Personal Finance: Stuff to Think About

Every year, I try to share a few tips, tricks and other things that make a difference in our financial life.

The Marcus Savings Account by Goldman Sachs (yes it is called that) is currently yielding 2.25% interest. Seriously.

We use Mint to keep track of all of our spending in aggregate. In our opinion (mine and Marcus’) it is a terrible budgeting platform but we use that along with our Excel spreadsheet to run our actual budget. I also have friends who use You Need A Budget (YNAB) and love it. I will note that YNAB is a paid service.

ALDI. If you’re not doing it you need to give it a try. I could go on and on about the reasons why but ultimately unless you are shopping at a premium/gourmet grocery store, you are paying too much for your shopping experience (and your groceries). For example, at the beginning of January, there was one trip where I was able to purchase a few cases of Spindrift AND I found chicken thighs being sold for $0.79/lb with an additional $1.00 off the entire package. Their organic kids fruit and veggie pouches are like $0.79 per pouch. They have everything, the quality is great.

We have allowances each week that we use for meals out with friends and personal purchases (clothing, lattes, books, etc.). It gives us a way to have fun without paying attention to what the other person is spending.

Finding a method to curb impulse spending. A great one I have found is to keep a list on my iPhone of the things I want to buy. If it isn’t already on the list I cannot buy it.

We accept basically all hand-me-downs we are offered for the kids and we work to purchase as much of their clothing as possible used. Until 2018 I did not have as much energy for this but something clicked and now I do have the time to go to Goodwill, the local kids’ consignment shop, or garage sales or sometimes I’ll even use eBay. My mom and mother-in-law also help in the hunt. I manage this by keeping track of what I already have for them in their next sizes up. With this in mind, I know what to look for and can start looking 3-6 months in advance. We also pass things onto friends to keep the cycle going.

As always, if you have any tips and tricks that have worked for you this year, feel free to share them in the comments!

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4 responses to “Personal Finance: Stuff to Think About

  1. I like the list idea.

    I’ve always liked the Stranger Test. If you have an item you are thinking about buying, imagine a Stranger is holding out the item in one hand and in the other hand is cash equal to the value of the item. Which one would you take?

    There’s another similar one I can’t think of right now, so obviously haven’t used it in a while.

    Love Aldi. And I still use a good ol’ geeky spreadsheet. My husband and I still have separate accounts. Good or bad? I don’t know – I guess there are pros and cons!

  2. I’m tracking my spending this year in excel and I like how low-key it is. I definitely need to check out the Marcus savings account because I have some cash I could sock away separate from my traditional savings, but wasn’t quite sure the best option.

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