Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Living Frugally Thus Strangely!

I know I am really behind in blogs here, but in my defense we have had multiple computer failures and my computer time has been nearly non-existant.  But, I am back and ready to update.

We have had quite a few months here in our house.  I am still working my way through the bible.  I have finished Isaiah and have almost comleted Jeremiah but I will have to blog that later as I have some frugal things to discuss this time.  Some years back, we made the decision and took the steps to begin living a debt free life together and to pass that on to our kids.  We counted back and discovered we have not touched a credit card in almost 3 years and have never looked back!  EVER!  This meant huge changes.  We were not wasteful spenders to begin with but we didn't think twice about eating out or getting hair cuts.  I didn't worry too much about exactly what we were buying at the grocery store or even throwing food away.  That is naming just a few.  We began studying Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  It was, without a doubt, the smartest thing we have ever done.  We began building an emergency fund and paying off our debts.  Dave's baby steps lead you to be prepared in an emergency with simple steps.  His theory proved itself 5 times over in the last 6 weeks.  Yes, I said 5.  Baby step 1 guides you to save a $1,000 emergency fund.  This is for EMERGENCIES!  Cars, air, septics, falling trees, broken pools, you know, things that don't happen very often.  Unless your last name is Sawyer!!!!  They all happened to us since September!  We had to cut down some trees that had large holes in them and were hanging over our house and screen room.  LARGE trees requiring special equipment and climbing.  $1200.  In the same week our air and septic tank broke.  Combo of $500.  The salt cell in our pool went out leading to the possiblilty of destroying our whole system.  $1200.  We thought we were on the mend when Mike's clutch went on his car after 7 years.  That was a whopping $1400.  Had this been a year ago, we would have both had heart attacks and would not only have been left without being able to pay for it all, but would have had medical bills to boot!  Complete credit goes to our planning and work we have done through our pal Dave!  Because we have worked on having no debt, cutting back expenses in ways most people we know have never thought of, and saved, saved, and found more ways of saving, we came out the other side of what could have been a complete and total disaster...VIRTUALLY uscathed!  Mike has even parted ways with his most prized collections of...well...stuff, so we could sell it along with things we do not need or use anymore, just to squeeze out some more saving!  Which leads me to...

Our home's collective changes.  We have taught our kids, mainly the 6 year old as the 1 year old has little say, that shopping at thrift stores brings on bigger and better treasures, that waiting patiently means getting a better deal, therefore saving money for something else later, and how to spend, save and give our money.  She earns money and divides it up.  She also helps me with planning our meals and couponing.  She has been studying Dave Ramsey in Homeschool in his JUNIOR set.  She puts it into practice with some amazing tools!  We eat out only when we have saved to do so.  We budget every litlle action in and we try to never, ever make impulse purchases.  We do not "deserve" a Starbucks.  But one day, we will have saved enough money to have Starbucks money anytime we want it.  It is not something that is within our means right now except on the occasional meeting or when friends are kind enough to give you their packages of coffee that include a coupon for a free one!  (You know who you are;) )  Living within our means has taken some sacrifice, planning and even crazy looks from people who think us cheap, crazy, and weird!  And to those, I say, WE ARE!!  And proud of it.  Mike works 7 days a week every single week with the exception of days he takes vacation pay for or there is a holiday that would account for missing hours.  It is always a loss of either time or money to get a day with him.  ALWAYS!  One day, we will call the Dave Ramsey Show and scream at the top of our lungs, "We're debt freeeeeeee!!!"  Heck, we may even fly up to his office and stand in the lobby and scream it!  We have 2 rental properties, my car, and a medical bill and then its our turn.  What freedom.  What liberation! 

I wrote an article on tips for things to do that are simple ways to start helping to save money in your home.  I have practiced and planned, failed and started over many times.  One thing we will not so is give up!

Oh the many moments...
-An entire day with Mike and the girls at Universal where I got to see Wizarding World for the first time.
-Magic Kingdom with my girls and I walking around and just plain having fun. 
-An unexpected trip with some of our closes friends to Universal.  The best part is their willingness to keep me company in my sometimes lonliness missing my husband! (Mitchell's you rock!)
-Watching our little family change and see our desire to help others. 
-Helping a ton in a situation where we didn't have to, expecting and receiving nothing and being glad to walk away unnoticed.

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