Featured Finance Blog: Couple Money

Featured Finance Blog: Couple Money April 2, 2011

This week’s featured finance blogger is Elle at Couple Money.  As the title suggests, Couple Money was designed with the couple in mind.  Most of Elle’s articles have personal examples of ways she and her husband have been able to save, invest, spend, and manage their money better together.  As you’ll read later, her goal is to build a community on her site and to provide the best tips about managing money for couples that’s available.  Not only does she bring awesome articles every week on her blog, she’s a great person to follow on Twitter because she always seems to have a good article to promote.

Check out some of her most popular articles here:

Why did you start your blog?

I started Couple Money as a way to organize and track our current situation as a married couple looking at improving our finances.

I had started a personal finance blog that helped me through college as I was getting my financial foot squared away. However, I outgrew the blog in a sense as it was tied to a very specific point in my life. I decided to start Couple Money with the intention that this was going to be a long term site and hopefully, resource.

I learned that a blog can develop into an encouraging community and I felt that this new direction would be the best way to capture our journey.

Here are our goals right now:

  • Have no debt except for our mortgage. Currently we don’t have credit card debt or car payments. The only debt left right now is my student loans, which have a low interest rate.
  • Have a steady mobile income of $50,000/year or more. While this would be less than what we earn now, if we have no debts except a mortgage this would work well for us. This income can from freelance work (which is my main source of income now), working remotely, or passive income developed from products we create.

Now that we found out we’re going to be parents, it’s added a new dimension to how we look at everything.

It’s still too early to tell you what that is exactly, but I hope you’ll follow along as we figure it out!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting a budget, what would it be?

Make it realistic. I had failed with some of my earlier budgets because I thought I could maintain self discipline 24/7 and would not go over my ridiculously low entertainment budget.

When I tracked what I actually spent over a month, I found that I was setting myself up for failure. Reducing unnecessary expenses over time was something I could maintain. After I was able to keep my budget, it further motivated me to stick with my spending plan.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse about money?

Tough one to pick out, but I would say Eccl 7:12 is memorable to me. “Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. “

I do believe that if handled properly, money can give us some protection with the economic problems of today. However, it does us no good if we lack wisdom.

I do believe that money is a tool and it can be used for much good and for selfish reasons depending on what we choose.

I had a wonderful reminder listening to a podcast on Past Due radio about personal finance. It is important to know the how-to parts of finance, but it’s wiser to ask the whys.

Why do we need to buy this size house? Why do I want to save? Why did I pick my goals?

I think having wisdom can help us greatly not only in finances, but in life. We hope to pass that on to our daughter.

What are your goals for your site in the next year?

This year for me is about building up the community on the site and specifically with newsletter members. I’m running a contest this month for a financial freedom giveaway which includes a netbook once again. I hope to help someone start a side business or income stream as a way to speed up reaching their financial goals.

I would also like to release a guide later in the year that ties in with the theme of the blog – learning to live on one income while having fun with the second. I want to help people simplify their lives and help them have the resources to focus on what’s important to them.

I also hope that as we celebrate our 2nd anniversary in September, that we’ll celebrate with a big contest to help another Couple Money reader achieve their dreams.

What’s the first thing you’d buy if you had 1 million dollars?

Wow, that’s hard because there’s so much I could do. Here’s how I’d break it down:

  • $250k- Pay off house, student loan, and put money aside for retirement.
  • $250k – Set up my mom for retirement. That would cover her mortgage and still have a little something for her when she decides to slow down.
  • $250k – Help loved ones (friends and family) with their goals.
  • $250k – I would set up a charity or scholarship fund. The hard part would be decided what cause to tackle.

What would be first? Pay off our debts. It sounds crazy, but right now, I can’t think of stuff to buy for ourselves. We’ve been trying to simplify our lives, so I’m not really eager to buy something right now.

What’s the latest book you’ve read?  Any favorite books you’d recommend?

I just finished Joel Salatin’s book about being a lunatic farmer. It’s quite good and I’ve learned a bit more the food industry here in the US. My husband and I are trying to broaden our knowledge of what we eat and I thought learning the perspectives of a knowledgeable farmer is a good place to start.

Do you have any ‘hidden’ talents or skills not mentioned in your blog?

I love racquetball, but I haven’t been able to play lately. It’s a sport that I enjoyed and I always felt like I was getting a workout with it.

 

Thanks for letting us get to know you and your blog a little better Elle!  Be sure to say hi in the comments and stop by her blog Couple Money to read more great things about managing finances as a couple!

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