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Couple Money – Best of the Best Blogger Series

by on January 17, 2012

Couple Money - Best of The Best Blogger SeriesNext, in our 35th edition of our Best of the Best Blogger series, we sat down with Elle Martinez from Couple Money.

While Elle and her partner/husband at Couple Money seem to have fairly common personal financial goals, such as paying down debt and saving money to buy a house, unlike many dual-income couples out there, they’re utilizing a clear mission statement and a very distinct framework to tackle the problem that many of us face.

As the editorial voice for the site, Elle clearly outlines her primary goal of “balancing family and money issues”, using the blog as a way to keep track of her family’s financial progress in “one long case study.”

Elle covers some interesting subject matter, including why it’s a good idea to keep both joint and separate accounts as a couple, automating your finances and how to talk about money as a family.

What’s impressive about Elle’s editorial voice is how exceptionally clear her strategy and approach to money really is.  Successfully managing family finances is far more complicated than most people think because it involves managing far more than just the numbers.  Far too often, families overlook the emotional and psychological components of managing the family’s finances, but as Elle has discovered, navigating family finance successfully really starts with a well-defined strategy and a clear plan of action.

We sat down with Elle to talk about mobile incomes, financially optimized choices and putting family before finances.

What was your inspiration behind CoupleMoney.com?

I’ve been blogging for a few years. I started a personal finance site when I was in college. Eventually I graduated and, in a sense, outgrew the site. By that time, I was married and we were at a different stage in life. My husband and I had no credit card debt and we paid off the car loan that I acquired.

I started Couple Money to chronicle how we’re living on one income and using the second income to achieve financial and personal goals. I hope the site can start discussions about balancing family and finances.

Your philosophy at CoupleMoney is simple yet brilliant … “family first, then finances.” Tell me about this mindset … where it came from and why it’s so important to you.

We both come from families that are pretty close. I do believe that our finances are a reflection of some of the things we value. We don’t always make the most financially optimized choices, but we do what we feel is right for us.

We’re paying down our student loan debt and mortgage, but we’re also taking family trips, saving money for our next car, and investing.

You mention on your blog that your goal is to use your lives on the blog “as one long case study.” What do you hope to gain from this “case study”?

Getting responses and ideas from readers has been extremely motivating. We’ve adapted some of our plans as the community shares their suggestions. Our hope is that others can look at our family and get ideas for their own lives.

You also talk about having a “mobile” income … why is that so important in this day and age.

I think more and more jobs are moving to becoming location independent. For some people who became freelance workers due to economic circumstances they’re discovering the freedom and benefits of having a mobile income. You can work at home and watch your child for example. I’m not saying it’s easy – I’m doing it right now and it keeps busy- but just having that as an option is wonderful.

Considering your philosophy on debt, what’s your stance on using credit cards? Are they a useful financial tool or should they simply be avoided?

It really depends on the couple. I believe there are some smart ways for people to use credit cards, such as getting rewards for purchases they were already going to make. We’re not heavy credit card users by any means. It’s a handy tool to use for family and work vacations. We don’t abuse it and I tend to keep credit cards out of my wallet for day to day activities.

However, there are some people who just shouldn’t have a credit card. The temptation to get into debt is too hard. Putting family before finances, some couples may stay away from possibly ‘good’ credit cards rather than put themselves in a delicate situation.

What has been the most rewarding thing about your blogging experience with CoupleMoney.com?

I think the best part of working on Couple Money is getting feedback with emails and from friends that are improving their finances. I love helping people and watching people succeed with their own goals.

Our thanks, once again, goes out to Elle Martinez of CoupleMoney.com for sharing her experiences and insights.

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