Monthly Financial Check-up

It's November and guess what that means? It's time for our monthly financial check-up. How did you do in October?

I've been waiting with bated breath to be able to post our monthly financial update because this is another huge milestone for us. And I finally get to share…

We began October at 69% of our house savings goal and we ended the month at 75%!

While it looks like we're likely not quite going to make our goal of being at 100% by the end of 2009, it is incredibly exciting for us to be at 75%! 

It is hard to go against the grain, to live counter-culturally, to be self-disciplined.

It's hard to forgo instant gratification and stop comparing yourself with the "Jones's".

It's hard when you're the only one packing a lunch, driving an old car, wearing thrift store clothes, and clipping coupons.

It's hard when you see other people just going out and buying whatever they want whenever they want it when you're barely able to afford paying $17 for groceries that week but you're committed to paying 100% cash for everything. 

None of where we are today has happened by taking the easy road. It's the result of God's grace and enabling, it's the result of our parents' wise examples and training, it's the result of a strong work ethic instilled in us from the time we were youngsters, it's the result of setting big goals and sticking with those goals day in and day out–even when we felt like giving up.

When I look at that 75% house savings number in our bank account, I know that it is worth it to choose to do hard things. We've learned so many valuable lessons along the way, our struggles have matured us, our victories have emboldened us.

And we know beyond any shadow of a doubt, that making short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term goals is every bit worth it.

(If you're new here, be sure to check out this post where I explain in detail why we've committed to this "crazy" idea to pay 100% down on a home. )

How did you do in October? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2009, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes and/or failures in October and, if you'd like, the areas
you hope to improve in November. Then, come back here and leave your link
below. If you don't have a blog or would rather share anonymously, feel
free to leave your update in a comment. Let's all keep each other
accountable to be better stewards of
our resources!

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  1. Rose says

    Well, that’s just so awesome that you are paying full price for a house. I bought a house this year but had only saved up 20% because I am impatient and didn’t want to wait 6 years to save up 100%. Also, I was worried interest rates and house prices would raise by that time. I see that lots of people have asked you approximately what is the cost of the house that you are saving for, but you have never answered these questions. Are you just being cautious about telling people how much money you have?

  2. Amanda says

    Congratulations on making it to 75% of your savings, that is very exciting.

    I didn’t get to previously post this, but wanted to share that at the end of August I paid off one of my school loans. It was a variable rate loan for 30,000 and my goal was to pay it off in five years. I am excited that I was able to make my five year goal. Using coupons, the poor economy and the possibility of layoffs at my work and encouragement on your blog all pushed me to make my goal a reality. I ended up paying $10,000 in interest and can only imagine what it would have been had I not met my five year goal. My husband and I celebrated with a small & frugal vacation to Myrtle Beach. I still have a low fixed rate student loan left and had hoped to pay it off in another year. However, my car started to have major transmission problems and was getting too costly/dangerous to fix. I ended up having to buy a new to me 2009 Honda Civic. I was disappointed that I did not have time to get a downpayment together and took out a loan, but my plan is to pay it off in half the time or three years. Everyone has told me the Civic was a good choice, so I am hoping to see that in the coming years. I wish I did not have to take out loans for school, but that was my only choice. So now, I am diligently working to pay off my other loan and car in less time. I am happy with my progress though as nearly none of my friends have put a dent in their school loans yet. I am excited about starting to add more to our savings for a downpayment for a home also. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. nancy says

    Hi Money saving mom,

    This is the first time that I have visited your blog and am impressed by your goals. I used to think that my hubby and I were the only crazy ones out there, but it is nice to to know that we are in good company. We bought our 1st home 4.5 years ago with 20% down and paid it off in full just a few months ago. It was a wonderful feeling and even more so now that my husband getting laid off Friday! It such a relief knowing that we are not in any debt for house, car, school, or credit cards. Neither one of us have exceptionally high incomes, but we are very careful in what we spend. I can’t remember having eaten at a restaurant without a B1G1 coupon, we never order anything but water to drink, we take advantage of all kinds of free activities for entertainment, coupon, give gifts within are means, take advantage of freebies and even used only a space heater in our master bedroom instead of turning on the main heat to heat a whole house for just two people. Boy it used to be so cold that my husband would say he had to go to Antarctica if I asked him to get me a glass of water from the kitchen. Ok so maybe the heat thing was a little extreme, but it was so worth it now that we have no debt, I am a SAHM and we are still not freaking out b/c my hubby has been laid off. Kudos to all those that save, set goals, don’t compare themselves to the Joneses, and do what is right for them and their families.

  4. Katie says

    Hi Crystal,

    Congratulations. I love your blog so much because you changed my whole outlook on money. When you see your self as a steward of it then you are more careful with it.

    I’m doing well budgeting and saving however I feel like I’m hampered by kindness. I know that sounds mad but my family are used to giving large christmas presents and I feel I have to do the same in return. I feel mean only giving them token presents this year. I have told them all how much I’m spending and they haven’t changed their amounts. Its times like these when budgeting is hard. I have tried to make a few presents as well for the personal touch.

    In light of this, I can understand how difficult it must have been for you especially in light of your husband’s salary. I think sometimes when you do earn that little more you then have to battle with people preconceptions all the time of what you can and can’t afford. What do you do for Christmas presents for your nieces and nephews? And for your own children?

    Its times like these that makes it hard to live with.

    Good luck and keep going


  5. says

    That is neat you are getting close to your goal! I know you sacrifice alot to do that. It is neat because you can do what is important to you.
    I think it is easy for people to read this and read either and be jealous of you or that think you are looking down on others for not choosing the same path. I like to think you are not though. I am so thankful to be able to be in a home as it would never be possible for us to save that much money with a disabled husband, but God blessed us in other ways. It is easy when you are transparent with your life for others to judge you. Anyhow, good for you!!

  6. Stephanie H says

    May God have the glory! I thank you for your continued dedication of sharing your knowledge and wisdom in the finances area. I agree with others when I say that you are an inspiration and that the negative comments are sad to see. My husband and I just closed every major credit card we had yesterday. (A credit falicy- but it doesn’t matter if you’re not using credit!) Now we’re paying them off, selling our only vehicle with a loan and putting our house on the market. Homeownership wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when you’re struggling to make it AND going into the ministry. God showed me how I was “of the world” because I was chained to it with debt. Everyone has a path to walk and I am thankful you are sharing yours with all of us. Thank you for the encouragement.

  7. Karen says


    Thank you for your post. We drive old vehicles too. I’m so proud of you and your husband. We just sat down and created our first budget. We have been wasting a lot of money. We do take our lunches to work. My husband’s income decreased tremendously this summer. He has a new job now. He is making twice the money he used to make. We are preparing to build up an emergency fund of $1K as recommended by Ramsey. Then we are planning to do the Debt Snowball. I’m so excited. I pray that we can do all of this, Lord willing.

    Some people must not realize that doctors and lawyers as a whole are not good with money. They tend to spend more than they make. What you and your husband and doing is rare. Keep up the good work!

    In Christ,

  8. Jennifer H. says

    Congratulations! Thanks so much for sharing again!

    My husband and I have been married for 19 months. In that time, we paid off my student loan to become debt free, saved up 6 months of living expenses, finished funding my husband’s seminary degree, and now we’re saving for a 20% down payment. We’d love to save 100%, but we’re starting with a smaller goal. I don’t know when we’ll end up buying our home, but we’ll keep saving and saving until then. You are truly an inspiration!

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and triumphs. My husband is starting law school in the fall, and I’m grateful to have your examples to follow.It helps to know we won’t be only ones who will struggle to make it through without using debt!

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