What My 2 Year Old Taught Me About Managing Money

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The other day, I sat down to enjoy a delicious gourmet meal with my daughter, Alison.

As we were sitting there, eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I noticed that Alison wasn’t actually biting her sandwich. 

What she was actually doing was pulling the bread apart, taking a lick of the peanut butter, scooping the jelly off with her finger, licking her finger, then closing the bread back together. 

After getting over the fact that I might be raising a sociopath, I decided to try and teach her the right way to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

I looked at her and said, “Alison, Watch this.” 

I grabbed my sandwich, I took a bite and I explained that this is the way you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich– by keeping the bread together and taking a bite. 

My two year old looks me square in the eyes and says, “Okay, Daddy, but I’m going to open mine.”

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I think a lot of us need that mentality when it comes to life, but also when it comes to our money.

American society often tells us that this is how you need to live: 

First you go into ridiculous student loan debt, then you find a meaningless job to pay off the student loans. Make sure that you have a car loan, and then get married, have kids and buy a house that you can’t afford.

Bury what you’re truly passionate about. (You’ll need to put all of your energy into climbing the corporate ladder because you have to pay for all this stuff that you’re now responsible for). 

Don’t worry though, you have plenty of time to do the things that you actually enjoy when you’re 65.

You’ll retire to Florida and sit on a foldable chair, poolside, with no energy and a life that was wasted in a cubicle. 

That’s really why, when Alison said, “Okay, Daddy, but I’m going to open mine,” I could only laugh. 

In my own life, I looked at the way that society told me to do things and I said, “Nah, I’m just gonna do it my way.” 

I don’t care how my parents did it. I don’t care what my old classmates are doing. I’m not interested in how my coworkers are doing it. I’m gonna do life the way that works for me. 

It was interesting to experience that philosophy with my daughter. 

One of the things about my family is that Taylor and I both know what we want and how we want to live.Not only are we clear about that, but we’re also clear on what it’s going to take for us to get to our goals. 

So how do you get to the place of not being financially influenced by what other people are doing, or just by what society as a whole says you need to do?

Need a step-by-step guide to saving more money? 

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Cultivate a spirit of gratitude 

Gratitude is a lot like a muscle: You have to work it, and you have to develop it. 

One thing that I like to do is start the day by listing two or three things that I’m grateful for. It can be anything from health to the car that gets us safely to and from work.

For example, last week, we bought Allison a kid pool– about eight feet wide, and two and a half feet deep. I absolutely love hearing her laugh as she jumps around and plays in this pool.

So, I wrote that down. I love the fact that I get to hear her laugh as a result of that purchase. 

If I was at a friend’s pool, and I started to feel envious, I can look back and reflect on how grateful I am for the little pool in our backyard that brings out laughter that I enjoy for my daughter. 

Now, before you rush out and spend money on some fancy journal, you can do what I do, you can start this habit by using the notes app on your phone. 

To be honest, I actually like this more, because it’s always with me. In those moments where I begin to feel a little “less than,” or envious of what somebody else has, I can instantly refer to my list and think of what I’ve been blessed with. I’ve just loved doing it on my phone.

By doing this, over time, you’ll start to care less about how other people are doing things and what other people have. You’ll become clear about what matters to you, and how you want to do things. 

That’s the key: To be clear on what actually matters to you. 

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Be unapologetic about your core money beliefs 

You have to be absolutely unapologetic about your core beliefs like Alison was with eating that sandwich. 

When it comes to our money and how we do things, we have three core money beliefs that we’re absolutely unapologetic about. 

  • First, we believe that our money is used to honor God. We believe that God has entrusted us with this money to steward and to do well with. At the very top of our spending plan, we designate 10% of our income to be a tithe to our local church. 


  • Second, we believe our money is to prioritize family. This means that we save and invest a huge amount so that one day, we don’t have to spend 40+ hours a week away from each other, trading our precious time for money. This also means that we spend money on family vacations. We spend money on things that enhance our marriage. We spend money on date nights, conferences, books, and more. We also spend money on big family gatherings. So if we have a big family reunion that we need to travel for, we spend it. 


  • Third, we believe our money is to serve other people. This means that we give like crazy when we see needs in our community. An example of that was we recently gave to the Houston Food Bank. Our donation provided meals for over 1,000 families. 


Because we’re clear on what we believe about money and how we believe our money should be used, we can be happy for you that you bought a brand new car or that you bought a huge house. 

Even if we do feel that tug of envy, we can always go back to our core beliefs: that our money is used to honor God, prioritize family and serve others. 

Need a step-by-step guide to saving more money? 

Grab your copy of my free book TODAY!


Start living with those core beliefs as a guide 

If something that we want or dreaming of doesn’t accomplish either one of those, or it gets in the way of us being able to do one of those, then it’s an automatic, super easy “No.” for us. 

You may be wondering now how do you develop a core money belief? How do you get clear on why you make the money choices that you make? 

I think the answer to that question is just by being clear on what you’d like to accomplish with your money. 

Is wearing designer clothes everyday important? Or, would you rather retire early so that you can spend more time with your family? 

Honestly, I can’t make that call for you, you have to make that call for yourself. Just know that every “Yes” to one thing is a “No” to something else.

Saying yes to that $600 a month car payment for seven years, might mean you're saying no to family vacations. Click To Tweet

What are your core money beliefs?

What do you believe money should be used for?

How can you adjust your spending and your lifestyle to match that?

Set a time to sit down with your partner and think through what your core money beliefs are. You can start with the same prompt that we did, which is we believe that money should be used for x,y and z. 

You can start with five to 10 of those declarations. From there, narrow it down to three to five strong core beliefs. 

Then pull that list out every month when you’re creating your spending plan to be sure that your spending aligns with those core money beliefs.

When you’re stuck on a big money decision, like: “Should we buy this house or that house?” Or, “should we buy this car or that car”, you’ll have something to guide you besides emotions.

Being clear on your money beliefs will help you draw that line in the sand and give you permission to say “No, this is the way that we’re going to go instead.”

Have you thought about your core money beliefs?

If you have, head over to our private Facebook group and share how your core beliefs help you achieve your money goals.

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