Budget Decisions: How to Combine Your Heart and Mind


I admire Spock. He can make quick logical and rational decisions without any emotions. When I come to our family budget meeting I try to get my Spock Face on. I can’t let emotions rule our money, because I fear how I would give it all away or spend it all on myself. Numbers are logical, therefore I should be logical. Then I read a book like The Giver and realize that emotions are important, because they keep you from doing crazy immoral things. Basically, I fear two extremes. One extreme follows my mind and the other follows my heart. Both need to rule where the money goes, but how I strike the balance between the two?

Earlier this Summer Daniel and I needed to make a few financial decisions about some trips we were hoping to take this Summer. One practical bucket needed money, but we were also torn about going a fun trip with extended family. We also wanted to go see friends in other states. My mind knew the logical answer was to put money in the practical bucket. But my heart wanted to experience a super fun trip and see friends. Daniel and I both had a difficult time making this decision.

When we are at an impasse we ask ourselves one question:

What is our main goal?

It’s a brilliant question. Logically our money should go to whatever will get us closer to our main goal. This question satisfies my mind. Emotionally I want our goal to happen. This question also satisfies my heart, because the goal was formed by own heart’s desires. Asking myself what is my main goal combines both my mind and my heart when making a budget decision.


In our case of the practical bucket versus super fun trip we asked ourselves, “What is our main goal?” If our main goal was to spend the Summer doing and seeing as much as could, then the answer would clearly be to go on the trips. However we agreed that our main goal is to learn Spanish and do a Digital Tentmaking trip to Spain. We both knew putting the money in the practical bucket would get us closer to Spain. We were finally able to agree on where to put our money.

Telling our family that we couldn’t travel with them wasn’t fun, but it felt good knowing that we are slowly getting closer to our goal.

If you don’t have a family goal or mission statement, then I strongly encourage you to dream together and create one. A lot of decisions can be made by simply answering, “Does this get us closer to our goal?” Kristen Welch has a formula on how to create a family mission statement at her blog We Are That Family. Simple Mom also has a series of questions you can answer with your spouse. If you are the investigator type Holley Gerth recommends the book, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life by Laurie Beth Jones.
Holley Gerth’s books are also great for formulas about goal creation.

Of course, Daniel and I don’t always agree immediately but we do eventually come to an agreement. There is chatter on the internet that money fights are a main cause of divorce or discord in a marriage. Focusing on a main goal brings unity and decreases the heartache of money fights. The next time you and your spouse are at an impasse about a major financial decision you can get back to logic and your heart by talking about your main goal.

Do you have a family mission statement or a goal?

Do you ever feel the tug between your heart and your mind when making major financial decisions?

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Free to Leave or Stay

“God, you are good and you are faithful.” is what I often repeated to myself while I doubted God throughout one oppressive hot Summer in 2012. I wasn’t seeing God provide like He promised in His word even though I asked Him every day to show up. I was scared of foreclosure and I felt […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

3 Ways Kids Learn While Traveling

In my last post I talked about how we packed and worked on our homeschool lessons while traveling. My kids learned more about phonics and adding double digits, but their eyes were opened to a bigger world on our trip. As John Steinbeck says, “People don’t take trips, trips take people.” My little people had […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }

Homeschool While Traveling

We decided to homeschool our kids, because we wanted the flexibility to travel at any time instead of being tied to a typical school calendar. We homeschooled for a year and a half before we took our first trip. In that year and a half I learned about curriculums and my teaching style. My kids […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Packing Part 3: Packing for Guys and Packing Tech

In part 1 of our backpacking series Amanda shared why we like to use backpacks and what we packed for our kids. In Part 2 she shared what she packed for 8 weeks in Europe. Today I’m sharing what I packed for our trip. I have packed light with one bag before, but I figured I’d need more clothing […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Packing Part 2: Packing for Ladies

In part 1 of our backpacking series I shared why we like to use backpacks and how what we packed for our kids. In Part 2 I am sharing what I packed for 8 weeks in Europe. When deciding what to bring I needed to remember that everything I packed needed to fit in a […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }

Packing Part 1: Packing for the Kids

One cold New Year’s Eve night I dragged my large suitcase across snow covered, bricked sidewalks to my bus heading home to Texas from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. The trek is where I realized I had packed way too many things and I was embarrassed to be dragging such a large load. Daniel […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }

Traveling with a Nanny

We pictured ourselves sitting in a living room on a couch. It’s around 8 o’clock at night and the kids have just been put to bed. I’m looking at something on my laptop and Amanda’s reading her Kindle. We mention possibly renting a movie or watching a show on Netflix. This scene is very typical […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }

An Update From Paris!

We have now been traveling as a family plus a nanny for 5 weeks in Europe! We have been sending out personal updates through our Team Espinoza Newsletter over the last few weeks. If you don’t want to miss out on what is happening, then you can sign up for our newsletter here. (Note: This […]

Read full story Comments { 6 }