Browsing Category: Family and Friends

Essential Emergency Supplies

While having an emergency fund is certainly important, it doesn’t really mean much if your family lack the essential supplies to ride out during a storm recovery. I wanted to send out a reminder to grab supplies BEFORE a storm or emergencies happens.

Essential Emergency Supplies

According to sites like FEMA and the Red Cross, there some vital supplies that you need to have to be prepared for a storm.emergency supplies

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3 ­day supply for evacuation, 2­ week supply for home)
  • Food— nonperishable, easy ­to­ prepare items (3­ day supply for evacuation, 2 ­week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery ­powered or hand­ crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7­day supply) and medical items
  • Multi­purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

If you don’t have the supplies and a storm or another emergency is coming, please consider evacuating temporarily. You really don’t want to be stuck without the essentials, especially if you have kids.

Thoughts on Preparing for an Emergency

I’d love to hear from you and how prepared you are for emergencies. What do you have in your supply kit? What do you need to grab to complete your bag?

When To Call Your Partner Out On Over-Spending

couples-and-relationshipOne of the toughest aspects of managing a relationship is organizing finances and getting on the same page as far as budgeting, saving, and spending. Rarely does a relationship work if both partners are not in agreement on what counts as a splurge and what doesn’t.

The failure to have this conversation can lead to not knowing when it’s time to call someone out on over-spending, which in turn can lead to a slow, simmering resentment and, worse, long-term debt. Here is a checklist on when a couples’ spending needs to be better managed:

Frequently Charging to a Credit Card

Obviously using a credit card for small purchases that will be easily repaid is not a big deal. A trip out to buy some cheap sunglasses does not need to be discussed with your partner, nor does an inexpensive lunch or even an afternoon at the movies—with popcorn and soda!

But if the credit card is being utilized for things that you can’t afford, that’s when you have a problem. This ties into the next two indicators, as credit card expenses needs to be figured into your monthly budget for both big and small expenditures.

Monthly Budgets Not Planned in Advance

A couple who shares much of their lives together should also share their finances. This doesn’t mean that one partner’s money belongs to the other, but it does mean that you should be discussing your expenses together and preparing a budget. Whether your bank accounts are linked or not, you should both be on the same page as to what your utility bills will be, insurance costs, car insurance, student loans, etc. This will prevent one partner from spending the last hundred dollars on a new smartphone instead of more pressing expenses.

Big Purchases are not Discussed Beforehand

A sure sign that a couple is not on the same financial page is when one of them makes a big, expensive purchase without discussing it beforehand without the other. This could be as simple as an iPad or as egregious as a new car. Regardless of your combined income, big purchases should always be discussed prior to sliding the plastic. Perhaps your other half has a more pressing financial need that he or she has been reluctant to bring up.

A financially responsible and respectful couple stands to gain more than just a sound bank account, it can also lead to a healthier relationship. Money is nothing to be scoffed at, and being open and honest with your partner should not be underestimated as a huge bellwether test in your relationship.

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Helping Family and Friends with Money – a Good Idea or Minefield?

Over the last few months I’ve had some fun and heartache, all from helping loved ones with their finances. I’ve helped a few with creating budgets that help them achieve a specific goal and I’ve recommended a few ideas on how they can save money. Most have taken the advice (which they asked for – I’ve learned no to give unsolicited advice) and have benefited.

Now I’ve discussed about lending to friends and family, but now I’m talking about helping them coming up with a money plan, like helping out with a budget. How can you help them without making them feel bad or taking over their finances? Is there a way to handle this delicate situation? 

Talking About Money with Starting a Fight

If you’re going to talk about money with a loved one, such as a sibling or a close friend, it’s important to have a general plan on how you’d like to communicate. Here are some tips that have helped me with getting the money issues discussed without hurting feelings.

  • Pick the right time to have the talk. The best time to talk about money is when things are relaxed. Agree on a time that works for both of you.
  • Don’t judge, look for a goal. It can be easy to point out every mistake that they’ve made, but if they came to you for help, then commend them for taking responsibility. You’re a team.
  • Write down the goal they want to accomplish. Do they want a doable budget? Do they want a debt repayment plan? Whatever it is put it down in writing. Focus on on only one goal.
  • Have an accountability schedule. Plan on checking in with each other on a regular basis. Perhaps having a weekly update over the phone for 10 minutes.
  • Help out, but don’t enable. Having a supportive friend can help your loved one reach their goals, but they still need to do the heavy lifting themselves.

Does that mean things won’t get tense. No, each person is different and it can be tense even if you say the right things. No one wants to admit to having a money problem. However you can help your loved get on the right track if you two have a plan.

Thoughts on Helping Loved Ones with Money

I’d love to hear how you deal with mixing money and loved ones. How do you handle the money discussions at friends and family?

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Evaluating Family and Money as Objectively as Possible

Let’s be honest upfront – it’s almost impossible to be completely objective when dealing with family and money. We love them and want to help them out if we can. The problem for some, myself included, is making sure that you’re actually helping them and not enabling them.

This post is mainly for those situations where you’re unsure if loaning or gifting them money is the right solution. For me personally, if my loved one is in a situation that they couldn’t really avoid, I’d help them out as best as I can.

Questions to Ask Before You Loan Money 

From my personal experience, I’ve had relatives hit with emergencies more than the typical person and have received calls asking for immediate help. One of the best places to start is with asking some questions and then paying attention to their response. You’re not trying to intimidate them or make them feel guilty, you’re trying to get to the truth of the matter.

  • What exactly happened? Start at the beginning and ask then when and how they
  • How do they need and why? If they can’t give you an exact number and explanation, you may want them to call you back when they do. You want to encourage them to see if they can find a frugal solution out of this.
  • What’s the plan to pay me back? I know, it’s tough to ask that, but it’s necessary. Why should you do all the heavy lifting? Instead have them take ownership of their problems.

If you feel bad about asking so many questions, just remember that if they went to a bank to get a loan, they would get a lot more questions and they would probably more financially invasive.

Now it’s time to ask yourself a few questions to help you decide what the next step should be for you.

  • Can you really afford to help them? Be honest with yourself. Do you have the money to help them without hurting yourself? You may have some savings tucked away, but can you afford never seeing that money again?
  • Do you feel like you’re being pressured and/or guilted into loaning money? The request for a rapid response has thrown me off before, but now I ask them to let me review my finances first before committing to anything.  I need time to look at the situation and then I can decide what I’d feel comfortable doing.
  • If you’re married, how does your spouse feel? If you’re a parent, how will this affect them? You have to balance your responsibilities with this request.

The final decision is up to you and having as much information as possible can help you be more objective.

Thoughts on Loaning to Loved Ones

I hope these guidelines can help you balance taking care of family and friends without putting your own finances at risk. Don’t stress if you still feel bad and loan out the money. I break my own rules at times. The main point is that you don’t hurt yourself while helping others.

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