October’s Monthly Financial Check-up

I updated you all on our current financial goals a few weeks ago and promised that I’d be bringing the monthly financial check-up back the first week in October. So here’s our progress update:

1. Significantly increase our giving to needs in our community and around the world. This is an ongoing goal, so we’re keeping it uncrossed off from the list.

2. Pay cash for a replacement washer and dryer for our very used set.

3. Pay cash for a replacement for Old Blue Van. The money is now saved, we’re just on the hunt for a good, reliable vehicle with low mileage. So far, we’ve not found one that’s what we’re looking for and in our budget.

4. Pay cash for a couch for our basement family room (Which currently is devoid of furniture while we save for it!)

5. Pay cash for bunk beds for the girls.

6. Fully fund our IRAs.

7. Bump up our retirement savings to 10% of our income.

8. Fund our children’s educational savings.

9. Double our Emergency Fund Savings (Instead of having around six month’s worth of expenses set aside, we’re planning to set aside a year’s worth of expenses.)

10. Save for our next BHAG.

As I mentioned in September, our very used washer quit working and was unable to be fixed. So we bumped up the priority of getting a replacement washer and dryer to the top of the list.

After all the comments on how the majority of you didn’t like front-loading washing machines, we decided to buy a non-front-loading washer and dryer set which was very simple, large, efficient and economical. We opted to purchase new, instead of used, as we’re hoping this will mean a longer life. My husband went to three stores to check out prices and see what kind of deal he could negotiate. By doing this, he was able to find a store which was willing to give us an additional $100 off plus free delivery because we were paying in cash upfront.

We’d love to hear about your recent financial goals and successes! You can post about it on your blog and leave your link below. Or, 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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Comments

  1. Diane says

    We are using all of our extra income to pay off our mortgage. It will take us at least 5 more years but we are being very frugal to allow us to pay off as much as we can. If we get another house we plan to pay 100% down for it like you did!

  2. Emily freelove says

    Here is our list of goals and priorities

    1. Pay off our mortgage in 5 years or less. Our mortgage is our only debt.

    2. Save enough cash to purchase rental property in the next 10 years, after our personal mortgage is paid in full.

    3. Continue to find ways to live well below our means, currently living comfortably on 60% of our income.

    4. Increase giving go our local church.

    5. Pay cash for our daughters school trip to Spain, were right on track

    These aren’t necessarily in order of importance, just a main list to go by.

    • Niki says

      @Emily freelove,
      Hey Emily-
      I’ve been a landlord for about 4 years now. Our property is very nice, in an excellent location (a Christian University town). However, the headaches of owning a rental way, way, way outweigh the benefits. Before you all decide to buy a rental I seriously suggest talking to lots of landlords. If you find a landlord who likes it, you’ve found one in a million. When/if the housing market ever recovers I am selling our place in a heartbeat.

      • Celeste says

        We own a duplex that is located two and half hours from where we live and it does have it’s challenges, but if you are blessed with great renters your experience will be a good one. Just be picky with who you rent to and never rent to family or friends

      • Denaye says

        @Niki,
        So, I guess we might be one in a million. We feel that our rental is a blessing. While it is extra work, it is also a home paying for itself. We’ve had decent renters every time, and because of being frugal anyway, we’ve had extra funds to cover those things that go wrong. I would say if you pray about it and feel led to purchase real estate, do it! Best wishes!

        • Nicole says

          @Denaye,
          Sure, we’ve had good tenants in our duplex and that is easier. However, the majority of renters don’t imagine that they are borrowing your house, but rather that it simply, “isn’t mine, so I don’t care”.
          For a while we lived in one side and rented the other. That made a lot of sense since we barely had to pay any rent. When my husband was transferred across the country we had to turn it over to a property manager, which has been ridiculous.
          When considering a rental for profit I still think it is a bad idea financially.Sure the house “pays for itself” financially but not emotionally and definitely not time wise. We shouldn’t imagine that a house will always increase in value. In fact, the only way you’re guaranteed to make money over the mortgage is if there is inflation, in which case the profit is a wash.
          Robert Kiosoki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) is right that property should always be considered a liability and not an investment or an asset. There just isn’t money to be made in a small time rental. A big apartment complex, or being a slum lord to 20+ properties, is the only way to make money.

  3. says

    Thank you for being such an inspiration! We have updated our savings goals to match our fluctuating income. I posted about it on my blog, but I can’t seam to see how to link that to this post…

  4. Dawn says

    I absolutely love my front load washer. I wouldn’t buy a top loader ever again. We have saved so much water & laundry soap by switching. When we switched to a front load maching, we were living in a home that had well water. The old washer was on its last legs. The well was going dry. So to bide our time until the town we live in put in city water, we bought a front load to replace the old one. We lasted about a year & then finally got city water. That was 8 years ago. It was well worth the money I spent to get the front load machine. When I started to look for a new one this January, I waited until it went on sale. I combined it with the NYS Rebate for energy star appliances, sold the old one for $250 and I know you don’t like doing this but I put it on my Discover card just to get the cash back (when the bill came I paid for it out of my rebate savings account – so no interest). All said & done I paid $500 for a new energy star LG washer. That machine generally costs $1,000.

  5. Ellen says

    Good post. I went back to read the goals. Just a few quick questions. You mentioned that you hope to have your goals met by Sept of 2011. When you say Fully Fund IRA and Fund Childrens’ Educational Savings (college), you’re not talking about having the FULL amount of college savings in 1 years’ time? Or the IRA in one years’ time? I’m just a little confused. That seems utterly impossible for us.

    • Nicole says

      @Ellen, “Fully Funded” investment accounts generally refers to meeting the maximum contribution limits set in place by Federal and State laws, based on your age, per year.

    • Chrys says

      @Ellen, I think for each, there is a maximum amount that can be saved per year ($5k for Roth IRA, not sure about traditional) ($2k for ESA, I think) so maybe that’s what she means…

      • says

        @Chrys, I was thinking the same question, but honestly if they decided to fully fund as in all the money, it would not in the least bit surprise me! Not only to set the goal, but to meet it :)

  6. Emily says

    I have recently starting following your blog and have to thank you for leading me to Dave Ramsey! My husband and I read the book and are on board! This is our first month, we have been clipping coupons, written a budget and stuck to it, and will have our $1000 emergency fund as well as one credit card paid off by the end of the month! I feel such relief to be telling where my money to go instead of wondering where it all went at the end of the month. Thank you so much for what you do here everyday, it helps keep me on track!

    • Shauna says

      @Emily, We also just finished reading Dave’s book with a big THANK YOU to Crystal for introducing him to us also.
      We hope by the end of the month to have our $1000.00 also.
      My husband and I have also chosen to put his truck up for sale (this decision is harder for me then for him) and since we have a lot of equity once it sales we can pretty much pay off our van. We will be a one car family for a while but it will be worth it in the end.

      I am struggling with the budget because we do live on commission and I never know what is coming, which is part of the reason we are where we are. We are going to continue to work on it and find a system that works for us.
      Good luck to you.

      • Emily says

        @Shauna, We actually have decided to put my car up for sale also! It was kind of a difficult decision at first, but looking at the $$$ clears it up, we owe a little more than it is worth, but if we can sell it, we will be saving over $500/month just for the payment and insurance!

        Good luck to you as well!

  7. says

    Crystal! how wonderful! my husband and I just started the Financial Peace University at our church and it’s been such a huge blessing! I’ve followed you since BiblicalWomanhood :) You’re a blessing!

  8. Heather says

    When you get those bunk beds, since you have a toddler, I’d recommend getting the kind where the ladder is NOT attached. That way you can put the ladder up on the top bunk during the day. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why that is a good thing!

    • Robyn says

      @Heather,

      I second the removable ladder!! When we were younger,my little brothers had bunk bed with the ladder hooked on. My youngest brother was around 3,when he climbed to the top,and fell off and landed right on the corner of the dresser..lots of stitches in his chin..not fun!!

    • Brandy says

      @Heather, Unless, it’s the kind of bunk beds that don’t have to be stacked. My brothers had the kind that could be stacked or unstacked and my parents left them unstacked while my youngest brother was little.

      • Megan says

        @Brandy, check out craigslist. we have a pottery barn outlet near us and I can get really good deals there, and if you are willing to wait and be patient you can get quality for very little. I once got a $1000 dining table for $168! But it took me weeks of going every week and looking at tables! Just beware of the crazy high prices you will sometimes see and don’t them scare you away.

  9. laura says

    Both of my teens are very involved in sports, so the last few months I have been out of the loop! I remember you were looking to spend $30,000 cash for your home (i think!). Is that what you purchased your home for?

  10. says

    Goals:

    -Paid Cash for the build of my website-done.

    -Paid off 2 medical bills, just 2 to go-done.

    -Pay off my student loan and another debt by February.

    -Pay off my truck by June(we will then be debt free).

    -Pay for a business trip in cash in January.

    -Pay cash for a surgery for my oldest son.

  11. Bonnie says

    I read an interesting article about new vs. used cars. I can’t find the article again or I’d link it for you. It basically said that due to the economy and the hard times of the big 3 auto makers, there are much fewer low mileage used cars available. This has caused the prices to go up. The author is a proponent of buying used, but said that it might be better to get a new car at this time. I’m curious what you think about this. Have you thought about checking new car prices? I’m not in the market for a car, we’re hoping to get at least 2-3 more yrs from my husbands car and mine is relatively new. This article blew my mind a little and I’m curious what your opinion is.

    Love your site!

      • Karen says

        @Megan, We bought a new car in July and saved quite a bit off of sticker. Paid in cash and the same model a couple of years old was only around $2000 less. Granted I will drive the wheels off the car like I did my previous.

        • Jen says

          @Karen, We also just purchased a brand new vehicle in July for cash. It was an ’09 that was still on the lot, but it was everything we wanted/needed. And it ended up costing less than all the low mileage used vehicles we looked at.

    • says

      Every used car that we’re looking at, we’re also comparing the new price to see what it is. So far, it’s still been a pretty substantial difference to definitely make it worth buying used.

  12. Ashley says

    Goals:
    – Pay off a loan to my parents in two months
    – Save $20,000 for a new car in the next year and a half
    – Pay off our mortgage as soon as possible (with an absolute deadline of 15 years)

  13. Debi says

    Crystal, have you shopped craigslist for the bunkbed? I have been looking for my boys and noticed there are quite a few available in our area. Also, what are your ideas for a BHAG?? Just curious. Btw…your vlog about your wardrobe inspired me to really look at mine and I easily parted with 75% of it!! I feel so liberated…I admit that I still could part with a few more things, but I’m going to see what I actually wear and then revisit the issue. Thanks for the inspiration to not be a slave to materialism. I can only imagine that Goodwill stores across the nation have you to thank for their recent donations!! Ha!
    God Bless!

    • Liz says

      @Debi, LOL – I am purging both mine and my kids closets this weekend. I have been inspired and it will help get organized for an upcoming neighborhood garage sale!

    • says

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      We’re looking into commercial real estate for our BHAG. But we’re still researching our options and what the best return on our investment would be.

  14. Jen says

    Yesterday we became debt free (except the house). We were gazelle intense and paid off $32,049.00 worth of debt since May 15, 2010. We have stuck to our guns and lived by our budget. Onto Baby Step 3, which we plan to have fully funded by March of next year. HOORAY Dave Ramsey!

    • says

      @Jen, WOOOO HOOO Congratulations that is soooo awesome!!

      That’s an amazing amount to pay off in just over a year, thanks for sharing. I paid off my cc’s and am committed to not going into any more consumer debt, but still need to pay off my car and student loans. I’m okay with having the mortgage longer term, but once I have these last 2 loans paid off, then I’m onto a bigger emergency fund, THEN I want to reduce the years on the mortgage while also saving for a replacement car in the future (mine is only a few years old so I have plenty of time to save up for that one.) Dave Ramsey is awesome, isn’t he?

  15. April says

    I saw you wrote about bunkbeds for the girls. There’s a blog I enjoy called “Knock Off Wood”. She designs and builds her own things. There are bunkbeds there SO if you, your husband, family member, or friend can do it, there’s a substantial savings AND nothing like doing it yourself!

    • Jessica says

      @April,

      I second April’s comment. I recently built a bed for our Master Bedroom. The king size Pottery Barn inspired Farmhouse bed cost me around $200! It’s solid wood and I love it!!! We had not been able to afford out first real bed until I found Ana’s site (www. Ana-white.com) I have built several other things from her plans and highly recommend it.

  16. Kate says

    Last month my household was able to pay off ALL our consumer debt : ) I’ve never felt so happy!!!! This month our goal is too start saving our emergency fund! Thanks for being so inspiring!!!

  17. says

    I am SO excited. We will be DEBT FREE except for the house next month. We have worked so hard to pay off $96,000 in debt. It’s been difficult, but we have bigger challenges to come. We have twin 3 year old girlies and it is my dream to stay home with them. I pray for the opportunity every night. We are trying now to pay down our mortgage so that I can stay home with our girlies. With God’s blessing this may be possible someday soon I pray!

    • Chris says

      @MommyLuvs2save, The Lord gave us that opportunity. While I was working, I put about 90% (after tithe) of my income towards our house, plus I think some years it was some of my husband’s, too. We were able to pay off our house and I continued working about two more years and built up a savings. God bless your endeavors.

  18. Dani says

    My goals for the rest of this year is/was to pay of Credit card and buy a new tv. My tv went out about two months ago and I haven’t replaced it. I don’t watch tv often and only let my kids watch it right before bed so i felt no urgency to replace it. Considering I am trying to pay off my credit card, I refused to buy one using that, so that left paying w/ cash. While I have been putting a little money back here and there, I got a phone call two days ago asking if I still needed a tv. A family member was downsizing homes and no longer needed one of his tvs. Lucky me, I got a free tv! So although I didn’t pay for it, my patience with having no tv paid off! Also I only owe $190 on my credit card! Almost there! I know I will reach my goal of year end!

  19. Rebecca says

    Thanks for the inspiration to stay focused. Right now, we’re intensely focusing on our 3 short term goals.

    1.) pay off our new car–we’ve paid over half of it already and should be done about this time next year, paying a 5 year 0% loan off in a little over 2 years. (Looking back, it would have been much smarter to save up and pay cash for a used vehicle. That’s what we’re going to do next time.)
    2.) save up for our emergency fund–we only have a few thousand left on this goal
    3.) save for “vacation”–my husband’s sister is getting married next summer 1200 miles away from us, so we’re saving for that as well–definitely aren’t going into debt for that; we’ll get to see a lot of family at the wedding that we don’t get to see often because of the distance, so we want to make the most of the trip. We have almost 1/3 of our goal, but we have until early June to save it all.

  20. chelsea says

    Do you mean that your husband picked out your washer and dryer without you? If so, I love it! When we were in the market for a washer and dryer this spring, it was DH who picked them both out, negotiated price/features/delivery, etc, then asked me- “do you like what you see?” I trust him completely with decisions like this (plus we had already talked about it before ever hitting the store) so I said sure! Same thing happened when we had to buy a car- he picked it out, negotiated everything, and I have no complaints!

    • says

      Yes, ma’am! He totally would have had me go with him if I had wanted to. But, like you, I completely trust him with these decisions and really was okay with whatever he got so long as it was efficient, large and within our budget! He did a great job!

  21. Lana says

    My husband lost his job June 1 of this year. We knew about the termination 3 months in advance. Because of the advance notice I was able to reign in spending and stockpile for the lean time to come. I am proud to say that we have only had to use $2500 of our savings along with his unemployment checks. We have covered all our bills and kept our medical insurance. We are debt free except for our house and I am glad we learned that lesson early in our marriage.

  22. Meredith Ball says

    I started heavy couponing about 8 months ago. I was spending 100 a week on groceries before that and vowed to get it lower. I have always wanted to go on a vacation with my husband. We have been married 8 years and have never been on one. We live an hour away from the beach so we have girth to take out daughter for day trips and mini weekends. So, I cut our budget to 40 a week. With the 60 left over, we saved 30 and put the other 30 into a trip fund. We just booked a cruise to the Bahamas to leave next month! I can’t believe I get to go on a trip! Of course it’s a cheaper room (only because I am more frugal now). We still have money left over and have a nice savings account addition!

  23. says

    Wahoo! I love having financial goals to work toward. Here are ours:

    1) Pay off the private student loan by Feb.1
    2) Since we just added two elementary-age kiddos to our family, upgrade our small sedan to a reliable SUV (by trading in the car we own and adding cash to it) by June 1.
    3) Give more this Christmas to the church, missionaries and Christian Aid organizations!

  24. Natasha says

    I am new to your site but LOVE IT! Thanks so much….just wanted to give readers a suggestion. My husband and I sat down with a Primerica person and they have helped us cut down costs on important stuff and helped us invest and get way more back then normally would have. I was wary at first but they really did want to help my family as best they could. This was just 1 month ago and we already see a huge difference in our savings. I know all frugal mommas out there could use a God send like we had. I met her at the park with the kids after I lost my job so I knew it was a sign. I would highly recommend calling and finding one in your area. If anyone is in W.Washington I can give you my gals info too!

    • Lindsey says

      @Natasha, I normally don’t comment on posts, but I wanted to point out a couple of things. Primerica representatives gnerally DO want to help people out, but they are very limited in their investments, all of which come with higher fees than you would pay elsewhere or by investing on your own (sometimes as high as 2%!!!). So many personal finance companies get commissions from their clients investing in certain funds or purchasing certain options. I personally feel that this is a conflict of interest since many people don’t know anything about investments, retirement funding and college funding. Smart Money just wrote an excellent article on Women and Retirement. I encourage everyone to read it.

      • Nat S. says

        Actually I agree with Natasha…We recently had a rep come out after many months of researching and spending hundreds on “financial experts”. They had come out before but we wanted to search around first. None of them gave us an option that really worked for us. Primerica not only had many options for us but the average return is 10-12% (which has been the average for the past 30 years for mutual funds)! Of course it fluctuates but most do obviously. They also have lots of new options then they did just a couple years ago. And the only fees we paid were for the actual investment (which is normal no matter where you go) but none of it went towards our reps commission (I know this because we called their home office in Duluth,GA and inquired about the fees). I used to be a Senior Loan Officer and have done all my series 6 & 63 training and know about investments so I made sure that my Primerica rep was legit and knew what they were talking about. (He definitly did)! They also come out and do an analysis and give you all the information you need for FREE. And if we decided not to go with them then that rep is out their time and gas. Of course they get commission, most financial companies do. Their commission is paid out by their home office and not through the fees that their clients pay for the services which is awesome! We’ve referred 12 of our family members so far and Primerica was able to help 11 of them in one way or another! I too suggest at least sitting down with a rep. It’s free so you have nothing to lose but probably tons to gain!! (I’m in LA and there’s some great reps around here!)Thanks!Other@Lindsey,

  25. says

    1. Continue paying cash for cars, appliances, etc. or don’t buy them.

    2. Buy new snow tires. (cash already saved!)

    3. Save 400 dollars/month for a family trip at Christmas time.

    4. Try to pay off our mortgage in the next 5 years. (We are paying 300 extra per month now and hope to bump that up)

    5. Increase retirement savings.

    6. Always pay off credit card in full each month if used so we won’t have to pay any interest but we can benefit from rewards.

  26. says

    if you get the chance, check out a honda crv. My family loves them so much that all of us have one, and when we have a party the parking lot looks like a dealership. None of us have ever had a major problem with them. All of ours were bought used.

  27. says

    First my Dad helped my sister car shop and he helped her choose the crv, then he liked hers so much that when it was time, he bought one. THEN, hes neighbor likes theirs so much HE bought one,THEN we likes everyones else’s so much WE bought one. Very, very reliable and excellent service at the dealerships! We even get free oil changes and car washes for life!

  28. says

    My husband and I got married in April with approximately $30,000 worth of school/car loan debt. We took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace while engaged and committed to become debt free by our 2nd anniversary. We’ve been keeping track of the percentage we’ve paid off each month ever since. It’s been stressful, since I was unemployed for 2 months this summer, however we have stuck to our plan and put anything extra God provided (and BOY did He provide!) toward our debt. This month, we celebrated 6 months of marriage and reaching the halfway point on paying off our debt. We are so excited! Here’s our most recent financial update: http://faithfulsojourners.blogspot.com/2010/10/monthly-financial-update.html

  29. Amanda says

    I’ve heard of others’ who are able to negotiate prices of things in stores…how do you do it? Could you please do a post on how to negotiate prices for things!???

    • Diana says

      @Amanda, I second this request! They must not be big nationwide chain stores (like Sears or Home Depot). If they are, I’m even more impressed!

    • Amara says

      @Amanda

      Amanda,

      You will probably have better luck negotiating with small, local retailers when you show them comparable “big box” store prices on the same item. However, we have always negotiated better furniture prices at Nebraska Furniture Mart (which is a huge store here) simply by asking, “Is that your best price?” They often call a manager, but we’ve never had them come back at full price. It has always been $25 off or MUCH MORE. In our early married days, we requested two additional chairs for our table (it came with only four) for free, and they agreed. The more we are purchasing at once, the better the deals become. In addition, they always ask if we are paying cash, which we always are. :) If you are going to finance, they’ve told me there are no deals.

      I’d start by simply asking, “Is that the best you can do?” or offering a different price, affirming that you will be paying today with cash.

      BTW, I had a former friend who asked for discounts everywhere. Shirt at the mall, tires, etc. 90% of the time, the price was reduced simply for her asking. Taught me a thing or two. When shopping with her, I was being sold a pair of sandals where one of the pair had been on display (which were the only pair in my size.) She asked if we could have a discount on the sandals because they’d been “used.” To my surprise, they instantly took $10 off.

      Good luck!

      • Amanda says

        @Amara, Thanks for the tips! I will definitely be more brave at the store. If something is already on sale, do you still ask for a deeper discount? For instance, the BBQ that I bought my husband for Father’s Day was on a great sale one week, so do you think they would have given me it at an even more discounted price? It was at Fred Meyer?

  30. says

    our current goals are:

    Pay cash for a new refrigerator…ours went out 3 months ago and we are currently borrowing a dorm size one(which is a pain with 5 in the house)

    Pay cash for a clarinet and viola.

    Fix my truck and get it running again.

    These things would be easy for us if dh was working but he hasn’t had anything in 3 months so we have to squirrel away the money to get it done

  31. Ginger says

    These financial checkups and your vlogs are always my favorites. You are such an inspiration to me. Your clothing vlog inspired me to clean/reorganize my closet (I’ve been procrastinating for TWO years!) and to throw away an old ratty top that I never did like to begin with and two pairs of shoes that were beyond repair and doing nothing but collecting dust.

    THANK GOD for Dave Ramsey and intentionally living below my means.
    After breaking my back, I am receiving a treatment that costs $1080 a month….which my insurance does not pay for. After 2-1/2 years of barely being able to walk, I am now finally getting better! I am sooo grateful that I have the means to pay for this therapy, even though my income is only $50K, when I know many with even higher incomes couldn’t because of the financial choices they’ve made (car payments, CC debt, etc.). Dave Ramsey (and you, Crystal!) have changed my life.

  32. says

    I totally understand a connection with your Old Blue. I had one, too. Old and blue. Then, I was hit in a car accident. Old Blue was killed. We then needed another car. I now drive a Kia, and we have had NO problems with it(mechanically). My husband had found a deal on the internet. When we were offered a “special price,” my husband reminded them that their “special price” wasn’t as low as the internet offer. They checked the internet, and we got the internet offer!

  33. says

    Check with your water/power/gas companies to see if they offer rebates for energy efficient washers. Dryers never qualify, but we got $50 for our washer.

  34. says

    be very careful of bunk beds- we dear friend’s three-year-old fall of the top of a bunk bed and she had a skull fracture- she had to be airlifted to a ped trauma cente

    • Courtney says

      @Jan, Our pediatrician said he warns parents all the time against bunkbeds because of the many injuries that he has seen from kids falling. My husband fell off one when he was a kid and broke his collarbone.

  35. WilliamB says

    I live my front-loading washing machine. I carefully researched what people didn’t like; the bulk of the complaints were about slightly unpleasant smell. Turns out there’s a solution: dry the gasket or leave the door open so it dries itself. Works for me and I get an efficient machine that also boosts the efficiency of my dryer.

  36. says

    My wife and I also make a monthly list to see how we progress in a month-to-month expenses, though sometimes unexpected expenses just arises come out of no where, we still able to handle everything. Thanks to this article.

  37. Lindsey says

    Goals:

    Pay cash for insurance deductible for birth of new baby in March (will be 1/3 of way there at end of October)

    Fully fund $1,000 emergency fund – done

    pay for Christmas with cash- halfway there!

    Use money from consignment shop booth and antique dealing to purchase new (used) car – working on it, will have $1,000 banked at the end of the month.
    Yay! We’re doing Financial Peace University

  38. Dana says

    Our overall goal is to stay on track with paying off our 2nd mortgage. To continue to do this, here are our mini-goals:

    1) Have a written budget for Christmas ASAP! I am really struggling with wanting to spend right now and I am sure that it won’t get easier. I got an unexpected bonus and it is tempting to have a really nice Christmas instead of throwing it to the 2nd mortgage.

    2) To cook from scratch more often and make do with what we have in order to stay within our grocery budget this month.

    • says

      @Dana, My husband and I were just talking about Christmas today. We are getting a late start due to a very tough financial year, but not too late as it’s not Christmas yet! We are going to set our savings/spending goals today!

  39. Jennifer says

    We’re planning on having my husband’s student loan paid off just before Christmas. We have 5 kids 11 and under and when we’re riding some where in the car, they will remind me that we need to practice our, “WE’RE DEBT FREE” scream. They are excited! I have to think of some big way to celebrate as we have all been looking forward to this goal for 3 years (one being unemployed). Being debt free is going to feel so good!!!

  40. says

    I can tell by #9 you have read one of Dave Ramsey’s book.
    I am in the process of reading his book right now. Although it is very good it won’t help us out. Right now we are a family of 4 living off of $488 every two weeks and no credit cards (we have been married 6years and 11months and never had one). We have always lived off of cash. We are also a one car family. I guess what gets us by right now is the fact that we are living in a rent free place. This was provided to us when my husband was a Youth Pastor. A family in the church wanted to be a blessing to us and let us have the place rent free. Although we no longer attend that church they continue to let us have the place for rent free. What a BLessing!!!!!!!!

  41. Becky says

    Last Friday, I paid off the last of my second mortgage; 14.5 years early! The only debt I have left is my first mortgage. I’m so excited to be able to put this extra money toward that now and pay it down even faster!