- Oooh I want to know how you paid off $20,000 in 8 months on one income? Thanks for the inspiration!
Well, Barry and I decided that since our lives are spent teaching others how to save money and how to live on less than they make, it seemed really silly for us to still be in debt. So, with $20,000 left on our home mortgage, we decided to kick it to the curb…..for good. We cut our budget to the bare bones – we didn’t take a summer vacation and we got rid of some unnecessary bills (land line phone, etc.). We figured out through numbers that it would take us about 10 months to get it done. We prayed for God to bless our efforts….and we went to work. Barry took any extra work he could find – he did some construction work on the side, he taught budgeting classes, he designed some websites, and a few other things. I taught tons of workshops and was given several very nice donations which went straight to the house. Any extra money that I could squeeze out of my monthly budget was saved at the end of the month and added to the mortgage’s principal balance. And sure enough, God in his grace blessed our efforts. We finished paying it off in 8 months instead of 10! Funny story….about $1,800 of the money came from a hail storm that damaged Barry’s truck. The insurance company “totaled” it and gave him that cash toward a new vehicle…..we don’t have issues driving a little bit of a dented truck when we have a paid off house…..so the money went to the house instead of a new car. That was our priority – and plus, I think it gives the truck some nice, country character. Don’t you? When we’re ready for a new truck, we’ll pay cash using the money we’re now setting aside.
- What ‘budget’ system do you recommend? Also, I want to do the envelope system but need help getting started. Tips?
We use a cash system for our budget. I love it! The envelope system that I use is the one from Dave Ramsey’s store, but I’ve seen really cute ones all over Etsy. I’m giving away our old one to a reader, so make sure you check out the giveaway at the end of this post!
If you want to know exactly how we do our budget, make sure to sign up to get Barry’s free budgeting eBook on the right of the screen.
Tips on getting started….
- Make a budget for the first month – it won’t work. Try again. You’ll need about three months for it to start clicking. Be persistent.
- If you’re worried about using cash for all expenses, start with one category first – like groceries. Learn from that and then expand.
- Take your budget envelopes with you everywhere. This might be hard to learn…..but they need to become a part of you so that you don’t accidentally end up somewhere without money. I even take mine camping in the woods……but I’m weird like that.
- I don’t understand how it saves money to go to different stores for different products. It seems time consuming and difficult. It feels like it would make me spend extra on unneeded stuff. I enjoy your blog and I am intrigued with the way you live frugally. But haven’t figured it out yet, even though we are trying to get debt free.
Excellent question Mary! You know, before Annie was born, I would hit about 6 stores all in one day – trying to get the best deals. I’d spend all day driving all over town to do it – and I’d be exhausted at the end. Now, I don’t have the time or opportunity to do so….and I’ll be honest – it’s not worth it to drag a 2 year old all over town while she has a mental breakdown after the second store and I worry that the cashier is going to call social services. I’d rather shell out a couple extra dollars here and there at ONE store. So, I try to just hit one store per week, if I’m going shopping. I check the ads, and whoever has the best deals going on, that’s where I go. Now sometimes there might be two stores that have deals I can’t pass up – then usually I’ll send Barry to one after he gets off work. It is VERY time consuming to hit lots of stores….but it’s worth it to some people – just not me anymore. Instead I find that buying in bulk means that I have to shop less often. I’ve also found great deals by shopping online which means I never have to leave the house. So, for you I would say that maybe you should scan the ads and see who has the best deals. Go to that store to get those deals and the other things you need for the week…yes, it might be a bit more for a few things, but the savings from the deals should make up for it. If something is SUPER expensive at that store, then wait until next week for another trip. Check out Deal Seeking Mom to keep up to date on online deals.
I think you’re on the road to being frugal. Living on a budget is a great way to start! Some people are fooled into thinking that being frugal is in your DNA – something you just do. I’m here to tell you that being frugal is a LEARNED HABIT. If you want to be frugal, you can teach yourself. Start today. Pick one thing and go from there. Please let me know if I can help you.
For all the posts in this series, see links below: