Renting

Dining room

I’ve been getting some emails about our journey to debt freedom and our living situation.

Timeline 2010-2011 housingClick on photo for larger view.

This timeline is the actual progression of things over the last 15 months (I say 15 months because the sale of our home was a few month progression to offer/agreement/closing).

Looking back would I do it all over again?

Yes

However I would do a few things differently. Perhaps instead of finding an interim apartment (originally for 4 months while the house we were building was completed) I’d find something I was comfortable being in long-term. If there’s one thing we’ve proven the past year it’s that Anything Can Happen.

I’d probably save myself a lot of heartache and just not try to buy another house, no matter how ON SALE it is, for a good year. Anything Can Happen, Yes – but we don’t always have to be rushing to the next hitching post.

We could have paid off our car instead of trying to buy the first house that didn’t work out. We stalled and waited and then tried to buy ANOTHER house.

We were knocking out our debt but we could have been here 4 months faster if we just stopped and followed through. Ever since we got married it feels like we’ve been on a fast track to better. Better what? I couldn’t even tell you. I had this image of what life was supposed to be like, unfortunately it mirrored the image of where my parents were at age 50 – successful in their careers, no mortgages or payments … who could easily go on vacation or spend thousands on a purchase with a check … because they worked hard, saved and built their financial security with diligence. Not frivolous risks.

We were poor when I was younger but I never knew it. We didn’t live poorly even though we couldn’t afford things. And really, I didn’t know any different.

I love getting emails from readers who say I’ve inspired them to work hard at their own debt-free plans or just to change one small thing about money in their lives. I love having these conversations: I love money. But not in an idyllic sort of way. I’m enamored with the math of it.

I’m a geek. And it’s just money, after all.

We’re still on a path to building a future and we’re doing well. I’ve had to confront my expectations on this issue so often. Life isn’t a rear view mirror.

We’ve come so far in such a short amount of time (read about it here) that I have this idea that we’ll get to the end EVEN FASTER!

When really – I don’t ever want to get to the end. How boring does that sound? I want to get to a place where I feel like there isn’t an end coming. You know? And that’s not financially. Just in general. I’d like to find a place to be present in my today and willing to cope with my tomorrows.

So! I’m a geeky numbers gal who loves a budget and a savings plan. Compounding interest is by far the most fun thing to play with. Ever.

Seriously – if all you do (and you’re close to 30, + or -) is set aside $200 a month in an account that on average (over a 10 year period) yields 12% (which is not astronomical or a myth) you’ll have over 7 million dollars by retirement age.

The math geek in me jumps around at that equation. COME ON! It’s stupid not to think like that. $200 a month? For most people that’s less than only one of their car payments. Not even a months worth of groceries. Day care? $200 a month isn’t hard to find when you look for it.

Ok, one more thing and then we can move on. And we are moving on!! I have stuff to show you!

I’m not a couponer and have a decent grocery budget – we eat out often, pay for a babysitter weekly (or more) and enjoy dating each other. Our entertainment budget is large. I have no qualms about it. But I make up for it in other areas:

Literally, I don’t shop. I do not go shopping. Groceries it is for me! The occasional pair of shoes for the kids or thrifting for a need (shorts, jeans) but for myself – for the house? I have patience. I don’t impulse buy, and I used to all the time.

I browse the aisle of the side of the road, behind industrial shipping agencies and yes, have dumpster dived behind popular retailers. Craigslist is my favorite “box store” because what can’t you get there?

When I do buy new I price shop first but don’t feel bad when I find out I haven’t gotten the best deal on the item. Gas costs money too. I DIY everything I can and I allow myself to make mistakes and try again. It’s still less costly than quickly filling a “need” which usually ends up to be a “want”.

Your turn:
If you were going to change one thing about your life – financial or not – what would it be?

Food and Money

We spend the most money on food. It’s kind of embarrassing.

So we’re out of our allotted food budget and pay day is still far away – we don’t have a fully stocked freezer of meat and I’m low on almost everything else.

Dinner tonight is kind of a mayhem mishap that smells delicious so far.

DSC_2759

Here’s what we did:

I have a pound of breakfast sausage, onions, garlic, rice and eggs. We also have some jalepeno poppers in the fridge gifted to us by my mom – so we’ll throw those in the oven too.

I made 1 C of rice with some basil, curry and a bit of EVOO.

I’ll fry the onions in the leftover bacon grease and some extra butter, roast some of the garlic, fry the other with the onions and when they’re translucent I’ll add the sausage.

When the sausage is browned I’ll remove from heat and set aside. Fry up some eggs sunny side up and layer like …

Rice
Sausage, onions, garlic.
Egg

Roasted garlic and jalepeno poppers on the side. We can add a green salad as well if needed.

Onions

I spent $0 on dinner and we’ll have left overs for breakfast (the sausage). I incorporated garlic which I’m trying to do in every way possible right now because I’m battling a yeast overgrowth in my stomach. Which is why my eye’s aren’t getting any better and my sinuses are on strike.

Healthy for our wallets and our bellies! How do you guys do it? Last minute panic that you have dinner in an hour and nothing in the fridge? Or you’re just TIRED? Oh my word, that’s such a battle.