What’s the greatest obstacle to saving money for adoption?
When we began our journey towards bringing children into our home, I would have said that the greatest obstacle was the amount of money we would have to come up with for the whole process. This is a big obstacle, but it’s actually the root of the biggest obstacle that’s the most important.
Surprisingly when I meet with couples, the number 1 problem is their spending.
When we spend more money than we make, it causes us to be unable to save for our goals.
According to the second annual U.S. Financial Health Pulse: “For some, the rate of spending is outpacing income, with nearly 20% of people with household income from $30,000 to $59,999 saying they spent more than their income in the 12 months prior to the 2019 survey, an increase of 4.1 points.”
Do you find yourself looking back at your month and wondering what happened to your money or feeling dissatisfied because your money isn’t going towards something that brings you joy?
Do you relate to any of these emotional responses to money?
What’s the root cause behind our spending?
Address the emotional aspects of your spending, so you can intentionally spend your money instead of emotionally spend your money. Our emotional responses to money are a result of our beliefs and cultural truths; the things we learned from our family of origin.
The next time you experience one of these emotions, just remember that it stems from an experience from your past. Ask yourself questions like:
- Why did I react negatively to that financial situation?
- How did my parent’s handle money and am I reacting to my present situation because of my feelings of fear?
- Why am I hiding money from my spouse?
- What am I so afraid of when it comes to my money?
- Could my Love Language be the reason I’m shopping too much? Maybe I don’t feel fulfillment, so I’m trying to fill a lack.
- Why do I have this resentment towards my spouse/partner about their spending habits? What’s the real reason behind my resentment?
I’ve witnessed financial infidelity destroy relationships. To learn more about financial infidelity, check out this article.
How can we take control of our spending?
Before I tell you how to control the spending, I want to show you why you want to take control of your spending. I was a mortgage loan officer for 10 years. I remember a woman that came to me to consolidate some debt. On paper it made sense to take her credit card debt and other loans and do a cash out refinance to combine the debt and then lower her monthly payments into a 15 year mortgage. What I didn’t realize at the time was that we weren’t solving the reason why she had that debt. (See the above emotional responses we have towards money.)
I had talked to her about putting money into a money market account, creating an investment account, and putting money in her retirement. 2 years later she came back to me because she had wracked up the debt again and had no savings. She hadn’t listened to me. This time I couldn’t help her because she didn’t have equity in her home.
10 years later, I realize that we should have addressed her spending habits more thoroughly. It was this experience and a few others that impressed me to pursue financial coaching instead of mortgage originating. It’s important to change your habits, address your emotional reactions, and follow through with your weekly Money Date.
How the Qube Money app can help you control spending
During the Discovery Session I help my clients set up a spending plan that will ease conflicts over money, create intention with their personal spending, and help them reach financial goals that were previously unattainable(or so they thought). My biggest goal is to help my clients learn about intention with their spending.
I believe in practicing what I preach. I liked Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope system, but it was lacking something. I was concerned with money being taken, plus some months you set aside $50 for a category, but only spend $25 and that money wasn’t earning interest. I started using sub-accounts and naming them for my categories and then going in to the credit union to obtain the cash. That worked for most things, but then I got married and my spouse purchased things online. (Plus now that I’m working full-time and he’s going to school full-time we don’t have time to shop, so I use Instacart and that requires a credit card.)
Last year when I saw the guys that started Qube Money at FinCon, I was so excited to hear that they had combined the Dave Ramsey idea of cash envelopes and my idea of bank accounts and they added a debit card, so now my concern about buying online has gone away. I may have jumped up and down and almost tackled them when I saw their shirts. (I did try to remain professional)
They’ve also added a few features that I think are bonus such as the ability to round up a purchase and transfer that money into a savings account. You can mark a Qube for savings and earn a rate of return and then later change it to a spending Qube and transfer the money to the debit card to then have it swiped. These two features are perfect for couples saving for adoption and fertility.
Another feature that will be helpful to prepare financially for adoption or fertility is the ability to set an amount for your spending and not have to worry about whether or not you’ve gone over. If you set up your spending plan and determine that you will spend $300 on food/eating out, you have that automatically put on the card in the Qube marked food/eating out. Then when you need to spend that money, just look at the account and see that there is money available. If you are tempted to move money from a savers Qube to transfer to the food/eating out Qube, then your partner or spouse will receive a notification. It helps with accountability and transparency in your relationship, which is something we talk about in Money Date.
When you are planning for the ICPC, utilize Qube Money’s Group Trip Qube. Inside the Qube are sub-Qube’s that you can name Hotel/AirBnB, Food, Supplies for the baby, Airfare, Car Rental and Gas, and Gifts for Birth family. I really love this because you are saving specifically for the ICPC and know that the money is already set aside. You don’t have to worry if the Home Study money is being used or money set aside for decorating the bedroom is being used. You can look at the Qube and see, “Hey, I’ve got $500 for rental car and gas while we are away. or “We have $750 for convenience foods while we are out of town because it will be difficult to take a baby out to a restaurant.” Intentional planning will ease your stress tremendously.
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Intentional spending will help you save money
There are 2 ways to save money for your goals: Increase Income and Decrease Expenses. That’s it.
Once you Increase Income, then let’s focus on Decreasing Expenses.
Obtain the proper motivation to live intentionally with your money.
It’s one thing to read about ways to Decrease Expenses and another to execute it. You may have had good intentions before. Let’s change your mindset about the mistakes you’ve made. I want you to think about what it will feel like when the judge says, “This child is officially yours.” or When the doctor says, “It’s a girl.” That is the reason for you decreasing expenses. That is what should motivate you to change your spending habits.
Put in place a system (such as Qube Money) to help you intentionally save and spend your money, so that your dreams can come true. The best feeling in the world is to look back and see that the hard work you did to reach your goal was totally worth it.
In regards to your motivation, I encourage you to sit down during your Money Date and create a Family Motto. We go over how to develop your Family Motto in the Adoption and Fertility Grant Success Course as well as in the Love & Money coaching program. Put your Family Motto in a place that will remind you of your values and family’s purpose. Every week the two of you should be discussing how you plan on spending money that week that keeps you in line with your Family Motto.
Let me leave you with one final thought.
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