How Do They Do That: DINKS

To our new readers: We like to take a weekly trip into the land of others and learn just how they make life happen! Have you ever caught yourself asking ‘How do they do that’? It’s not a matter of comparing ourselves to the Joneses, it’s the willingness to seek knowledge and understanding so, you too, can make the choice whether or not you’re willing to do that. What trade-offs are you willing to make?

Meet Brian and Cecile! You’re gonna love this!

How Do They Do That: DINKS (Dual Income, No Kids)

Hi guys. I wanted to send an email with how we do it. Many people believe that our generation can’t have the things we have at our age, but we have made sacrifices to be able to do so. Here is a short summary about us:

Brian is a 29 year old Army veteran and Safety Engineer, and Cecile is a 25 year old service industry employee who is going back to school for a secondary education degree. We have a 4 bedroom 2 bath 1800 sq./ft. house in a suburb of Reno, Nevada. When we met we combined finances and paid off over $50,000 in debt and financed a wedding and a cross country move. We are DINKS (Dual Income, No Kids), but we do have three fur-babies Jackson, Sidney, and Layla.


1) What about retirement? Are you saving?

My husband is contributing 13.75% matched to a 401k type state run plan. I have a tiny ROTH IRA and plan to contribute more after graduation. We have $32,000 in another 401k

2) How often do you vacation? Where does the money come from?

We have been together five years and never had a true vacation. We normally travel across the country to visit our respective families in Louisiana and Pennsylvania once a year or so. We probably won’t go on a non-family related vacation until I’ve graduated from college.

3) Are you planning for college?

We are not planning on having kids so we are not planning on their college, instead we are planning on mine!

4) Do you have a car payment?

Due to a wreck that totaled a vehicle three days after we closed on our house (and put down a huge down payment) we have a truck note. We are paying $500 a month to get it paid off as quickly as possible.

5) Are you house poor? What’s that mortgage/rent like?

Luckily we are not. Our mortgage is $1218 a month, but we pay $1300. Every little bit helps!

6) How do you fund Christmas?

We have three fur babies so bones and treats are the normal Christmas things around here. We do have 6 nieces and nephews under 6! We send them Christmas gifts and cash flow it. As a couple we only exchange stockings.

How Do They Do That: DINKS

7) Let’s talk home improvements?

We have had to make few home improvements. Most of them were cosmetic such as painting and we cash flowed that. We did spend over $1000 on starting a large garden. In the years to come we will just pay for plants/seeds. We are hoping in a few years it will be paying for itself.

How Do They Do That: DINKS

We also built in bookshelves onto our office walls. It cost us a little over $500 and was worth every penny.

How Do They Do That: DINKS

How Do They Do That: DINKS

8) Do you save for school clothes?

Right now we are saving to fund me going back to school, and the cut in pay that will come with that. Our money will be the tightest it has ever been! Somewhat related would be the cost of three dogs. We are always saving for vet bills, medication, food, treats, etc. All in all though we would bet they are cheaper than kids.

9) Do you deal with college debt?

Fortunately we were able to pay that off before any other large purchases were made (i.e. house, truck, etc.) My hubby joined the Army to pay for college and had to take out minimal student loans something like $24,000 or so it was paid off in 2014.

10) Is your emergency fund where it should be?

Not at all. Right now we are working on paying off a medical bill from 2013, a truck note, and a small credit card balance. The note and credit card balance were all incurred after a bizarre series of events caused us to use almost all of our savings.

11) Do you carry credit card debt?

Right now we have about $3900 in credit card debt on a 0% interest credit card. We will try very hard to pay that off before the interest kicks in. We do not normally carry credit card debt.

12) How often do you eat out?

We used to eat out very regularly, but since moving in our own home that has decreased dramatically. We probably eat out once a week, and each grab a coffee or two throughout the week as well.

13) Do you mow your own lawn and clean your own house?

Yes and yes! For a very short while we had a weekly house cleaning service. I was willing to keep them while I was working an insane number of hours, but they just plain didn’t clean as well as I did. NOT worth the money.

How Do They Do That: DINKS

14) Name a Frugal Fail?

Buying our truck. It was a rash decision made shortly after purchasing the house, getting in a wreck, and having a few other family emergencies come up. I LOVE our truck though, but I’m sure we could have found something just as nice for a little less.

15) Your Question: Do you get an allowance?

Right now we each get $50 a month of “no questions asked money”. Any household purchases over $200 are a discussion for sure.


Thank you for sharing, Brian and Cecile! It’s super encouraging to know there are young couples out there who are determined to make excellent financial choices and a great future for themselves! Your garden is awesome and those bookshelves … WOW! I’m thinking Jackson, Sidney, and Layla have outstanding parents!

How do YOU do that?! Inquiring minds want to know about the choices you make.

I want to hear from YOU! Yes, you reading this right now. You don’t even have to be a blogger to share. Just do it!

Brave souls, willing to bare it all, click below:


How Do They Do That: It’s Your Turn!


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16 comments… add one
  • kay ~ May 27, 2015, 8:53 am

    Super interview, Jayleen! They seem like a level-headed couple with a great future ahead of them. If they someday do decide to have kids, they’ll be way better prepared than a lot of us were! 🙂

    • Cecile May 27, 2015, 6:36 pm

      Thanks for the compliment Kay. I enjoyed reading your post on dual purpose dish detergent. Brilliant!

    • Cecile May 27, 2015, 6:39 pm

      Thanks for the compliment Kay. I enjoyed reading your post on dual purpose dish detergent. Brilliant!

      We were contributing much more to retirement before we decided it was time for me to go back to school. The 13.75% is mandated through his job. We cant lower it, but its nice that they force us to save that much.

      Good for you Becca. I am a fan of socialized medicine. I know most aren’t. I have paid medical bills in the $1000’s in my adult lifetime of 9 years. In the past four years we have only had a two month lapse in medical coverage and OF COURSE that required a hospital stay. Still paying that bill 🙁

    • How Do The Jones Do It May 27, 2015, 8:47 pm

      I agree, Kay! They have made sound decisions and are on the right path. Plus, they’re just a cute young couple!

  • Christina @ Embracing Simple May 27, 2015, 9:11 am

    Sounds like you guys are really contributing a nice amount to retirement, that’s awesome! And your fur babies definitely do sound less expensive than kids, hah.

  • Becca May 27, 2015, 5:25 pm

    Yeah, I live in a country with socialised medicine and generous family benefits – but only for the non-fur variety of babies. My kids are definitely cheaper than your dogs! They probably slobber about the same amount . . . .

  • Shelley May 28, 2015, 5:50 am

    I really enjoy reading these, Jayleen! It’s like you’re giving me permission to be snoopy! 🙂

    • How Do The Jones Do It May 28, 2015, 8:37 am

      I’m glad you’re enjoying this series, Shelley! I like to call it ‘curious’ … LOL! It is always so interesting to learn how others make life happen!

  • Kristina-Cents and Order May 28, 2015, 9:53 am

    It’s interesting to see a perspective of someone without kids and how they allocate their financial priorities. My hubby is using his G.I. Bill to get his college degree too-it’s a wonderful benefit for those who have served.

    • How Do The Jones Do It May 28, 2015, 10:30 am

      The G.I. Bill is awesome! My hubby used it to finish his degree too.

      • SavvyJames May 28, 2015, 11:55 am

        Indeed. I was able to complete work on my undergraduate and graduate degrees on the G.I. Bill and finish most of the work on a second graduate degree with the Post-911 G.I. Bill. Unfortunately, too many veterans do not take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

  • SavvyJames May 28, 2015, 11:51 am

    As an Army veteran myself, it is great to read the story of another veteran and his spouse getting their financial house in order. Thanks for sharing their story, Jayleen.

    • How Do The Jones Do It May 28, 2015, 3:59 pm

      Thank you James! It is always great to take a peek into the financial lives of others. There is so much to learn!

  • Michael Mota @ NTPNW Aug 11, 2015, 4:56 pm

    Brian and Cecile I commend you both for the great financial strides your making today. For sure it will pay off in your near future. If only I had been this smart when I was younger things truly would be different today.
    P.S. Love your dogs, there awesome!!

  • Nicole @ House of Hermens Apr 6, 2016, 8:05 am

    Wow! This is a great interview! I wish my husband and I were like this couple back when we were DINKs. We wasted so much money and are now scrambling to play catch-up financially. Brian and Cecil… you guys are doing it right! If you choose to have children, you will be all set. You are also going to be a lot more flexible if you want to change careers, go on vacation, start a small business…anything! Life is yours for the taking when you are this smart when you start out!

    • How Do The Jones Do It Apr 7, 2016, 9:53 am

      I agree! They are totally doing it right! It’s refreshing to see a young couple understand their finances and take control!

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