I have been reading a lot..and I mean A LOT, of Mr. Money Mustache’s Blog lately. I am intrigued by his lifestyle and though I am in no rush to retire – I’ve finally started my career job doing something I love – I am ready to stop paying for money spent in the past.
I can’t really complain because we have been living rather “luxuriously” on mostly one income for the past 5 years, complete with: 2 cars (albeit they aren’t anywhere near new), an upgrade from a $150,000 1200 sq. ft. 1920’s fixer upper to a $300,000 10 year old 2200 sq. ft. house with a huge – by city standards – lot size, rather new appliances, a couple of Apple products, cable tv, designer clothing, and a part-time Montessori education for our oldest son. All of these were choices we made based on the happiness having such things provided us with. Long story short, we acquired $64,000 in debt along the way. Believe it or not, we made plenty of tradeoffs. I cannot imagine what our debt load would look like if we had taken the alternative route. Some of these tradeoffs included:
- Having older vehicles, each under $5000
- Spending 3 years renovating our 1920’s fixer-upper in the evenings and weekends – gutting completely and rebuilding it ourselves with much blood, sweat, and tears and plenty of knowledge gained. We did everything with the exception of mudding and taping, tying everything into the electrical panel and hooking up to the natural gas line.
- Furnishing this old house with mostly hand me downs until they broke or no longer served our needs and we were forced to upgrade bit by bit.
- Thrifting for good used clothing and baby/kid items and shopping only sale items
- Not taking many vacations or dining out
Since I began working full-time in September (also still in school full-time so have the added bonus of loan repayment delays and interest-free periods), my additional income means that we have the ability to quickly pay down the $64,000 of debt, increase our savings, and make some upgrades like buying some new(er) (to us) vehicles if we make wise choices. If we follow some “mustachian” principles, we may well pay off our debt by the time we are 30 (4.5 years) and then go onto pay off our mortgage by the time we are 35.
I am taking some inspiration from a couple of bloggers I admire. Firstly, from Kelsey over at Rising/Shining. Like her, I will be posting shortly on our income and budget figures - open book finances as she calls it. Money talk is always so hush hush. I think sharing is liberating and I’ve enjoyed comparing what others who do share earn/spend to my own family numbers. It helps to show where you’re doing well and where you could be improving. Secondly, like Sarah at Sleeping is for Losers, I will be sharing my goals in the hopes that it will make me more accountable. She has been seriously kicking butt with her weight loss goals.
Let the games begin?