Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Dear Smart Money People,

I am a big fan of always learning and growing. When I have a problem, I immediately turn to a book, blog post, YouTube, Google, a friend. You get the point. I rarely rely on my current level of expertise to get me through a struggle. Clearly that is the reason for the struggle in my life in the first place.

Let’s say I am having a communication issue with my husband, a homework problem with my child, a roadblock at work on a particular project, etc.

That is where I start. However, until you can clearly define what you are trying to solve you can spend a lot of time and energy and get nowhere.

Problem I needed to solve: More money in the grocery budget.

This began as a communication issue with my husband. I do all the grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking in our home. I truly love it and it brings me great joy. I like to try new recipes and have healthy options on hand at all times. Not that it works out that way all the time, but that is the goal.

One day it occurred to me that the grocery budget was to restrictive. I was spending right to the penny the amount I had to grocery shop. I was getting more and more frustrated. The story in my head was it was my husband’s fault that it was so hard to grocery shop and I had not had a raise in YEARS despite the fact that the cost of food had gone up significantly.

Week after week I would go to the store and be mad and frustrated. I didn’t feel like I had what I needed. One day I was looking through some podcasts and found one that talked about revisiting the budget on a regular basis. Hit PLAY. I felt like the guy on the podcast was in my head, my house and my marriage. The SAME thing took place in his life. His wife was frustrated at a budget item that had not seen any movement in years. They had a sit down and talked about what she was feeling and what she felt she needed and wa-la, they revised the budget. He gave tips to have the conversation.

Here is what he said, and what I did:

  1. Know what you want the outcome to be. For me it was more money in the grocery budget.
  2. Be specific. I wanted $25 more a week.
  3. Take the emotion out of it. The reason I wanted the raise was we could afford it, it would alleviate the stress and frustration I felt while shopping.
  4. Own my story. I owned that I am a bit of an impulse buyer at times. If there is a sale item, I cannot resist. That I had to own.
  5. Have a plan. Decide a calm time to talk and have a discussion.

On a Friday night, the week that I had listened to the podcast, I brought up the subject. It went like this “Babe, I have been struggling with the grocery budget. I spend to the limit each time and that prohibits me from being able to expand my cooking repertoire. The cost of groceries has gone up and the budget has been the same for the last 5 years.” Before I could go on, he said, “How much more do you think you need? $25 a week?”


I had worked myself up so much about the grocery budget that it became a huge deal in my head that was going to end up in a knock down drag out fight. However, having sought advice, perspective and seeking a reasonable approach to the problem, it ended peacefully and with the desired results!! Mo money in mamma’s grocery budget!!

What’s the point?

When we come to a crossroad in our life, a problem, a situation that is not serving us well, it is super important to be clear on what you are trying to solve. Then it is important to seek out different ways to go about solving the problem. Some will be easier than others.

As Marie Forleo says “It’s all Figuraoutable.”

You just have to put in some time and do the work. I promise you will be happier with the outcome if you do.

I hope you have an amazing day!

Much love,

Karen & Bill

One thought on “Got problems? Here’s how to solve them”

  1. Great advice! We often make problems worse in our mind when we delay addressing them. I’m always amazed at the pain and frustration we subject ourselves to simply because we don’t want to rip off the band aid that we put in place.

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