Today is our 5-year wedding anniversary, but Finn and I have actually been together for over 15 years. That’s almost half my life…which is bonkers to me. I will say that we’ve definitely lived our vows in the past few years…”for better or for worse, in sickness and in health”…we have stuck together through the good days and the bad. I love this man so damn much and he does so much for our family.
Every year, we stick to the traditional gifts for our anniversary. You can check out year one, two, three, and four here if you need some wedding anniversary gift ideas! The traditional gift for year five is wood and we decided that doing our wood wall DIY in the bathroom together counted as our gift to one another. Ha! Marriage is super glamorous, isn’t it?!
Ask Finn Anything!
In honor of our anniversary, I wanted Finn to share a bit more about himself here on the blog. You guys are used to our “Ask Casey” posts, but this time we’re doing a round of “Ask Finn”. I asked for your questions on Instagram stories and we received tons of amazing ones. Finn chose a few of his faves to answer here on the blog. The rest we’ll try to tackle on Instagram stories later today!
So hubby…take it away!
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
What do you think makes you and Casey a great team, both in marriage and with the Playbook?
The main thing we do is support each other in everything we do. I always feel her support behind me whether things are going well, or if I am struggling. She trusts and supports me in all my decisions and gives me the freedom to be myself. I would like to think that I do the same for her. I know I support and trust her every day and I hope she feels that same constant love behind her.
We both have our flaws and our limitations and what I love is that these things seem to offset each other when we work (and live) together. We both have invested our full selves into our relationship and if I were giving advice to others, I would say until you do this, you can not truly support the other person day in and day out. If you find the right person and make this dual commitment, the rewards and joy greatly outweigh the added effort and required unselfishness.
Home Renovation Troubles
Did you have any conflict with your contractors during your renovation? It seemed seamless!
I think anytime you have a project with an aggressive timeline, a loose budget (at best!), and so much unknown…there are bound to be hiccups. The main thing for me was trust and respect. Right away, I had both with our contractor, so I was able to treat this as a professional business transaction.
There are so many horror stories and terrible examples of contractors not being reliant or trustworthy and I was able to move past that from the start. As you know, we had some major challenges along the way (still missing that $25k right about now), and this provided some moments of “direct discussion.” At the end of the day, these were due to a lack of clarity and the issues were quickly resolved. Casey found it best to be the “good cop”, while I took the “bad cop” role with our contractor.
There are always going to be these speed bumps, but you need to be direct and open about the status of the project and the work. Most of the time, even the best contractor will be forced to make a lot of decisions throughout the day as projects progress and if you do not agree or feel you are being treated unfairly, then you need to speak up! When it comes to pricing and costs, research ahead of time and give yourself mental benchmarks for each task. Eventually, you will come to see if the individual is fair and the prices are solid, or if they’re constantly overstated or fluctuating greatly. Casey shared more tips on surviving a home renovation in this post if you’re about to start a big project.
Workin’ 9 to 5
What is your day job?
I am a Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Manager for a data security company here in Chicago. While that is a super exciting title (NOT!!), the role itself is actually very rewarding. I have a focus on corporate strategy and analytics, therefore I am constantly working with the management teams to better define their business performance and assist in future decision making. I am also involved with building our reporting and data framework, and as you can see from a lot of the projects we do, any excuse I can find to use Excel – I will!
Tackling your Finances
Any suggestions for paying off student debt?
Be conscious of it, but do not stress to pay it off as soon as you can. Remember to enjoy your early adult life as there are so many external opportunities and potential life-changing moments out there. Don’t waste all of your time indoors eating ramen and squeezing life for one extra month of student loan payments.
One of the biggest challenges with student debt is how unique the situation is to you. It is dependent on your family background, the school you chose, and what career you are choosing to pursue. My advice is to never let student debt change your decision making on a job or life path. If the school or career path is the best fit for you, then you should pursue it!
Paying off student debt is not the same as a credit card or other high-interest loan (pay those off as quickly as possible!), especially since you have them at such a young age. Of course, you want to pay them all on time and be free of the burden, but I would not pay them off early unless it is truly the right decision for you. Making these payments on time creates a valuable credit history and if you believe in yourself, then you should have a growing future income to help pay these future payments.
What’s it like being married to a blogger? Did you ever realize your life would be so public?
Of course, I had no idea what this was when she started almost seven years ago. All I knew was it began with me giving up a Saturday to reupholster a dining room chair and it would take me four years before I really knew what a “pilot hole” was… but here we are!
The most surprising thing to me is how much I enjoy these projects and how much I want to keep doing them. It is such a wonderful opportunity to learn and get immediate satisfaction. If you told me before all of this started that people all over the world would know about my life and that my wife would have all these internet comments and readers, I would have warned her how mean and evil the internet can be (mainly to protect my sensitive soul – she can take it!).
But this network of readers and friends has been beyond supportive and the collective weight of kindness has helped us through so many tough moments and life challenges. Being open about these things comes naturally to us both and it has helped me get over some initial anxiety and social fears, so I am all for it! I love sharing our lives and our relationship with everyone and being able to support Casey in this endeavor has been a blessing for me.
First Steps of a DIY Projects
How do you first approach renovating a space without getting overwhelmed or confused?
The number one thing is preparation and planning. Thinking through all the steps to make sure you are not overlooking a final “gotcha” is key. If it is a major project, investing time in researching the costs, safety concerns, and proper mechanics are critical for you to stay on track. Once you spend time learning and planning, you feel much more confident in the upcoming project (especially if you are a beginner!).
We typically take an hour or two to chat through our vision for a project. We’ll take measurements, look up inspiration, and really flesh out the plan. This is also where we make a lot of compromises and get on the same page as to what we want the final outcome to be. We discuss the budget, the schedule (and often block off days to get the work done right then and there!), and figure out what we need to research before we can actually begin. While we’d love to just dive into a project, it’s always 100x better if we take a separate day to hash everything out.
You are such a cute couple. What’s the best part about being married to Casey?
The best thing about being married to Casey is that she is always laughing and never in a bad mood, even from the moment she wakes up! She always laughs with me on every stupid little thing and does not hold herself back from being goofy and fun when we are together. Even more important than her levelheaded mood is that she does not judge me for my wildly swinging emotions (I can get quite HANGRY!) She is a pure joy to be around and just trying to keep up with her ambition every day has made me such a better person and a better man.
Also, she is like a furnace and is always warm so it’s really beneficial in the winter, considering I have feet like ice!
Answering More on Instagram
If your question wasn’t answered, don’t fret! Finn will be answering more of your questions on Instagram stories later today. Be sure to head over there for all of the scoop.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.