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.