Subscriber Swap Saturday with No Debt Plan

No Debt Plan is about getting and staying out of debt with a plan. Kevin, the author, is passionate about budgeting, saving for the future, and using goals to reach financial freedom. You can subscribe to his blog by RSS or email.

This interview is part of a new feature he’s developed called Subscriber Swap Saturday. The basic idea is to get the subscribers of one blog to subscribe to the other blog for at least a week, just to try it out. After a week if you don’t find that blogger’s content enticing, drop it. The hope is that over time you will find several writers that you weren’t familiar with who provide meaningful content to you. You can read more about Subscriber Swap Saturday at his blog, and you can read his interview with me here.

I see that one of your pre-steps to your no debt plan is to have a “long term view”. Has your long term view changed under the current economic conditions? It has, but not as much as one might think. The keys are still getting out of debt, spending less than you earn, and saving for future costs (retirement, cars, whatever). In this economy I am recommending to my readers to store up just a little bit more on the savings side of things. Better to have money in the bank than equity on a loan if you lose your job.

Congratulations on starting the drugstore game! As a beginner, what is the most frustrating thing about playing? It’s definitely been interesting. I would say the most frustrating thing to me is finding all of the deals that are a fit for me rather than everyone. We don’t have kids so the diaper deals and things like that have no relevance. That and cutting out coupons can be a pain. But saving money is awesome, so it is well worth it to me.
Do you give financial advice in the “real” world? Not as a profession. I do help out my friends and co-workers when they ask. I’d love to work in the industry, but it would have to be in a fee-only type role.
Did you start No Debt Plan with the same goals that you have now or have they changed? What are your goals for NDP? My initial goal was to test myself, to be honest. I wanted to see if I could actually blog for an entire year without giving up. I had tried in the past and failed miserably. I’ve proven to myself that I can do this, so yes my goals have changed. I would love to blog full-time even though I think that is nearly impossible to achieve. Nonetheless I am on my way toward that goal and would be glad to surprise myself by reaching it!
Do you and your wife share financial responsibilities or do you (or she) take care of most of the finances? We share shopping decisions, but I handle most of the budgeting. We will sit down every couple of weeks to go over everything — where are we on groceries, eating out, how much spending money do we each have left. She handles other things like actually making the grocery list. She’s amazing and has a price book in her head. She can calculate as we go along how much each item is going to be. Very impressive… something I can’t do.
Another relationship question… In your opinion, should couples share accounts or is it better to keep them separate? Why? Shared. Shared. Shared. Seriously — shared.

When you take the holy vow of marriage you are promising to share everything until death removes one of you from the situation. Note that money is included in everything. I think major problems are more likely to crop up when spouses have separate bank accounts and then each pay a portion of shared costs (you pay 1/2 of the mortgage, I pay 1/2). One person can secretively rack up credit card debt or blow their savings without the other person really knowing. I really think separate accounts are a disaster waiting to happen although I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule.

We are believers in having money that each person can spend without any complaint from the other. But that money stays in the same shared account and is just accounted for separately on an Excel spreadsheet (which is how we keep our budget).

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wendy March 8, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Which works great unless one of you is a six-year-old and spent all the fun money for both of you for the next four months.

Oh, sorry. I promise I’m not being a troll. True story. Not anymore, but it once was.

We have it all in common, too. But mostly this means that he spends whatever he wants and I am not allowed to spend anything ever. Except that I do the finances and so this is only what he thinks.

In the end, we’re both happy.

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2 LittlePeopleWealth March 8, 2009 at 9:13 pm

LOL – there are definitely issues with every way you try to deal with finances in a relationship!

Somethings are more frustrating than others….

DH and I also combine our finances and I find it works well for us. It can be done other ways though – the biggest problem that I see with not combining is when they also try to split bills and one makes more (or all) compared to the other. It sometimes leaves the one making less feeling more useless and the one making more spending money they shouldn’t. I don’t care how much each person makes, both are contributing to the family and therefore I feel the money belongs to both…

I think what Kevin was saying is also true – you don’t want two people so separate that they don’t know what the other is spending! That can lead to some serious problems down the road.

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3 Wendy March 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Hi – I went back & recommented to you on my site – that I meant my post to be more self-deprecating than anything. When we were early married I had all these great ideas about how we would be fair & equal and divide it out in a pretty way – and it never worked. It still doesn't.

My dad & stepmom keep it separate – once burned, twice fearful and all that – and I find it interesting that they still fight over all kinds of things like newlyweds. Having to work it out financially spills over into everything else – and never working it out financially spills over, too!

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4 LittlePeopleWealth March 11, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Yeah… We started with partially separate, combined for bills and we have slowly combined all of them. It works well for us.

The friends that I have that keep it completely separate have issues with it – I’m sure it can work, but it depends on the couple.

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