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How I’m Letting Go of Money Worries

You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap)

Back in 2005, my husband, Logan, and I began to simplify our lives. I detailed our story in my book, You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap), and the core philosophies I wrote about are still true. However, some things have changed. For example, we no longer live in our tiny house full-time, and we bought a used car in 2013. In essence, our quest to live a simple and happy life continues to evolve—as it should because nothing in life is static. This is especially true when it comes to money. When we began to simplify our lives, we wanted to redefine our relationship with money, pay off our debt, and buy a tiny house on wheels. We accomplished those goals (and a whole lot more).

However, I wish we’d been smarter with long-term financial planning during our twenties and early thirties. For instance, it would have been wise to set aside money for an old age fund. However, we were focused on paying off our debt and purchasing our tiny house. The good news is that we’ve been saving for our old age fund for the last three years.

Saving more and working with a fiduciary has eased my money worries because we’re making wiser investment choices. My worries aren’t completely gone, but hopefully that will change.

Below are six steps that are slowly helping me let go of money worries. If you struggle with anxiety around money, I hope these ideas inspire you to take action.

Before we move forward, I want to be very clear with a caveat. I’m not being compensated for any of the products or services below. I’m sharing this information because these resources and people have helped Logan and I get our finances in order.

With that, let’s get started.

1. Track everything. I’m obsessed with Mint because it’s a digital tool that makes tracking our income and expenses easy. In addition to Mint, I use GoDaddy Bookkeeping to track my business income and expenses. Separating my business and personal accounts has been so helpful. Tax time is less stressful because my numbers are in order. Plus, I have a clear understanding of how much it costs to run my business.

2. Focus on mindful budgeting. In addition to recording everything in Mint, I record my daily and weekly purchases in my Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner. Being able to write notes, reflections, and goals in my planner is helpful and grounding.

3. Talk about money. Logan and I have weekly and monthly money meetings to stay on track. It wasn’t always that way, though. In 2015, I had a melt-down about how much we were spending every month, which resulted in tears and an argument with Logan. Since then, I’ve been working on my money issues, and the more I talk about money, the less worried I feel.

4. Work with a fiduciary. A fiduciary offers fee-based, non-biased financial advice based on your circumstances. In short, their job is to help you make informed financial choices. We found our fiduciary—Michael Harris—in 2015, and he’s been incredibly helpful.

5. Save more and spend less. As I mentioned above, I want to put more money into our old age fund. I also want to work toward financial independence. As a result, I’ve been questioning all my expenditures (like the amount I spend on groceries, dining, coffee, and more). It’s great to be debt free, but we’ve become a bit lazy on the budgeting front. This year is all about saving more and spending less.

Parting words …

After experiencing debilitating back pain in 2016, my aim is to maintain my health by taking small steps every day. Some of those actions include not drinking alcohol, eating real food, going to CrossFit, getting enough sleep, and making sure our finances are in order because money matters.

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing more essays about money. For example, I’m working on an article about how we’re decreasing our monthly food and dining expenses. If you have money questions for me—or topics you’d like me to write about—leave a comment below.

If you’re reading this article via email, just respond to this message. I don’t have time to respond to all of the emails I receive, but I read every message that arrives in my inbox. I’m grateful for your continued support and encouragement.

Cheers to living a simple and joyful life!

With gratitude,
Tammy

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sas March 15, 2017, 2:43 am

    Loved this list Tammy! We are on a similar money journey – a few years ago we moved out of London so we could afford to buy our first house together and I could go full-time in my business.

    We’ve had to learn how to be completely transparent about our spending and saving habits and to understand how each of us use money to feel safe (I like to surround myself with things, Mr P likes to know he has money in the bank!).

    Now we are looking for the next house we are dedicating so much of our money to savings. We bought a children’s giraffe height chart to add a bit of fun and after our monthly money dates, we track our progress there 🙂

    • Tammy Strobel March 15, 2017, 9:53 am

      Thanks Sas! I love that you two bought a children’s giraffe height chart to chart your savings. That is rad! xoxo.

  • Ula March 15, 2017, 9:30 am

    I just wanted to write that I’m waiting for your next articles about finances 🙂 I have my goals, I’m tacking our family budget, so your tips and experiences can be helpful.

  • Steve March 15, 2017, 11:40 am

    Hi Tammy, great subject! One of my favorite writers on the subject is Jim Collins, at http://jlcollinsnh.com/. He’s written a book about simplifying finances, and his blog is a wealth of information presented very clearly. I’d say his approach is similar to Your Money or Your Life.

    On another topic, I’m looking for land for my in-progress tiny home, and it’s been tough. What has Siskiyou County been like? Would you say that it’s possible, or would you look elsewhere?

    Thanks, Steve

    • Tammy Strobel March 15, 2017, 3:14 pm

      Hi Steve, thanks for the info! I’ll check out Jim’s website. It’s time for me to read Your Money or Your Life, again. I love that book!

      We haven’t had any issues with our tiny house in Siskiyou County. However, it’s in the county tucked away on my in-laws property. I’d suggest touching base with Joe Faris. He’s a local realtor and probably knows way more than I do.

      Good luck!

      With gratitude,
      Tammy

  • Lisa March 17, 2017, 6:02 am

    Hi Tammy,
    I’m looking forward to your future money essays. My husband and I embarked on a similar money journey a few years back. For different reasons, though. We wanted to move to a better neighborhood and school district for our daughter. And we had to get our finances in order and pay off some debt in order to do it. We’ve since moved, but are still dealing with the debt. Selling a home, buying another and moving all our belongings cost more than we expected. But we’re committed to seeing it through to the end and are still chugging along on our debt payments. Keeping a monthly budget has been key in our quest for becoming debt free. That, and using cash money envelopes for our everyday spending. When the cash is gone from the envelope, we’re done spending in that category. Really helps us be more mindful of how we spend our money throughout the money!

  • Isabelle March 18, 2017, 3:37 pm

    Hi Tammy!

    Great post as usual. I so enjoy reading your blog. Even when I’m internet-fasting, yours is the one that I keep reading :). I follow you on Instagram too and I had reached out to you about healing back stuff. I read the link you recommended and it serves as inspiration for me. I hope I can get there too! What did you do in the in-between times when you could barely move without everything Hurting? How did you get to being able to do cross fit now? I’m slowly integrating exercises back into my life and I was curious to see how you did it. Would you consider sharing tips or write a post about it in the future?

    Thanks a lot! 🙂

    -Isa

    • Tammy Strobel March 20, 2017, 8:36 am

      Thanks Isabelle. I’ve written a little bit about my health journey in the past. Maybe this post will help? I’ll work on a more detailed essay about my journey. Thanks for reading!

  • Diana Strinati Baur April 1, 2017, 6:28 am

    Hi Tammy, I hope this finds you well, it’s been so long since I have touched bases with you although I think of you so often. Three years ago we sold our B&B in Italy and moved to Germany for a variety of reasons. We did miss Italy though and recently bought a very small house there and are renovating it to work for us. Which of course, makes me think of you. I love this article – I have a very complicated relationship with money that he not gotten easier as I have gotten older. I find your steps reassuring and am catching up on everything you’ve done in the last couple of years. Many warm wishes from my heart to yours. Diana

    • Tammy Strobel April 3, 2017, 8:47 am

      It’s so good to hear from you Diana! I’m happy my article helped. Sending you big hugs from California. xoxo.

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