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onWith 7 unconventional money moves, we have cut our budget by $10,000.00 in just two years.
Would you sell your dream home to get ahead financially? Well, that’s what we did. But it wasn’t easy and the decision came with lots of real tears.
The last two and a half years we have taken on projects, scoured Pinterest for ideas, and have made at least a thousand trips to Home Depot and Lowes for necessary materials or tools to complete the next idea to make our home into our dream home.
Our hands touched every space and unique touches, that were once just ideas, are on every wall in the house. When I look at what we have accomplished, I am filled with joy and satisfaction at a job well done.
When we decided that once and for all we wanted to be debt-free and experience Financial Independence, we had next to zero assets. Except for the house. In fact, we had a negative net worth of over $300,000.00. Yup! You read that right, more than triple six-digit negative net worth.
But, through a combination of timing and our hard labor, we gained a significant amount of equity in the two and a half years we owned the property. Had we not had the equity in the house, that figure would have been even worse.
The more we thought about what we wanted to accomplish for ourselves and our children and our timelines for getting there – we came to the decision that unlocking the equity in our house by selling it was what made the most sense.
We listed the house for sale and to our amazement received a full price offer in six days! We even took a tiny bit of risk and listed it for a bit higher than we originally planned, so that extra amount was a bonus.
Prior to selling the house, we came up with a plan for what we would do with the money. This would be more money than either of us had ever seen in our lives. We viewed it as a gift and wanted to make sure we spent it wisely.
RENTING VS. BUYER ANOTHER HOME
We live in a very high cost of living area. In San Diego, it is becoming harder and harder to find homes for under $600,000.00. Our mortgage and HOA fees combined were quite high. We weighed the cost of renting vs. buying another home and found that if we downsized just a bit, we could stay in the same neighborhood, the boys could stay at their school and it would be much less than we were currently paying on our mortgage.
Fate was very much on our side because a friend of a friend was moving at about the same time we needed to be out of our house and they were looking for a renter. Their home was the size we were looking for. In addition, they were dog lovers so we didn’t have to worry about our dog.
Added bonus? The home was solar and had a whole house fan, so we would also be saving on electricity.
The BEST part of the deal was that by renting, we are saving ourselves about $750.00 per month on rent and on average, we will save about $250 per month on our energy bill. So, just this one decision saved us about $1,000.00 per month in our budget.
With a portion of the proceeds, we have paid off the remaining cars and our consumer debt.
The total monthly payment for both cars we have paid off total: $896.00 per month.
The remaining payments for everything else, credit cards and revolving accounts total $750.00 per month.
Altogether, the total monthly savings when combining our reduced housing costs and debt payoff totals about, $2650.00 per month! How amazing is that?
We began this Financial Independence Journey 755 days ago (2 years and 25 days). Since that time, we have made HUGE cuts in our monthly budget.
We have looked at every expense we have and asked, over and over…
- Can we cut this expense? or
- Can we eliminate this expense?
By taking everything we spend money on and asking those two questions we have found, in almost every instance, the answer was always, “yes” IF we were willing to make the big and unconventional moves.
Selling our house is perhaps our biggest unconventional move, but we have made others as well.
- Cutting cable – we only have Internet and stream Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
- Eliminating extra-curriculars – for the time being, we have eliminated almost all the boys extra-curriculars, unless they are very inexpensive.
- No new cars – we are driving cars that are older. Our oldest is a 2006 Dodge Magnum and the newest is a 2011 Chevy Malibu. And now we can say we have zero payments on them as well.
- Drastically cutting our food budget – In a pinch, I can feed our family of eight on about $100.00 a week but more comfortably we have settled at about $175.00 a week. I do this by meal planning. Cooking at home. And by being intentional in what I purchase and where I shop. Prior to finding the FIRE movement, we had let our food budget spiral and we were spending more than $2000.00 a month on food.
- Low/no-cost entertainment – It gets very expensive very quickly when all eight of us decide to go somewhere together. So, we don’t do that very often and when we do we will do things like the discount movie theater and/or matinee tickets. The kids love the local free splash pad at the park and our community pool is another favorite as well as the beach. Our kids, more than anything else value their time with us. They don’t care how much it cost.
- DIY when possible – we love renovating, but it can get super expensive. So whenever possible, we try to do them ourselves. YouTube is an amazing resource. You can learn how to do just about anything.
All of these steps combined have helped us to cut our budget in two years by over $10,000.00.
We were high-income earners and had ZERO to show for it but debt. I was also suffering from extreme burnout and wanted to desperately leave my law practice to be home with our four adopted children.
Because of the cuts we have made we have been able to make HUGE strides in our debt payoff – but also I have been able to leave my practice. It feels wonderful to be able to be the mom I want to be for my kids.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
If you want to get out of debt, you have to be willing to make some unconventional moves. Your friends and family will not understand it and that doesn’t matter. Being debt-free isn’t for them it’s for you and your children.
The first step is to assess where you are. You cannot craft a road map to FI until you know where you are. Then you can plot your course for your final destination. And if you need some help doing that we have several resources available to help you do that.
We have a FREE 7-Step Money Foundations e-mail course that helps you lay your financial foundation.
In addition, we sell a workbook that compliments the course, called Shut-Up and Budget. It’s a no-nonsense workbook to get your head out of the sand and on track to Financial Independence.
Lastly, another option is our 7-Step Money Foundations Printable Bundle on Etsy. This includes a workbook that compliments our email course as well as several debt and savings trackers to help you meet your money objectives.
We are here to support you in your journey to Financial Independence by helping you Save More, Spend Less and Increase Your Income – come say HI! in our private Facebook Group so we can get to know you better.
Love and Prosperity,
Wendy and Curtis
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