Welcome to another installment of the Centsible Life Family CFO interview series. This series will share a look behind the scenes at how other families manage their money with useful advice, funny stories, and hopefully we’ll all come out of it a bit more money savvy.
Want to be featured as a Family CFO? Simply click over to the interview form and fill it out. It should only take you about 5-10 minutes. I’d love to feature readers and fellow bloggers alike. If you have suggestions for additional questions I’d love to know what you’d like to ask.
This week’s Family CFO is Elyse Castillo who runs Chew Philly Food Tours, manages her family finances as CFO, and stays at home with her two young children.
Q&A with Elyse Castillo from Chew Philly Tours
Q: What do you do for a living?
I own Chew Philly Food Tours, and stay home with my children as well as operating the company, which wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have an amazing team at Chew Philly!
Q: Do you have kids? If so, how many and what are their ages?
I have two amazing children, ages 4 and 20 months.
Q: Who is in charge of everyday spending in your home?
I maintain our everyday spending budget, but my husband and I communicate and clear it with each other if we want to spend outside of our typical structure.
Q: How do you track your finances?
I track our finances monthly, and also created a mini-P&L for our family that I review at the end of the year when making the next year’s budget. I really enjoy finance, so it’s fun for me – but also very useful.
Q: How do you track your net worth?
We don’t, really. It’s definitely an area I’d like to learn more about.
Q: Do you create a budget?
Yes, and stick to it!
Q: How often do you check your accounts?
3-5 times per week.
Q: How often do you assess you spending and budget?
Q: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to your finances?
My biggest challenge is to not be such a money worrier. I am constantly calculating our budget and I always have money fears lingering in the back on my mind. I wish I wasn’t like this, but I truly think my husband helps me in this area because he always like to keep me in check that money is meant to be enjoyed as well. It doesn’t mean that you have to spend more than you earn, it just means having a healthy balance.
Q: What has been your biggest success financially?
Our biggest success has been saving for our children’s college fund. We have been diligent about consistently contributing to their 529s since their birth, and feel good about their current 529 plan and performance. With a business start up, it would have been easy to refrain from contributing for a while so that we could have had a little extra disposable income – but my husband and I chose to sacrifice eating out and unnecessary spending to support our children’s future college dreams, and I am so proud of us for doing so. I know we’ll look back on this in 20 years and be appreciative.
Q: Who is in charge of the managing bill paying in your home?
I am proud to be our family’s CFO, and really enjoy it.
Q: When you and your spouse disagree about a financial issues how do you come to a compromise?
I think we try to envision what will be more important 5 years down the road. For instance…In 5 years, will we remember that we spent $800 dining out throughout the year, or would that $800 be more valuable in our retirement fund, compounded with interest over the next 5 years? Quality of life is important, but I think visualizing the future helps us to weigh the benefits of purchases and think of saving as a marathon, not a race.
Q: What is the best advice you have for being a successful CFO of your family?
Create a budget, and stick to it.
Putting Savings above Discretionary Spending
Putting savings first is a winning strategy for Elyse and her family. While they may have to sacrifice in the short-term seeing their investments grow makes it worthwhile.