is ineffective no matter how much we might wish. As parents, we serve a role as leader in our families, and it’s important to remember that role in the daily chaos of our lives. Here’s an essay on Hock, with an excerpt from his book: Dee Hock on Leadership

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Hock:

Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality.

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.

Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.

Here are two of Hock’s books:

Which rules in your family – chaos or order? Or both?

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