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.
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Q&A with Jackie Beck from The Debt Myth and creator of the Pay off Debt app
Q: What do you do for a living?
I’m an entrepreneur, blogger, and the creator of Pay Off Debt — an app that’s helped 44,000+ people use the debt snowball method to pay off debt.
Q: Do you have kids? If so, how many and what are their ages?
I have a 21 year old son who is married, working full time, and going to school.
Q: Who is in charge of everyday spending in your home?
Probably I’m in charge of most of the everyday spending, but we really don’t need that many things. My husband is also just as likely to go to the grocery store as me, so we just keep a list going for that all of the time using the Our Groceries app..
Q: How do you track your finances?
I use a spreadsheet I created with OpenOffice, combined with Quicken.
Q: How do you track your net worth?
Manually with a spreadsheet.
Q: Do you create a budget?
Yes, although it’s more like “save, pay all the bills, then do whatever we like.”
Q: How often do you check your accounts?
Usually every day.
Q: How often do you assess you spending and budget?
I used to do so daily, now it’s about every 2 weeks.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to your finances?
Right now our biggest challenge is probably saving for retirement. We were hitting that pretty hard for a while, but haven’t contributed as much as we would like recently.
Q: What has been your biggest success financially?
Getting completely out of debt, including paying off our house! I can’t tell you what a difference that has made in our lives. Just in general, we’ve had a complete financial turnaround.
Q: Who is in charge of the managing bill paying in your home?
We have most of our bills set up on auto pay, so there’s not much actual bill paying to worry about. We do his-hers-and-ours finances, so I manage tracking the joint bills + my own, and my husband manages his own.
Q: When you and your spouse disagree about a financial issues how do you come to a compromise?
We’ve been lucky to have very similar financial outlooks, so we haven’t had to deal with that TOO much. But I think each of us having come from past relationships where there were lots of financial issues really helps us realize that talking things through and seeing the other person’s point of view is important, as is doing what you say you’re going to do. Having the his-hers-and ours finances also helps. I suspect most of the things we might otherwise disagree about (how much I spend on clothes, for example, or him wanting some expensive electronics thing that I don’t care about) don’t bother us because they’re coming from our individual accounts instead of the joint one.
Q: What is the best advice you have for being a successful CFO of your family?
Pay yourself first and always, then fit in the rest. Plus of course, always spend less than you earn. (And get out of debt if you’re in it.)
Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is a great piece of advice. Putting aside savings and retirement funds before you pay bills or spend means you can grow your money faster.
Get out of Debt
Getting out of debt is challenging, but with a plan it will go much faster, and Jackie’s app makes it straightforward and simple to know what to do to get yourself debt-free.