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Financial Shape in 2008: End-of-the-year report


It's nearing the end of 2008! Can you believe that? It's been a full year for us with many struggles and triumphs. My husband and I sat down this week and talked about our goals and ran the numbers to see where we were at. And we were very thrilled to find out that we were able, by the grace of God, to accomplish all of our goals for 2008!

Here's the list:

Short Term Financial Goals for 2008

1) Have our fully-funded emergency fund in place (6 months' worth of living expenses) by the end of April. As of March 11, 2008–DONE!

2) Switch health insurance plans and open an HSA. We
were approved for our new health insurance plans in April and have also
set up our HSA. Done!

3) Start up an IRA and invest at least 5-10% of Jesse's income in this. Started in March. (We plan to increase this to 12-15% of Jesse's income as soon as we purchase our home.)

4) Open up a mutual fund for each of our children and invest $50 per child per month in it. Started in March.

5) Save up and invest $30,000 this year towards paying cash (100% down) for a house in 3-5 years. As of the beginning of November, this is also DONE!!

When we listed off these goals at the beginning of the year, they felt very audacious. In fact, we both thought we were being overly ambitious. But, as we've found in the past, it's better to aim high than to be content with mediocrity! And so we did!

Amazingly, through a number of unexpected events and the blessing of God, we were able to accomplish these goals. Yes, it meant some rigid budgeting. Yes, we've made some significant sacrifices. Yes, we done a lot of "living like no one else". But the perseverance is paying off and we're very excited about that.

We haven't sat down and formerly written out goals for 2009, but we do have one already-agreed-upon extremely-ambitious goal that my husband gave me permission to share publicly: We are aiming to have saved up enough money by this time next year to pay 100% down on a home!

This goal looks a little daunting but we've run the numbers and determined that with lots of hard work and scrimping, it might just be possible. One of the biggest reasons we are hoping this goal might become a reality in the next year is because of our recent move.

Not only did moving back home allow us to now be close to our families and back in our home church, it was a substantial career move for Jesse and it put us in a less expensive housing market. These things, coupled with the fact that we'll likely be living here long-term, have given us huge motivation to scrimp and save in order to buy a home sooner than we'd anticipated.

I'll keep you posted on our progress and we'll see what happens!

How did you do in 2008? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2008, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes this past year. 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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  • ModestforHim says:

    Wow that is great. I must admit I am a bit jealous. Can you tell us a bit more how your husband came in to scrimping this much?

    Money Saving Mom here: I don’t have a three-step plan to tell you but for us it was coming into marriage without debt and instead having money in the bank. Staying out of debt–even through law school, living below our means, doing without, working very hard, setting big goals, being on the same page, keeping our expenses as low as possible, me utilizing nap time and time before the girls are awake to earn money from home, and, most importantly, the blessing of God.

    We’ve purposed to put God first in our finances and to recognize that He owns everything we have; we are just managers of the money He’s entrusted to us. This has made a huge difference in how we live, how we spend, how we save, and how we think about money in general. We want to be as wise as we can with our finances so that we can take care of our family well and be able to bless and give to others.

    There’s so much more I could say, but that’s the general gist!

  • tina b says:

    Well, I don’t have a blog (that anyone would want to look at) and we didn’t formally write down our goals for 2008, BUT I do have one amazing financial accomplishment by the grace of God.

    In April, my husband and I made our first new to us car purchase. We bought a 2007 used model at a great price and we plan to run the car to the ground. We had to buy this car because mine was REALLY dying and costing us a ton in maintenance costs. But, we only had $2,000 to put down, so we had to take out a substantial loan. We did this prayerfully, and planned to make large payments above what was required to remain current on the loan. We anticipated that it would be paid off some time next year – most likely by the end of 2009. Well, by the grace of God, we will have the car paid off by the END OF 2008!! WOO HOOO!

    This will be such a chain-breaker for us, and we are thankful that God has helped us to remove this debt from our lives. With it, the pressure for me to maintain a job will be gone, and we can concentrate on preparing to start a family – finally. I’m so excited, and am rejoicing!

    Sorry this was so long…I’m just super excited 🙂


    Money Saving Mom here: Way to go, Tina! Being free from the bondage of debt has liberated us to be able to do so many wonderful things!

  • Megan says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! my husband and I are excited to set some goals for 2009. I will have to let you know how it works out!
    Also: We didn’t physically write out goals for 2008, but we did want to reduce our debt. We paid off our truck and one credit card. And now are down to a credit card (which should be paid off really soon) and school loans. We fully own both vehicles! Yay!

  • Mark says:

    Well this year has been disastrous due to the financial turmoil around the world and the affect it has had on the Mortgage Market- What Mortgage Market? This year I did not achieve a single goal that I had set at the outset of the year. But I did manage to survive this year which is remarkable given the economic conditions and the 100% loss of business in the earlier part of the year.

    But Hey Ho next year is a year of consolidation and achievement. Goals are there to reach out too like the moon and sometimes we miss them and sometimes we exceed them – when we really achieve them we land in the stars! Great, I’ve done that before and it felt fabulous – we all need to miss our goals now and again so that we appreciate them when we achieve them

  • Robyn says:

    Great job! That’s very inspirational. Before we got married, my husband and I scraped every thing we had and paid off all our debt, which we have maintained since.
    We have 2 kids and lots of nieces and nephews. Our thing is to open an investment fund for each one and it has been amazing to watch their little “nest eggs” grow- until this year, that is.
    Watching their accounts (and ours) lose so much money with the market doing so badly is not for the faint of heart. Ouch!
    But we have faith that it will balance out and end up where it was again.
    PS. We also made the goal to have 6 months living expenses saved and have met it!

  • Janeen says:

    Hi. I don’t mean to be too personal, but I’m wondering how you managed to save $30,000 for a home. We don’t even make that in a year! Do you do something besides blogging to bring in extra income. Congratulations on actually doing it though.

    Money Saving Mom here: See my note to ModestforHim above along with this post:

    It’s a combination of my husband and I working together to scrimp, save, be creative and entrepreneurial, and, for sure, the blessing of God. We’ve also set big goals since the beginning of our marriage and learned a lot along the way. Time and perseverance pays off!

  • Jennifer says:

    I was looking at your budget and how do you manage to pay only $190 for health insurance each month? That is what is eating us up. My husband wants us to do an HSA, but I don’t know anything about those. Where can I find some good information on it?

    Money Saving Mom here: We have an HSA and are privately insured (i.e. not through an employer). Because we have an emergency fund of six-month’s expenses saved up, we are able to have a large deductible ($5,000) with our insurance plan. This is one of the biggest ways we’ve found to reduce insurance costs. We pay out of pocket for small medical expenses and then we pay very little for insurance each month.

    We called around and got a lot of different quotes before we went with what we did. If you are willing to have a big deductible (which I’d only recommend if you have a nice emergency fund in place and set aside a little of your income each month to pay any medical expenses out of pocket), you can usually find some great rates. You might also check out

  • Jill says:

    Congrats on getting goals accomplished in 2008! We have the same goal of being able to pay 100% down on a home, we don’t want to inflict any more debt upon ourselves!

    I hope you keep Financial Shape up in 2009, I enjoy reading how everyone is doing and all of the goals they have set, as well as their progress!

  • Leanne says:

    Congratulations on meeting your goals! My husband and I are also followers of Dave Ramsey so I know that the plan works! Its amazing how less stressed you are when you don’t have to worry about money issues.!

  • Congratulations Paine Family! What a fantastic accomplishment! Good Luck with the house search!!!

  • Lisa says:


    I have to admit that we do not have a written out budget, but it is in our heads. I am in charge of our finances. My dad has been very frugal with his money as were his parents. This has given us a peace of mind for disasters. That being said, my husband has a good job, and I homeschool our four children. Our house is paid off, and we did buy a car this year over a three year loan at 0.9% financing. Even with a poor market, I can make more in stocks than I will be paying in interest. I know you are not a fan of credit cards, but we pay off our bill in full each month and earn the rewards. I am 34, and my husband is 39. I figured out between all of the savings we are making we save about 25% of our income. This is much easier to do if you grow up living this way I have come to realize. We are very blessed!

    Money Saving Mom here: Lisa, if you have a chance, I’d highly encourage you to get a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book or listen to his radio show. With how well you’re doing financially, I think he’d encourage you with ways you could do even better and be able to have more to give to others and pass on to your children.

    Having a written budget has literally saved us thousands of dollars over the last few years and I’d highly recommend it–especially if you’re doing well financially!

    You are so right, having a good foundation is so helpful. Our desire is to raise our children so that they will stand on our shoulders and go much farther than us!

  • Leanne says:

    Congratulations on meeting your goals! My husband and I are also followers of Dave Ramsey so I know that the plan works! Its amazing how less stressed you are when you don’t have to worry about money issues.!

  • Karen says:

    Thanks for your open sharing Crystal! your site has made a big difference in my finances this year

  • Morgan says:

    Wow! It’s so great to here when people achieve their goals. We also have achieved our goals this year…thanks to you and Dave Ramsey we have paid off 3 separate credit card debts this year and finished our BEF. Our goal for 2009 is to become completely debt-free by paying off the car and our last (The Big One) credit card.

    Question – have you been renting your living space this whole time?


  • Chris from St. Mary's says:

    I reviewed earlier comments I made in this series to help me realize how much better I’ve done than I expected, with the grace of God.

    I got out of debt in April 2008. I was able to cash flow major car repairs in May 2008. I started with saving for a three-month emergency fund in May. At that time, I anticipated that it will take a year.

    Well, it was fully-funded as of MONDAY! Even a few months ago, it was on track for by the end of the year, so this is even better.

    So I’m plugging away at sinking funds for now and for the start of 2009 (for a new computer when the current one dies, and for a nused car when the current one dies).

    I’m also pricing health insurance plans (self-insured) for likely HDHP and HSA to switch by Jan 1 2009.

    Mom is terminally ill and likely won’t be with us at Christmas. So the current plan is to plug away at the sinking funds until that all settles, then work on establishing my love drawer in early 2009. Once it’s determined what inheritance might be coming, then I’ll re-evaluate my goals. If there’s a substantial amount of money involved, that evaluation will be slow. If not, I keep plugging away with the old plan.

  • Courtney says:

    One of my (unwritten) goals for this year was to put our budget in writing. One of the reasons I hesitated was because I didn’t want to see how much we were spending for food for 4 people. LOL But I started working out our budget and we’re not spending nearly as much as I thought we were! I would have continued to have that guilt hanging over me if not for writing out our budget and knowing exactly how much is going where. Thanks for the encouragement to get past my fears and let God work!

  • Trixie says:

    Hello Crystal,

    I am so thrilled about your new savings goal for 2009! Dream big, you guys CAN do it.

    My goodness, it is so wonderful to hear about how you honor God with your money by tithing, supporting missions and giving offerings and then handling the remainder responsibly! Thank you so much for sharing your updates, they are so encouraging. I certainly hope no one thinks you are bragging here, you give God all the credit He is due.

    My husband and I are entreprenures and strongly believe in not only handling our money according to God’s instructions but using the talents he’s given us to run our own businesses. We have been so blessed.

    Yes there were many, many years we lived on very little when we were single. But those were the best learning opportunities you could imagine. I am reminded of your law school days and the old saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.



  • Jessica says:

    That’s great that you could further your educations without any loans. While I had a lot of grants, worked two jobs through college, and had private scholarships as well, I still had loans from undergraduate and graduate school, totaling $21k. I did pay those off within 2 years of completing graduate school. We got married just before I started grad school, and I completed my masters ahead of schedule: 4 quarters instead of 6, also saving on tuition that way!

    The reality is most people cannot get advanced educations these days without loans. Currently our house is our only debt, and we’ve been paying down on the principal of our mortgage as much as possible. We do have an emergency fund, which we now have to tap into to replace our heat pump at a cost of $3700. We also paid cash for a “new” 2006 car ($17000). So I think we did well this year.

  • Dona says:

    Congratulations and well done. Give yourself a pat on the back! With Christmas coming, could you share how you budget for it…I would love to hear how you handle those expenses.

  • Wow! That’s fantastic that you have accomplished all of that! Especially the paying 100% cash for a house, truely admirable! We admitedly didn’t make any financial goals for this past year, but we are happy with how we are financially at this point. Well, expect for the money we have in stocks, but I think most people are unhappy about that!

    The last two things I want to do are open up a ROTH IRA for myself since I’m now self employeed and open up 529s for the boys for college.

  • Dona says:

    Besides my Christmas question…could you also elaborate on examples of what you scrimp on…For example, we are about to get rid of cable and I don’t beleive you subscribe to cable so that would be one example. I think it would be interesting to hear what you do without that has made you reaching your goals possible.

  • Holly says:

    I am so proud of you guys! That feels funny to write, since you wouldn’t know me to pass me in a store, but heartships are made here. I wish I knew everything I know now when we were young. We did a great job and never took on debt other than a mortgage but I wish we would have done things to pay cash for a home. Everyone always were amazed at what we did with what we had but knowing so much more now I can see how we could have done what you are doing. I really encourage young people to do it- with all the sacrifice to do it so that you can forever be debt free and without worry. God bless!

  • Crystal, congratulations on reaching your goals! We too are on a Total Money Makeover and should be debt free except for our house by January 09!

    Good luck in pursuing your 100% down goal! I’m apart of an on-line board devoted to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and one young couple purchased their home this year paying 100% down. That was with one income, three small children and living in NY.

  • SK says:

    Congrats! You are a real inspiration! Thanks for sharing your goals and life with us.

  • ElizabethSue says:

    I couldn’t be happier for you guys. After all you guys went through in the past few years, it is so encouraging to see God’s Grace in your lives. God Bless

  • Michele says:

    Congratulations on acheiving your goals for 2008! And good luck for 2009. I was blessed to come from a financially solid family. My dad taught me savings well and I was a finance major in college. Because of what I learned, I was able to save over $90,000 for a home by the time I got married. (Unfortunately, around here, that only pays for a small portion of a home.) We have a 15-year mortgage that will be paid off before our 3 children go to college. Each year we put $2,000 into each of their college funds and $5,000 into each of our IRAs as well as 10% of my dh’s income into a 401K at work. I am a SAHM. We are blessed to have paid health insurance by dh’s employer. We live on a budget so we can do all of this savings. It really does work!

  • yvonne says:

    Gee, I guess I’m wishing we had more solid goals at the beginning of the year –
    We’ve been doing well for years as far as credit cards – and we’ve had 3 months expenses saved up, a year’s worth of food staples and clothing on hand.

    Last year we aimed to pay off the car and put $25K into our own “bank” using whole life insurance. (Infinite Banking Concept). Both accomplished, but we were left with about $20K to catch back up after taking a huge bite on our home in Virginia.

    Our vague goals this year were to catch back up from the heavy costs of our move, pay off the baby expenses 4K, and put about 25K more into our “bank”. I also aimed to cut way back on the costs associated with the kids’ extracurricular activities without expecting them to give up everything, and to increase our charitable offerings. Then, I discovered this site and commited to halfing my grocery budget. (Very hard, we were spending $100 a week of fruit alone!! healthy at least.) We did pay off the baby 🙂 – we did get the money into our “bank” – we did get our savings bounced back from the move and expanded our food storage to include lots of non-staples. We did double our charitable offerings (not including our basic 10% tithe) – and I was offered a job coaching both gymnastics and swimming which a) only takes me away from the kids for 6 hours a week while dh and mom watch the little ones and b) makes our extracurricular bill almost $0. 🙂

    Anyway – we did pay of the baby bills, we rounded out our food storage to include a year’s worth of staples.

    Oh, and yes, I have cut the grocery bill in half both months I’ve been using MSM. THANK YOU!!

    Bad news? My Christmas budget is almost nonexistent, my business didn’t do as well as planned, and we made little progress on our mortgage…maybe some more solid goals an a stricter shopping system will help us come out a bit better next year.

    MSM – Where’s the post on how to provide a great Christmas for 5 kids on next to nothing?? THANKS!!

  • jill a. says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing you guys buy your first home. 🙂 You’re an inspiration to many. We live debt free (except for a mortgage which is almost paid off). I’m a SAHM to three and both my DH and I believe in living way below our income. We get a kick out of our frugal life style. You’ve encouraged me to look for ways to be even more frugal. My goal for 2009 is to make a monthly grocery budget and pay off that last bit of mortgage. Keep on writing. You’re my favorite blog. 🙂

  • ModestforHim says:

    Hi Crystal, Thanks for answering my question. I guess what I am trying to get at though is if your husband is not quite the scrimper we would like him to be would it be better to just be an example?

    We are debt free also. But, I truly believe we could be doing MUCH better and getting closer to our goal of a debt free home also. Land is not cheap even in the cheap parts the country. Homes are not cheap either.

  • Way to be faithful with your finances and an encouragement to us all! I pray that you will be able to reach your 100% for a home next year! What an accomplishment in this day and time! Thanks for all the inspiration! God will continue to bless you richly!

  • Ruth Ann says:

    I know it was effort on your part combined with His blessings that enabled you to reach your goals! So I’ll just say “Way to Go!” and “Praise the Lord!”

    We are almost finished with our FPU course. We’ve checked off baby step #1 and we’ve paid off everything except one car. We’re almost to the point where we can yell, “WE’RE DEBT FREE!” And I can’t wait.

  • Melissa says:

    Congratulations Crystal and family! I look forward to reading about your 2009 goals.

  • Anonymous says:

    We’re living on a tight budget while my husband takes forever getting through grad school. We have 4 children and made only 15,000 last year. It is very disheartening. But we survived! And, even better, we have stayed out of debt! I can’t fathom the kind of goals that you have accomplished, but I am awed and inspired.
    I hope the skills we’ve learned these past 10 years will continue to help us when we can afford to ‘live better’ and look forward to doing so by choice rather than out of necessity. Kudos to you!

  • Kate says:

    My husband and I are half way thru Dave Ramsey’s FPU and are working on babystep 3. I never even thought about setting yearly financial goals, but thanks to your post, that’s exactly what we will do! 2009 will be our second year with me being a SAHM and we are truly living like no one else. Thanks for all your tips on how to save money. 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Congratulations meeting your financial goals! I too have set similar sorts of financial goals too. We actually used a portion of our emergency money to help my unemployed mother. This was certainly a stress on us since this money is not easily replenished, but it is afterall emergency money.
    This website has helped me to see that I was spending too much money at the grocery store and not using coupons enough. I do also really enjoy baking homemade things for my family. It is difficult to pay 3.50 for a prepared pizza crust when you can make one fairly easily at home for a fraction of the cost. I feel like I transmit my love to my family through well prepared home made meals.
    Well, good luck in buying a house – sounds like you are on your way. I admire you because when we saved for our downpayment we did not yet have children – made it a lot easier!

  • Jan says:

    We have no debt other than our mortgage- but I can’t even imagine saving up $30,000 in one year! That’s more than half our income! That’s pretty remarkable. I must say you were smart to rent your last home!

  • Anne says:

    How did you live when your husband was out of work for 3 months?

    Money Saving Mom here: Well, that is a testament to God’s provision! We had some savings set aside in our emergency fund but with cutting back in many areas and Jesse taking on some side jobs as well as me doing some extra online things, we never had to tap into the savings while he was searching for full-time employment.

    This was amazing to us! It again reminded us how little we can live on, if need be. And how God can multiply the loaves and fishes, too!

  • Tony's Mom says:

    Congratuations! It is quite an achievement.

  • Tiny Bird says:

    What a great year you’ve had! I know from experience accomplishing all that doesn’t come easy. We watch our budget closely and meet our goals because we decide what to spend and save all the rest, instead of deciding what the save and spend the rest. This results in a much higher savings rate than we thought possible.

  • Cherlene says:

    I have been reading your blog for a few months and you have been really helpful to me with all your tips and tricks on being frugal. I just have one question about one of your financial goals for 2008. I have been curious about this since the first time I read your blog. What type of house are you going to get for $30K? Our house is nothing special and we certainly are not in the nicest part of town and it cost us over $100K. My sister-in-law is trying to sell her house and it hoping she can get $40K for it, but she lives in a neighborhood surrounded by gangs and drug dealers. I wouldn’t think that that would be the area you’d want to move your family. I hope you’re not offended, but I am geniunely curious. We’ll be moving in a couple of years for my husband’s job and I would love to not have to take out a huge mortgage again. Thanks!

    Money Saving Mom here: Don’t worry, we’re not buying a house for 30K. That was just this year’s savings goal! 🙂 We are hopeful that we might have enough saved by the end of next year to pay 100% down on a modest house. We are hoping to get a good deal and in this current housing market, that looks very feasible. But, don’t worry, we plan to pay quite a bit more than 30K for it. 🙂

  • Crystal, I’m so excited for you!! It’s inspiring to watch you meet and beat your goals.

    Now that we are debt free, we are also planning for 100% down on a house. It seems like a bit of a wild goal, but I think we can do it. Seeing you work on it definitely helps me feel it’s possible – so thanks!


  • jnbsmom says:

    We are debt free and loving every minute of it! With the help of Money Saving Mom, we are not feeling the crunch of the financial difficulties the country is facing. We cook from scratch, have a garden, freeze and can our produce, have a couple of chickens and pretty much only shop sales buying just what we need and use. We shop at CVS and RiteAid, and they have certainly helped us in the H&B department! We buy our clothes at JCPenney and some of the other “better” stores – but only their sales, and now have beautiful clothes for the fraction of the cost of Walmart. We are really living and it’s not costing us much at all. Thanks MSM!!!

  • LANA says:

    Wow! Good for you! I am glad that the financial shape of the world has not brought the morals of people down as well!

  • Lisa H says:

    Congratulations, Crystal and Jesse!
    Praise God for His blessings and for your faithfulness.
    I admire your goal of buying a house, no mortgage! My question is, you mentioned the lower cost of living, what would a “normal” house cost where you are?
    We are doing well financially, thanks to God!, and are thrilled to be buying a house right now in our L.A. suburb. Here, we’re putting down 20%, and that’s an amount that would probably BE 100% down in a different area. (The median here is still around $400,000.) Still, we feel so, so blessed, that we were able to sell our condo in this down market and have found a foreclosure to purchase.
    Keep up the good work, and your blogs are such blessings to me!

  • Catherine says:

    I’m so happy that you met your goals this year Crystal! 🙂 I can’t wait to see where God takes you next year.

  • JC says:

    I agree with anon. We live below 20K, so I can’t imagine saving more than we make in one year. Seminary has certainly taught us to live on little.

    We didn’t have concrete financial goals (other than survival, and going through school debt-free), but I was consistent on keeping groceries/toiletries less than $300/mo. We also rent- not only for not going in debt, but we only plan on being in this area for a few more years. We don’t want to get stuck paying for 2 residences if/when we move. We have a higher insurance deductible to save money. I calculated that it would be cheaper to have a baby on that insurance than one with a lower deductible/higher monthly rates. Still waiting on the baby… but saving money at the same time!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Emma says:

    So inspiring! Thanks Crystal!

  • Jackie says:

    Wow thats so awesome for you! My husband and I are trying to think of our goals for 2009. Hopefully we can do as well as you!! I try to make 3 month goals and that seems to be working out well so far.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Wow! I am so impressed that you’ve met your goal of saving $30,000 towards the house this year.

    2007 was a rough year financially for us. Our goal was to get through it without going into debt. Which we did except for the car which we felt we had no choice but to finance half of(not an expensive new car). We just didn’t have enough saved to cover everything that happened at one time. The car was paid off by Thanksgiving last year and we ended the year with no debt and even still $1,000 in our emergency fund.

    After going through that last year, we learned a bit more about planning and saving. We were saving faithfully before and living below our means but we weren’t as strict about planning ahead.

    2008 has seen us making great strides towards savings and planning. Every dollar has had a name and our savings has many categories which we add to each month. We know exactly how much we have in each category. We aren’t perfect and have been able to see some flaws in our plan here and there but we continue to learn.

    This has all occurred only by the grace of God. We are not rich by the world’s standards but have all we need. Best of all, we know that God provides for His children regardless of the amount of money in our savings account.

    You are such an encouragement to all of us, Crystal. Thanks!

  • Minda says:

    Great post. I have added my link above. I love reading everyone’s stories!

  • Kelli says:

    I have a question: What do mean by paying 100% down on a house? I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that.

    Money Saving Mom here: That means we’re hoping to pay cash for the entire purchase price of the house. It’s just another way of saying that but when I used to say we were hoping to “pay cash for a house” everyone confused that with “paying cash for the down payment”.

    Hope that helps!

  • Ginger says:

    It is nice to read a good news financial update. Good opportunity for me to reflect back…

    We got a lot of things accomplished this year so 2009 will be a year of saving.

    This year we accomplished the following…
    Paid cash for our daughter’s wedding.
    Paid cash for a new roof on our rental property.
    Paid cash for a new cooling system on our rental property.
    Paid cash for many trips for wedding prep, wedding, graduation, moving our daughter, prepping rental property for sale, etc.
    Paid cash for a new washer/dryer set for our daughter as their wedding gift.

    In fact, we didn’t incur any new commercial credit debt. We did purchase daughter #2 a new vehicle so there is a new bill. She is in college on scholarships so this is possible.

    We are maxing out payroll deduction for retirement. We still coupon, eat leftovers, stockpile, bulk or clearance shop. We have a garden every year as well. I do what I can though I am not working to keep our expenses down…haircuts, no drycleaning almost ever, etc.

    I’d rather live on less now so that there is something extra for the rocking chair years (no so far away now) and so I don’t burden my children or family with my care.

    I love helping others save and live large on a small budget so my blogs fill that bill!


  • jennifer says:

    You are an inspiration! We had a baby this year my insurance did not cover, so we had many challenges on one full-time income and marginal part-time income to meet expenses and pay the thousands required for the doctor, hospital and ever important epidural. But, somehow, we made it. We still have some work to do to get our savings back up to where it was, but we will end the year with no credit card debt and able to pay our bills, fill our cupboard and live well within our means.

  • zsera says:

    Congrats on meeting your goals. That is AWESOME!!!

  • Mercedes says:

    Congratulations to the Payne Family. I still remember your initial post when you set your goals and how you said you might as well aim high. Your experience is a true testament that with faith in God and the willingness to work hard nothing can stop anyone from achieving their goals. Great inspiration!

  • Lori says:

    Wow, great job! We love living like no one else either. It’s nice to know others do it, too. Keep up the good work. We kind of hit a snag this year since we had a baby in March, but we had our HSA set up, so everything since she came along has been free.

  • Erin says:

    Thank you so much for doing this challenge this year. It really got our family to think about our finances and do something to improve them. Thanks!

  • I read in a previous post that you have set up a mutual fund for your house savings. Do you have any recommendation in this area, or could you direct me to where I could get some guidance?


  • Great post, I just wanted you to know I posted about your post on my blog. I did get the link to your site to work I just have not figured out how to linkback. (Is that what it is called when you get notified someone posted about your blog).

    I am new to blogger.

    Thank you for your informative blog!

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