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By Couple of Sense

Sarah and Scott are personal finance bloggers and coaches. They have paid off debt, paid for a wedding in cash, bought a house, completed home renovations, gone back to school and handled everything else along the way without going into debt. They want to share how you can do that as well! When they aren't writing or talking about money you can find them at home, working on their home, in their veggie garden, binge watching some TV and snuggling with their cat.
Connect in real time on Twitter: @coupleofsense

Investing In a Company You Don’t Believe In

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The Challenge of Morally Responsible Investing

Deciding where to invest your hard-earned money can be a tricky task.  You have to weigh your goals and your aversion to risk.  There are industries you may want to avoid if you think they are on their way out.  ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds) can be linked to foreign markets that may be more or less stable than domestic ones. Performance of the stock over a period of time is a factor.  Whether you are looking for a short-term buy and sell or a long-term investment.  Outside of the money, you may also look at what you are actually investing in.  Even if profit potential is higher, if you have personal and negative feelings about the company (or even the commodity – like coal), that may play into your decision.  As an investor your goal is to make money –but that shouldn’t interfere with your principles.

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Buying for Baby

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Buying for BabyBaby Gear:

As Des from Half Banked put it wonderfully, babies are tiny expensive humans.  When we decided we wanted to expand our family we knew that would come with a great many expenses.  Buying for baby was going to cost us a lot of money since we were starting from scratch.  While we knew that we still wanted to make smart money decisions to stretch what money we did set aside as far as possible.  We set aside $3000 to support the baby gear and clothes we needed for Ava’s first year.  We thought of this as startup costs.  Should we be able to expand our family further we will not have to purchase the same items again and hope to re-use them to get even more wear out of them.

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Get A Job!

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What is a Good Age for a First Job?

As a new parent there are so many questions that I am starting to ask myself.  Some of these questions are for right now: Do we get optional immunizations or just the mandatory ones?, Do we buy this outfit in size 6 months or 12 months? *based on when she’d be wearing it* or Will she ever go to sleep? etc).  Then there are other questions. Questions we have quite a few years to figure out that still creep into my mind.  Yesterday I started to ask myself – what is a good age for a child to start working their first job?

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Life with a Baby: Birth Story and Week 1

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Life with a BabyWelcome to a Life with a Baby where we are sharing our journey into parenthood.  The first Friday of the month we will be sharing a story of what life was like.

This month is the birth story as well as the first week at home with Ava!  The theme for this month is the 95th percentile.

The 95th percentile

I was off work for about a week.  My first week of maternity leave before Ava was awesome.  I cooked and baked all of the things which came in handy during the first month.  There were concerns that the baby was in breech so I did a late term ultrasound on the Tuesday just before I hit 39 weeks.  Breech would have equaled a c-section so needless to say I was panicked.  I had a great tech doing the ultrasound.  She let me know that the baby wasn’t in breech right away.  I made an immediate call to Scott then went back to more cooking.

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How We Planned for a 15 Month Maternity Leave

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Maternity LeaveAs I mentioned when we announced that we were expecting a baby earlier this year, I am taking a 15 month maternity leave.  Now almost 2 months into it (as of writing) I wanted to share how it is going financially and how we planned for it.

I want to call out at the top that we saved up a very long time for this amount as having kids was a priority for us.  It took us over 4 years to save this kind of money before we had Ava.  How the “Baby Fund” was funded varied over the years.  Sometimes it was my overtime, sometimes it was part of our budget and sometimes it was Scott’s pay when we thought he was going to be out of a job.  Either way it was something we knew we wanted to do in order to help reduce the amount of financial stress during one of the most stressful times in our lives.

Also note that this is above and beyond what we saved for diapers, formula and baby gear. This was 100% to support our income while on maternity leave.

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Why Your Job Is Much More Than A Salary

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Happiness is Greater Than Salary

We have talked a lot in the past year on the topic of employment.  In 2016 I got a working notice for the job I had for over 10 years.  In early 2017 I got another job which almost immediately fell apart.  Then in April I got yet another job which is going really well.  Needless to say with so many peaks and valleys we’ve had a lot to talk about.  The good thing about this rollercoaster is that I landed in a place where I’m happier with my job than I have in well over a decade.  A couple of weeks ago something was brought up at work that brought up another topic.  I was (sort of) offered a promotion.

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Why SMART Goals Aren’t Smart Enough

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SMART GoalsAre SMART Goals Holding You Back?

Have you ever heard of SMART goals?  I’m not the hugest fan of SMART goals.  I don’t feel like they do enough to challenge you and many people fall back on them as an acceptable way of measuring your goals.   There are different variations of what SMART stands for but basically it goes like this with some variation depending on the source.

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Patching The Cords: A Budget Exercise

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Revisiting our Entertainment Budget

Nearly a year ago I put up a blog post about cutting our telecommunications bills in an effort to free up some monthly cash flow.  At the time we didn’t mention the specific reason.  Cutting the cords on our cable and slashing down our other telecommunications bills was part of a larger effort to revamp our budget for a new income situation.  I had received a working notice at my job and by the end of 2016 we were looking at potentially going down to 1 income.  Luckily in January I found another job and managed to avoid any interruption in income.  The new job was outside my industry, and ended up lasting only a couple of months.  I managed to get another job fairly quickly, this time in my industry and only missed 1 pay period.

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Financial Privilege

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Financial privilege is spoken of in hushed voices in the personal financial world.  You see if people admit that they have it they somehow lose credibility for their voice or message.  However it is important to acknowledge that you have had a leg up and it’s helped get you to where you are now.  I have a huge win in terms of financial privilege and I’m still reaping the benefits from it.  I dislike when others don’t admit that they have or have previously had some type of financial privilege.  Financial privilege changes your life and it is something that needs to be acknowledged.   It should not be brushed to the side out of lack of understanding of what you have been given.

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Regret: Hindsight Is $20.20

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Living With Financial Regret

Regret can be a funny thing.  The difference between regretting an action and being happy about it is related solely to the result.  We make decisions with the information we have at the time; regret pops in when that information changes or we find out it is wrong.  Financial regret is no different.  When I spend money on something it isn’t a mistake.  It may be an impulse buy where not much thought went into it. This is almost never done by accident.  It is easy to look back on decisions and think about what you could or should have done.

What you don’t know is what would have happened had your decision been different.  Would things be better, would things be worse?  Would you ever get the opportunity to make what ended up being a great decision had you not made a bad one previously?  I’m talking about alternate timelines which is a topic that is filled with paradoxes and endless loops.

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