Real Life Family Finance: A Massage Therapist

Sometimes we find ourselves in family life, struggling to maintain a budget, and think we are the only ones out there dealing with similar issues. I mean, it’s easy to look at the neighbor across the street with the new truck, your best friend who is excited to spend money for the entire bottle of wine EVERY time you go out with her, and even family members that seem to have it all together when it comes to their finances.

The truth is…things aren’t always as they appear…am I correct?

I’ve been really nosey lately, asking questions about people’s financial lives…even some of the uncomfortable ones…so that we can all better understand that we are not the only ones struggling (or succeeding) when it comes to making the right financial decisions for our families, or powering through when times get tough.

It’s my pleasure to have the opportunity to feature Gia today. Gia lives in California with her husband of eighteen years.  He’s a car transport broker and, while Gia is primarily a massage therapist, she can also be found blogging about health and food over on her website, Let’s dive into a massage therapist’s finances! 


One or Two Incomes?


What’s the biggest struggle your family has when it comes to income?

It fluctuates because we are self-employed.

What method do you use to keep track of your budget and why?

My husband is the $$ manager & he’s great at it. He makes the budget & we communicate well to stay on track. 

What is the biggest struggle you are currently having related to your budget?

Saving on a more consistent basis


What percentage of your income do you save each month?


Would you consider your emergency savings to be able to cover one major emergency, or to be of long-term assistance if, for example, you were to lose your income?

Yes. Emergency fund for six months to cover income loss. Medical? I don’t know…probably not. That adds up fast and it’s hard to predict.

Do you have special savings or “funds” set aside for vacations and/or other big purchases your family plans to make in the future?

No. We make allowances for those things that end up coming out of our monthly savings amount.

What is ONE of those funds you know you couldn’t live without? (or if you don’t have one – what is one you could see your family creating?)

Retirement. I worry about that one.


Do you have debt that you are actively working to pay off?


Anything else you’d like to include about debt, as it relates to you and your family?

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University helped us see the value of being debt free. Other than a few hundred bucks on the credit card for gas purchases — that we pay off monthly, we are debt free.


Have you made short and/or long-term goals that you and your family are working toward? If so, will you share one or two of those goals and the steps you are taking to reach them?

Create another stream of income through a new business. 

How did you come up with those specific goals?

We need to fund our retirement plans & our current income isn’t enough.


What is the biggest success you have had to-date when it comes to your finances?

Being debt free and living within our means – happily. 

Do you have other successes you’d like to share related to your finances?

Having a well-cushioned emergency fund.


What is the biggest struggle you have had related to your family finances over the past year?

A decline in business for a short while which meant less income for a few months.

If you could pinpoint one major failure you’ve had in your finances over your adult life, what would it be?

Personally, I’ve always been a spender. I lose track quickly and spend more than I should. My husband helps me with that now. If I have cash, it doesn’t last long which means I have to ask him for more. He helps me slow down and control the spending.

Have you overcome that failure or is it something you are still working on? (Explain how.)

Still working on it. I can’t go shopping and just buy one blouse. Having the credit card is tempting to just get everything. Communication helps & my husband helps me be more reasonable.


If you could go back and tell your young adult self how to handle finances differently in the future, what is the one thing you would most like to share?

Don’t buy all the clothes. Half of them will go unworn, & the rest will shrink in the wash! Value your money more. Spend wisely. 

What is one topic you wish you knew more about, related to budgeting or family finance?

I never learned budgeting or finance from my parents. As hard as they worked, they burned through money trying to give us kids the life they never had. Clothes, cars, excess. I wish I had boundaries when it came to spending and saving. I’m still unsure what an appropriate gift value should be…like for a birthday.

If you could share one piece of financial advice with those reading today, what would that be?

Money will slip through your fingers if you don’t direct it intentionally. Spend. Save. Gift. But do it with forethought and planning. Don’t allow ‘spur of the moment’ splurges to be an all-the-time thing.

Anything I didn’t cover that you think should be included in this feature?

Beware of advertising & the very many “appeals” they make. To emotion, hunger, love, pride…those things are powerful motivators that part people from their $$ with alluring lines like “you deserve it.” I’d love to see that addressed.

I absolutely love that Gia talks about her issues with spending. I am much the same way and it’s hard to get a grip on if you don’t have someone else holding you accountable. Thank you, Gia, for giving us such a transparent look at a massage therapist’s finances! If you’d like the opportunity to connect with Gia further, you can do so by checking out her blog,, or following her on Twitter.

Additional Resources:

FREE Weekly Expenses Worksheet – Download Yours Now!

Eliminating Debt for Good: In 7 (Not Always) Easy Steps

How to Implement a Budget & Achieve Your Goals

How to Make Goals for Financial Success

What Happens When You Fail in Your No Spend Month