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How We Saved $60,000 in 10 Months!

saving 60000

Guest post from Elizabeth of Reluctant Landlord

From August, 2014, through June, 2015, my husband was deployed on the USS Vincent. I knew that his time away was going to have some incredible challenging moments… and I knew the key to my success was having a large goal that took focus to achieve. This would allow me to not only feel like I had something to show for his time away, but also something that took my mind off him being gone.

My dream is to eventually be able to stay home with my children and run our rental business on the side. Before my husband was deployed we had 5 rentals properties; and while he was gone, my goal was to buy two more properties!

I knew that if I could save $60,000 while he was gone, we would be able to achieve both of these dreams!

Here are nine thing that helped me accomplish my goals.

1. We Downsized Our Housing

I moved out of my 4-bedroom 2-bath house that cost me almost $1700 (utilities and mortgage) and move into our deployed friends’ much smaller house for $650 a month.

Living in a much smaller space was less than comfortable, however, it saved us a significant amount of money and allowed us to rent out our larger home. Not only did we save almost $1200 a month, we were able to rent our house out for more than our mortgage.

2. I Practiced Bare Minimum Shopping

Since my husband was deployed on a boat and I had no room for another ounce of stuff. I only bought what was absolutely necessarily. There was no extra shopping because there was no place to put it!

3. I Took a Higher Paying, Higher Demand Position

Six months before my husband deployed, I was offered a great job at the next county over. It was a part-time position with no benefits, but perfect for our lifestyle.

Then, right before he deployed, I was offered a huge promotion and pay increase for a position that would also require many more hours. While the extra hours meant I had less of a family life, this pay increase went along way to help me achieve my goal.

4. We Lived Off of One Income

We have always lived off of one income by putting all of my income into a separate account. This way, it’s more difficult for me to get at the money. 🙂

5. We Put Every Penny of Rental Income Into Savings

Our other rentals made a little over $1000 a month. Through tight lease management and working with our tenants, we were able to fix many of the maintenance calls that came up while he was gone. This allowed us to put every penny of our rental income toward our new house purchases.

6. I Made Large-Batch Freezer Meals for One

A good friend of mine encouraged me to learn to make freezer meals for one so that I could eat healthier and also save money. This was so successful and it reduced food spoilage!

7. I Started a Blog

I knew I needed something to keep me occupied in the evenings, since my husband was mostly unreachable. A friend encouraged me to start a blog, and I soon realized how much I enjoyed writing and teaching others about how to be successful as a landlord. Now I had something to do at night and another income source.

8. I Had a Cheerleader

If you ask me, it’s so important to have someone who cheers you on and lifts you up on bad days.

Operating on such a tight budget had many “moments”, and the main reason I made it through these moments was due to the cheerleaders in my life. They held my hand let and pushed me to remember my goals.

9. I Made it Fun

Even though we were on a very tight budget, we still made sure there was enough money for me to visit my husband on three different port calls, and to do a cheap California adventure with 2 friends over Christmas. Thanks to shopping around for cheap flights and thinking outside the box, we did it all and it didn’t hurt our budget!

Being a military spouse has taught me that any lemon, no matter how sour, can be turned into lemonade — some just takes a little more sugar than others!

I hope my story inspires you to turn those crummy experiences into amazing life-changing moments that bless you for the rest of your life. While I would never have chosen for my husband to go on a 10-month deployment, it turned into a very positive experience.

What hard situations have you turned into positive and life-changing situations?

Elizabeth is an entrepreneur who is turning her love of rental properties into a work-from-home position. Follow her at Reluctant Landlord.

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  • Barbara says:

    Love his! My husband is also
    navy & deploying next month. This was very helpful & inspiring. I’ve been getting back into blogging as well.

    • Barbara,

      I am so happy you found it helpful. This was my first deployment. While it had its moments, we were able to turn it into an amazing blessing. I wish you the best on your deployment. What is your blog? I would love to follow it and connect.


      • Catherine says:

        Thanks Elizabeth i am glad i have come across your post today amd it was indeed helpful, my husband is currently away for studies and i have been schooling too but i am always looking for something to do that will be fun ,keep me busy and also be a source of income, i would like to blog and i would kindly request if you would guide me on how to go about it because i dont know how to start, i will be glad to walk with you, Catherine.

  • What an inspirational story! First off, thank you to your husband and to YOU for serving our country. My sister was a military wife for 5 years. As the family who gets left behind, YOU have one of the toughest jobs on the planet, so thank you.

    As much as no one likes the struggles in life, it is often these times of struggle that push us forward to greatness!

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational journey! Congratulations!

    • Thank you for your kind words. This life has had its moments but it has taught me that every lemon can be turned into lemonade. Some just take a little more sugar (i.e. out of the box thinking, hard work and perseverance).


  • Kristin Mohr says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. This is very inspirational to me, as I’m trying to start my own home based business so that I can stay home with my 3 kids! Great tips and ideas. I will be looking into the freezers meals first!

    • The freezer meals were awesome. I loved that when I came home from work I could stick them in the oven frozen. I would turn on the oven and than as it warmed up it slowly defrosted the food and than cooked it. By the time I was done changing and showered my dinner was done. I would make large batches of 6 to 7 different meals one day a month. Than I could rotate through them throughout the weeks.

  • Going through deployments are so hard. I’m so glad you found a way through it that was productive.

  • Nicole says:

    I would LOVE to hear some of your tips on freezer meals for one person! (Or just cooking in general for one person!) I am on a mission right now to make affordable, healthy, quick meals for myself. Is that too much to ask in a meal plan? 😉

    • Nicole,

      That is not too much to ask for. I was the exact same way, affordable, quick and easy enough for someone who is not very compenttient in the kitsch (ME)!. This is the post where I wrote about how I created freezer meals for one person. The meals I made were all casserole type dishes so they went right into the oven frozen when i got home. I would make them in large batches. So one recipe batch would produce 20ish servings. I would do 2-3 big batch cooking for 3 weeks. That would give me approximately 9 different meals. Than I just ate off them.

      Good Luck!


  • Bri says:

    We have really tightened the purse strings. We buy what is a need “not a want” (most of the time), coupon, cook from scratch (about 90+% of the time). We are reducing portion sizes at meals to cut cost and a few pounds. American portion sizes have really gotten out of control, so we are trying to break that habit. For fun we bought season passes to Colonial Williamsburg (during the BOGO pass sale). Now we can have day trips whenever we want and it’s near free beaches etc. I cut my own hair and groom our puppy too. I have rabbit ears on the bedroom tv, but I am considering doing the same in the living room. It’s saves about $10 per tv per month. The man cave still has Fios tv services – it’s my husbands one splurge. I don’t have a smartphone – just a basic Cricket Wireless $25 unlimited talk/text phone. My husband does have a smartphone from work.

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