Real Life Family Finance: An Account Analyst

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 Andrea Joy today. Andrea lives in Ohio with her husband of 12 years. He works as an HVAC Warehouse Manager and although Andrea works primarily as an Account Analyst in Medical Billing, she can also be found blogging about all things money related over on her website, Saving Joyfully.

Tip: Need help getting your budget started? Grab this FREE Family Budget Workbook!


One or Two Incomes? 


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

Saving money and paying down debt

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

We use a hand-written budget because it is how we have done it since we got married. It makes it easy to make copies and save it on the computer so we can both access it.


What percentage of your income do you save each month?


Do you have an emergency savings account?

Yes. I always use the 52-week money challenge you can find on Pinterest to save money every year.

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?

Probably just one major expense but it is growing all the time so hopefully it will be able to cover more soon.

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

The 52-week money challenge helps me build up savings every year but typically funds a vacation for us as well every year.

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?)

Vacation fund – we love to travel


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


How soon do you anticipate being out of debt?

In less than five years

What is your current strategy (if any) for debt elimination? 

Debt snowball method


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?

Our long-term goal is total debt elimination and running my blog as a full-time job and finally doing what I love.

How did you come up with those specific goals?

I have been working on eliminating my debt for years and because of this journey I started


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

Paying off a few major credit cards and two major surgeries I have had. 

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

Finally having a savings account and working on total debt elimination at this point. It is not an easy job but I know that I will get there eventually.


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

We had to purchase a new vehicle.

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

Accumulating too much debt and being unable to pay it down quickly.

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

I am still actively working on it every day.


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?

Do not sign up for and use credit cards unless you can pay them in full.

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


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

Be cautious with credit and make sure that you understand how credit cards work before using them.

I’m so thankful for Andrea’s willingness to share her financial story with us today. It’s obvious that debt has played a huge role in her life (and the lives of many others) and I hope her caution to stay away from debt will stick in the back of your head going forward. If you’d like to connect with Andrea, you can do so by checking out her blog, Saving Joyfully, or by following her on Twitter

Tip: Need help getting your budget started? Grab this FREE Family Budget Workbook!