Amy emailed in the following testimonial which I thought many of you would enjoy reading:
My husband and I were born frugal and worked hard during high school and college to graduate debt-free. We scraped together our pennies and put a 20% down payment on a condo in the Chicago area at the age of 22. Our monthly mortgage payment was a little cheaper than our rent would have been and we were excited at the prospect of selling our condo in three to five years as the property value increased.
We continued paying every bill in cash while my husband attended grad school and I worked as a nanny. We kept a strict budget: $18 a month on dates, $5 a week on clothing and decorating. We couponed like crazy. We were known as Craigslist fanatics!
People were incredibly generous to us. Our 1986 Dodge broke and a lady who hardly knew us handed us a $5,000 check to replace our car. A family offered to pay for all of Joel’s school books. Joel’s parents graciously handed us a check every semester to help pay for school and paid our cell phone bills. We didn’t pay for everything on our own, but, if we hadn’t budgeted our money, it would have been easy to make poor financial decisions
Joel graduated from grad school last summer, debt-free. Because we take our budget spreadsheets very seriously, we were able to save $10,000 while he was in school.
A few years ago, we thought we’d be reaping the benefits of our hard work right now. We thought we’d have at least a $40,000 down payment for our next home and be completely debt free at the age of 25.
We needed to move across the country last summer because of my husband’s job. Our condo association recently changed their rules to not allow renters into the building, so anyone who must move was forced to sell. This drove the prices of condo’s in our neighborhood extremely low.
After 8 months on the market, our condo sold for 60% less than what we paid three years ago. We lost our down payment and a few thousand dollars in renovations. No one planned for the housing market to take a turn like it did, but because of our strict budget, we are still much farther ahead financially than most 25-year-olds today.
We know how to enjoy life without a daily trip to Starbucks, new cars and cable. We save a small portion of each pay check for retirement and enjoy our free date nights. We make a hobby of couponing and shopping clearance racks and thrift stores. We never buy anything we cannot afford and always give a portion of our money away.
Because of the economy, we get to practice a few more years of frugal living while we save up for another down payment for a house. When I say a few more years of frugal living, I mean a lifetime as I really don’t think you can take frugality out of us.
Joel and Amy currently reside in Pittsburgh, PA where they are foster parents to an adorable baby boy. Currently, Joel works for a non-profit organization and Amy is a business owner of East Wind Nannies.