It's November and guess what that means? It's time for our monthly financial check-up. How did you do in October?
I've been waiting with bated breath to be able to post our monthly financial update because this is another huge milestone for us. And I finally get to share…
We began October at 69% of our house savings goal and we ended the month at 75%!
While it looks like we're likely not quite going to make our goal of being at 100% by the end of 2009, it is incredibly exciting for us to be at 75%!
It is hard to go against the grain, to live counter-culturally, to be self-disciplined.
It's hard to forgo instant gratification and stop comparing yourself with the "Jones's".
It's hard when you're the only one packing a lunch, driving an old car, wearing thrift store clothes, and clipping coupons.
It's hard when you see other people just going out and buying whatever they want whenever they want it when you're barely able to afford paying $17 for groceries that week but you're committed to paying 100% cash for everything.
None of where we are today has happened by taking the easy road. It's the result of God's grace and enabling, it's the result of our parents' wise examples and training, it's the result of a strong work ethic instilled in us from the time we were youngsters, it's the result of setting big goals and sticking with those goals day in and day out–even when we felt like giving up.
When I look at that 75% house savings number in our bank account, I know that it is worth it to choose to do hard things. We've learned so many valuable lessons along the way, our struggles have matured us, our victories have emboldened us.
And we know beyond any shadow of a doubt, that making short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term goals is every bit worth it.
(If you're new here, be sure to check out this post where I explain in detail why we've committed to this "crazy" idea to pay 100% down on a home. )
How did you do in October? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2009, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes and/or failures in October and, if you'd like, the areas
you hope to improve in November. 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
Mandi Harris says
You inspire me! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 Congratulations!
Thanks for sharing your experiences and triumphs. My husband is starting law school in the fall, and I’m grateful to have your examples to follow.It helps to know we won’t be only ones who will struggle to make it through without using debt!
Great job you’re an inspiration !!!!!
Jennifer H. says
Congratulations! Thanks so much for sharing again!
My husband and I have been married for 19 months. In that time, we paid off my student loan to become debt free, saved up 6 months of living expenses, finished funding my husband’s seminary degree, and now we’re saving for a 20% down payment. We’d love to save 100%, but we’re starting with a smaller goal. I don’t know when we’ll end up buying our home, but we’ll keep saving and saving until then. You are truly an inspiration!
Thank you for your post. We drive old vehicles too. I’m so proud of you and your husband. We just sat down and created our first budget. We have been wasting a lot of money. We do take our lunches to work. My husband’s income decreased tremendously this summer. He has a new job now. He is making twice the money he used to make. We are preparing to build up an emergency fund of $1K as recommended by Ramsey. Then we are planning to do the Debt Snowball. I’m so excited. I pray that we can do all of this, Lord willing.
Some people must not realize that doctors and lawyers as a whole are not good with money. They tend to spend more than they make. What you and your husband and doing is rare. Keep up the good work!
Stephanie H says
May God have the glory! I thank you for your continued dedication of sharing your knowledge and wisdom in the finances area. I agree with others when I say that you are an inspiration and that the negative comments are sad to see. My husband and I just closed every major credit card we had yesterday. (A credit falicy- but it doesn’t matter if you’re not using credit!) Now we’re paying them off, selling our only vehicle with a loan and putting our house on the market. Homeownership wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when you’re struggling to make it AND going into the ministry. God showed me how I was “of the world” because I was chained to it with debt. Everyone has a path to walk and I am thankful you are sharing yours with all of us. Thank you for the encouragement.
Martha Artyomenko says
That is neat you are getting close to your goal! I know you sacrifice alot to do that. It is neat because you can do what is important to you.
I think it is easy for people to read this and read either and be jealous of you or that think you are looking down on others for not choosing the same path. I like to think you are not though. I am so thankful to be able to be in a home as it would never be possible for us to save that much money with a disabled husband, but God blessed us in other ways. It is easy when you are transparent with your life for others to judge you. Anyhow, good for you!!
Congratulations. I love your blog so much because you changed my whole outlook on money. When you see your self as a steward of it then you are more careful with it.
I’m doing well budgeting and saving however I feel like I’m hampered by kindness. I know that sounds mad but my family are used to giving large christmas presents and I feel I have to do the same in return. I feel mean only giving them token presents this year. I have told them all how much I’m spending and they haven’t changed their amounts. Its times like these when budgeting is hard. I have tried to make a few presents as well for the personal touch.
In light of this, I can understand how difficult it must have been for you especially in light of your husband’s salary. I think sometimes when you do earn that little more you then have to battle with people preconceptions all the time of what you can and can’t afford. What do you do for Christmas presents for your nieces and nephews? And for your own children?
Its times like these that makes it hard to live with.
Good luck and keep going
Hi Money saving mom,
This is the first time that I have visited your blog and am impressed by your goals. I used to think that my hubby and I were the only crazy ones out there, but it is nice to to know that we are in good company. We bought our 1st home 4.5 years ago with 20% down and paid it off in full just a few months ago. It was a wonderful feeling and even more so now that my husband getting laid off Friday! It such a relief knowing that we are not in any debt for house, car, school, or credit cards. Neither one of us have exceptionally high incomes, but we are very careful in what we spend. I can’t remember having eaten at a restaurant without a B1G1 coupon, we never order anything but water to drink, we take advantage of all kinds of free activities for entertainment, coupon, give gifts within are means, take advantage of freebies and even used only a space heater in our master bedroom instead of turning on the main heat to heat a whole house for just two people. Boy it used to be so cold that my husband would say he had to go to Antarctica if I asked him to get me a glass of water from the kitchen. Ok so maybe the heat thing was a little extreme, but it was so worth it now that we have no debt, I am a SAHM and we are still not freaking out b/c my hubby has been laid off. Kudos to all those that save, set goals, don’t compare themselves to the Joneses, and do what is right for them and their families.
Congratulations on making it to 75% of your savings, that is very exciting.
I didn’t get to previously post this, but wanted to share that at the end of August I paid off one of my school loans. It was a variable rate loan for 30,000 and my goal was to pay it off in five years. I am excited that I was able to make my five year goal. Using coupons, the poor economy and the possibility of layoffs at my work and encouragement on your blog all pushed me to make my goal a reality. I ended up paying $10,000 in interest and can only imagine what it would have been had I not met my five year goal. My husband and I celebrated with a small & frugal vacation to Myrtle Beach. I still have a low fixed rate student loan left and had hoped to pay it off in another year. However, my car started to have major transmission problems and was getting too costly/dangerous to fix. I ended up having to buy a new to me 2009 Honda Civic. I was disappointed that I did not have time to get a downpayment together and took out a loan, but my plan is to pay it off in half the time or three years. Everyone has told me the Civic was a good choice, so I am hoping to see that in the coming years. I wish I did not have to take out loans for school, but that was my only choice. So now, I am diligently working to pay off my other loan and car in less time. I am happy with my progress though as nearly none of my friends have put a dent in their school loans yet. I am excited about starting to add more to our savings for a downpayment for a home also. Thanks for your encouragement!
Well, that’s just so awesome that you are paying full price for a house. I bought a house this year but had only saved up 20% because I am impatient and didn’t want to wait 6 years to save up 100%. Also, I was worried interest rates and house prices would raise by that time. I see that lots of people have asked you approximately what is the cost of the house that you are saving for, but you have never answered these questions. Are you just being cautious about telling people how much money you have?
A huge congratulations to you and your family!
Congratulations on making it to 75% ! That is amazing!
We were just sitting on the couch( which has a hole in it) last week talking about how much we wanted to fix our kitchen and our backyard NOW instead of waiting the two or three years we need to. We just reminded each other that our goal of being debt free is important and that by this time next year we will be so close. We won’t have our house paid off for maybe 7 years. But that is 23 years shorter than the mortgage is for. If our old neighborhood had not actually been dangerous and ahem, infested- we would have rented for two more years and it would have been a lot easier financially. But we would have gone crazy.
congratulations! Our family has been blessed by the work of God in your family. What grace it is from Him to use your money for His glory, very wisely. We are thrilled by what He has allowed you to do with your money. Thank you for sharing and by grace many will come to Christ by your example.
You are awesome!! Dont’ listen to the negative. You are doing the right thing and you are not self-righteous. Keep up the good work!
Well, this is the second month that I have begun to track my grocery/supplies and cat supplies purchases. Wow, i didn’t know I spent that much money of month. This is my second month of couponing. My monthly savings is at 54%.
Hopefully I will be able to bring my out of pocket down in the next couple of months, because I have a great stockpile of stuff because of couponing.
Thanks so much,
It’s hard when you’re the only one packing a lunch, driving an old car, wearing thrift store clothes, and clipping coupons.
I hate to break it to you you are NOT the only one doing these.
Good job though on being able to save money which means your husband is still employed and you are still able to live frugal like you have been since day 1 of being married.That is really why you are close to buying a house.
Totally agreeing with what most of you are saying. It’s not about how much Crystal and her family make, the point of these updates every month is to inspire!!!
Rebecca R says
I was just wondering, what is an average house in the neighborhood you are looking go for? Does your goal money include an additional amount for all the closing costs (I just closed and they were about $5,000 without me having to prepay a year of taxes, which you should not have to do if you are paying all cash.)
Is this your first home you will be buying?
Are you buying a home you plan on living in for a long time?
It is all so exciting!!!
I’ve been thinking about this post in the last day and it really makes me want to do better. We have followed Dave Ramsey for about 5 years now but we still aren’t on target. Sometimes I let being a SAHM with 2 kids and one on the way give me a free pass to spend. We do have money but we’re not using it the way we should. As a result we’re in a situation where we desperately need a (slightly) larger house and not even enough cash saved for a down payment. I am going to go through and read what you’ve been doing with your financial goals and hope that it will kick us in gear. We need a new plan!
I love these updates – 75%?!? – WAHOO! What a blessing!
Crystal, you and I are the same age (have similar backgrounds – home schooling family, etc.) and even though our lives are very different (I’m married, in grad school, w/ no kids) it is amazing how much camaraderie I feel with you over these savings goals! We’re currently living in a 400 sq ft. apartment to save up for my husband to go to medical school. It is so exciting to see that savings account inch up every month! Thanks so much for the encouragement!
Financial relief says
You are your family is amazing. I am very impressed with your patience. I have learned so much from you. I hope you realize the impact you have on people. May God bless you and your family.
Congratulations on getting closer to your goal and thanks so much for your inspiration!!
Thanks for your inspiration! I really love to read your house fund updates! I just added up our net worth and house fund project a few weeks ago and was feeling a little blue. I am in California and am saving up money possibly to buy my home in cash. Sometimes it’s really hard when I am up an extra 2 hours ironing all of my husbands work clothes, when my friends tell me they use “the cleaners” and they have a maid (even if it’s just a few hours). We are committed to our goal and it makes us happy. To all of the negative people making comments out there, first I suggest that if you don’t like the web page don’t read it. And secondly if you continue to read it and feel the need to post negative things like that, maybe you should consider getting some psychological therapy. Crystal seems pretty happy with her choices. And I’ve got to say my hubbie and I are really happy with our choices. It’s brought us even closer together in our marriage…and we have NEVER had a fight over money and being able to pay our bills! It’s liberating to think that even if we don’t purchase a home, at least we could invest the money and maybe hubbie could cut back on his hours. Crystal keep up the fantastic job! I’m very impressed!
I’m so excited FOR YOU! That is awesome. I’m sure I am not alone when I say you’re definitely not the “only one packing a lunch, driving an old car, wearing thrift store clothes, and clipping coupons”! (even before the economy tanked and it wasn’t the “in” thing to do…)
While I also applaud you for your accomplishment, I have to somewhat agree with what one of the earliest commenters said about judging how others spend their money (a comment that some have interpreted as “negative”, but I thought was well written and insightful). I definitely think that too many people in our country have bought, and continue to buy, a lot of things they shouldn’t, but I also have a bit of an issue when people talk about what they can/can’t “afford”. There are lots of people that can truly only afford to buy $17 worth of groceries because that’s all their income allows and they are living paycheck to paycheck (and not buying stuff they don’t need). They truly can not “afford” to spend more. You could “afford” to spend more than $17 on groceries, but you choose not to so you can choose to put your money elsewhere. And that’s a great choice….we make similar ones (though not as drastic) so that we can choose to save a lot of money and do things like travel with our family. I have friends that complain that they can’t “afford” to travel to visit family, but then they buy expensive camera equipment without batting an eye. So could they “afford” to travel? Yes….but they choose to use their money in other ways. And that’s their right and their business, as only spending $17 on groceries is yours! Just my two cents! 🙂
WAY to GO! I say there will always be haters.
You are awsome and I love your site!
I think about it a lot, how much we consume, it’s like Americans constantly have to buy everything in sight. So yes I am trying real hard to cut back this Christmas and and just be less about consuming.
Such great progress!! An inspiration! Thanks for sharing!
I know that people think that because Crystal’s husband is a lawyer, they must be rich, so “of course” they can save tons of money. BUT…..that’s really beside the point. There are people at every salary point who are drowning in debt because they do not manage their money well.
Besides, no matter what they make, the point is that Crystal is sharing what THEY do to manage money. I mean, that’s what everyone keeps asking for, right? A peek into their lives for inspiration? I find it strange that on posts like these where she’s so open and honest, so many people post defensive comments about why her method doesn’t work for them.
If her way doesn’t work for you, then that’s fine! Read the other posts about coupons and move on!
Erin in Ohio says
Yay! Yay! Yay! I haven’t been following your blog long, but I’m trying to take small steps to be better about pinching the pennies and saving them! I really appreciate all you do! And, like you, we have a very worthwhile goal to reach – we are saving up to pay cash for our China adoption! We are huge Dave Ramsey fans so we already have everything but the house paid off. I’ll be here to celebrate with you when you reach your goal! As Dave loves to say….Be Weird, Normal is BROKE!
congrats….you are inspiring….I’ve tried to send this message to my sons, who recieved countless credit card offers when in college, only to be told by me to turn them down & cut them up…We had to buy on credit years ago when in college and couldn’t afford a new set of tires when the old ones were worn to nubs, etc. but your blog offers a new generation a way of seeing things…hope you will be in your new house soon(I’m assuming you don’t life in CO!)
dana ticknor says
good for you! This year we accomplished our goal of getting completely out of debit. It is SO FREEING!!! It makes me absolutely sick-to-my-stomach to add up the money that we had paid in interest on debt in the past! I wish that we had been taught, (and had thought!) better money management. We thought that we had to own a house right away, or buy a ‘more dependable’ car, or buy that new washer & dryer; justifying our indebtedness. It was our choice, and this is not a judgement on anyone else, we just greatly wish that we had made different choices in the beginning.
Stick with it – I don’t think that anyone can understand the incredible burden that is taken off when you realize that you don’t owe anyone anything – until you are there yourself (i sure didn’t). I am excited for you to reach your goal of paying cash for a house – keep us posted! 😉
Domestic Me says
Thanks so much for your blog. Reading your blog inspires me and makes me realize that we need to do whatever it takes to be debt free. THANKS!!!
Crystal, Keep up the great work. Don’t let the negative comments bother you. A lot of the negativity stems from jealousy. I’m very proud of what you have done and continue to do. Keep sharing and keep up the GREAT work.
Denise C. says
Self-Discipline. Those two words right there are something I am struggling with right now. My husband and I purchased a beautiful town home at the end of September. (We rented for 4 years before this purchase). My struggle is that I have a list (semi-long, I’ll be honest) of things I want to do to our home.
My dear sweet husband, tells me to pace myself, and to plan out projects. Me? I’m more of a leap girl, then figure the rest out later.
I soooooo do not want to be like that anymore. I’ve been reading your past posts on “Financial Check-Ups” and they are so inspiring!
Maybe, just maybe, I can become a look before I leap girl.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
You are AMAZING!! I am so incredibly thrilled for you that you are going to buy your house with 100% down!! Think of how rich you will feel when your goal is accomplished! You’ll be living like no one else!
Yeah!! Congrats! At that rate you will be buying your new home before Easter! People think my husband and i are strange because we don’t need to have new cars, and a new house, or new things. We set aside spending money for ourselves each month, but we see the big picture too! We started trying to live debt free this year too. We own my husbands car and in 2 months we will own mine, but for the big picture within the next year or two we will own our future and not a bank!
congratulations! but I totally agree w/ “That’s great that you live in an area of the country where paying 100% cash for a home is realistic”
Last night I had to tell my teenage son some very sad news… that his former girlfriend’s home has a foreclosure sign in the yard. For the past five years we have had to stick to our principles with him as he has experienced her lifestyle – her $300 blue jeans in the 8th grade, her $200 Chanel sunglasses,her brand new BMW vs. our 20 year old car, her parents making him feel inadequate because of our frugal lifestyle. We may not have the money they had and never will, but we don’t have the debt they have and never will. Peace of mind is worth more than any amount of money. Keep up the good work!!
Congrats Crystal! It is great to see that your hard work is paying off! Very inspiring!
Oh and can people stop with all the snide, jealous, rude comments. It really is sick to read some of those. If you don’t have anything nice to say…
I think it’s hard to be “out there” with your finances without some readers feeling resentful or like you are showing off. I write a very small blog about how our family saved money over the past 20 years (I am 42) since I graduated college, and I struggle trying to give real life examples without showing off. Having said that, a big part of our financial success was having our parents pay for college. We did not start out with debt like many people who are struggling did. I believe Jesse had his law school paid for, too. Also, what Crystal and Jesse do in the midwest is not necesarily what is appropriate for those of us on the coasts. In my case, we put $70,000 down on a $290,000 home 9 years ago. It is now worth $550,000. Had we tried to save up for the full amount we never would have gotten there because the housing prices went up way faster than we could have saved. For us, buying with a mortgage made the most financial sense. Buying a $100,000 house on the other hand, might not. My point is that everyone needs to do what works best for themselves based on where they are and where the backgrounds they came from. I believe Crystal’s intention is to inspire readers to get out of debt and save for their goals, not to do what she and her husband are doing.
Michele: You are right on the money! I sometimes want to just skip these entries each month since I know that some people get stuck in the numbers and lose sight of the message.
Not everyone is in a position to be doing what we’re doing. We’re young, we’re healthy, our parents have given us a strong financial foundation, we don’t have debt, we live in an inexpensive part of the country, and we’ve worked very hard for seven years to have a good income all the while living within our means or below our means.
Now that our income has increased, we continue to live significantly beneath our income so that we can give generously and save a large portion of our income. Someday, our income might be drastically decreased or we might have much higher bills than we have right now–only God knows what the future holds for us!–but we want to be wise stewards of what we’ve been given now so that long-term, we’ll continue to be able to take care of our family and bless others. We have big giving goals for the future and we see being debt-free as one way to allow us to be able to achieve those!
For those of you who are new here, I highly encourage you to read this post where I explain more why we’ve chosen to do what we’re doing:
I don’t expect everyone to agree with us or to do what we’re doing, but I do hope that our story can serve as an inspiration to you to do what you can with what you have and be willing to make short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term goals.
Wow, I read through some of the comments and am quite surprised at some of the snarky ones. First and foremost, congratulations on what you have achieved, and Thank You for all of your information and inspiration. You have surely helped many to get through their tough moments, or just realize how to manage their money better. Second, I have not seen you pass judgment, you state specifically how hard it is to remember your goals when you see others purchasing items that are not in your budget. Which is true, it’s hard not to buy that 6-pack of soda when all you have is enough for milk and bread. Third, working in a law firm, I know our jr. associates make about $100 to $175 an hour, which they don’t get to keep in their pocket – it goes to the firm to cover costs, overhead, maintenance, staff, etc. Not to mention the close to $170k in student loans that most of them have, plus credit card debt to buy the “appropriate attire”, the mortgage, the fancy car payments, and the seriously long hours that they have to endure to “prove their worth”. I look forward to your posts and review many of them for continued inspiration and willpower.
Good for you! When I read these updates I wonder if you have a plan for home repairs too. We’ve bought two houses and replaced two air conditioning systems within the first months of moving in, so that is why I ask!
I don’t do everything you do, but love to read what you’re doing and get ideas. I live on the East Coast so paying 100% for a house probably wouldn’t happen for me, but hopefully by paying extra on our mortgage each month and making wise improvements to our house we can some day pay cash for land in Ohio. Everybody has to do what’s right for their situation.
I do find it funny that some people leave negative comments (here and in other posts) about the free produce you get. Do they think that you have gotten where you are by free carrots alone?
Linda Walsh says
You are a huge inspiration. I lack so much will power when it comes to money. I know that I want to save and be debt free, but we spend so much money eating out. That is our huge problem. One, is that I don’t plan ahead and work with what I have. Second, my dh works so much and that is our only recreation as a family.
I hope to one day say that I am also on the road to being debt free. In the mean time, I love reading about all your milestones!!!
Keep on keepin’ on! You guys are doing great. Please keep sharing these posts as they are so inspirational to so many people.
I am also happily-renting and debt-free. It took a lot of hard work to get here and I still have a long way to go before home-ownership but it feels SOOOOOO good! Is that self-righteous enough???
Don’t let bitter, envious people get you down. You are doing great – you’re an awesome example to all of us!
I need some clarification! My husband and I are newly wed undergrads and are seriously considering setting a “100% down” goal. OK, the following question my husband and I have for you is rather complicated, so hang on! 100% down sounds great, but, in this country’s and most cities’ current economical status, how is putting 100% down on a house better than putting 75% down and paying a ridiculously low mortgage for a short period of time? With the monthly mortgage rate that comes after having put down 75%, could you not pay off the entire home mortgage (plus whatever interest rate is given to you) in the same amount of time or even faster than it would take you to keep paying rent on an apartment while saving the extra 25% In other words, is your monthly rent now not more than the cost of interest would be on your house, since you are basically spending and not saving your current monthly rent? Please help me to understand and thank for everything.
First off, Congratulations on meeting your goal! I wanted to pipe in regards to the comments. I don’t really take them as being negative, I just think it is more that some things work for some people while others do not. There is nothing “wrong” with driving a new car or shopping,or even having a mortgage. I feel the issue is when people are so overextended that they rely on “stuff” to make them feel good, but they cannot even cover the basics because they consistantly live outside of their means. I say this because I have been there and guilty of the above. I have since re-evaluated some things and while I still like to shop, it no longer consumes every aspect of my life and I can pay my bills. When people run up credit card bills they know they cannot pay, buy a house or vehicle they know they cannot afford, and then file bankruptcy, etc., it hurts ALL of us so it is frustrating! Being frugal can be a little too extreme if it consumes you. I have a friend who is very frugal and she is very quick to criticize how others, including myself, spend and I do not feel it is her place. Just because something works for one does not mean it is right for everyone. Anyhow, thanks for the great blog and congrats again!
You have inspired me and my husband, through your example. We have quite a bit of debt and we just thought that is the way to live. When I started getting into the blogging world I came across yours. Ever since then I have discovered that we do not have to live in debt and we hope to be out of debt within one year! That would not include our house, but that would be the next step. There are days when I spend so much time trying to get the best deal and I wonder if it is really worth it. Then I come home and show my husband my success and it is all worth it! We are going to be out of debt and that alone is worth it all. Thanks so much!
Lindsey Swinborne says
I’m so happy for you Crystal and have been following your progress for a few years on your blogs. I am excited to see someone be so counter-cultural in our day and age; it truly is an inspiration.
I can understand where some of the discouraged people are coming from. Even though you’ve had VERY tough times in the past and have lived off of little, when you do the math, right now you are saving $10-12,000 a month (by my local town’s percentages for a fixer-upper home) or $4-$6,000 per month (for your local area’s percentages). Even if you were only saving the very bottom line of $3,000 per month, that would still be more than our total income for a family of 5 each month. Seeing these kinds of numbers can make those of us on lower incomes feel very discouraged. This is when I remind myself not to compare because God has called us down different roads, we have husbands in different job fields, and God works in different ways for different people. Unless God REALLY surprises us, I don’t foresee us buying a home debt-free, but that’s okay since we will be doing things as carefully as possible and paying it off as soon as possible even with taking a mortgage. And most people who buy in our town turn around and make $30,000 on their home just 2 years later, above what they paid for the house. So, that’s one plus of living in a pricey area.
God has obviously called you to be a leader in the debt-free/frugal living world and He is the One blessing you, as you said. This being said, we shouldn’t envy, but be happy for you and take what we can from your example, even if we can only save 1/10th of a percent per month towards a home. I also try to remember the sacrifices you have made in working at home, providing us with all of the deals every week at all of the stores, and the way that you have been motivated and continually hard-working as an entrepreneur. If we all had that determination, maybe we could all save as much as you do every month too!
All in all, thanks for sharing and I’m inspired by you.
It’s been so exciting to watch your progress. Thank you for sharing the story as inspiration!
I would like to point out a few things to critics:
Yes, they live in a part of the country with lower house pricing…but they CHOSE to move to a part of the country with lower house pricing.
Yes, he is a lawyer, but getting that degree took years of bare-budget living and hard work from both of them.
Yes, frugal types may be conscious of their money, but they may also be some of the most generous. I suspect that Crystal’s family follows Matthew 6:1-4, which commands Christians to give alms in secret.
Just think of all the generous giving her budget will allow when she has no house payment!
Angela Schrader says
Congratulations on reaching three-quarters of your goal, Crystal! Ignore these naysayers – I’ve been reading your blogs for years, and I know your story. I’ve read of the sacrifices you’ve made in the past and continue to make so that you can pay cash for your house. For people commenting about your husband’s income, it’s none of their business. Your longtime readers know the sacrifices you made to get through law school with no loans, and you get to reap the benefits now of really sacking money away for your goals. Kudos to you! I’m proud of your efforts…and like many, am inspired. And for what it’s worth, you have never seemed to me to have a “self-righteous” tone in any of your lifestyle choices. To each his own, right?? Y’all keep up the good work. I will rejoice with you on the day you realize your dream of being a homeowner. A real and true homeOWNER!!! Go, Crystal!
Hi Crystal – I went back and read my comment and sure hope you didn’t take it as a negative one. I was trying to address the comment of the lady who said she couldn’t do what you do because they don’t have an attorney’s income. My point was that SOMETIMES attorneys make above-average income, but even then there are other expenses that other professions may not have, and some attorneys are like small-business owners who have the unfortuante situation of not knowing if one year will be as financially rewarding as the previous. Keep up the work – I visit your blog daily!
Olathe mom says
You are so close!! Go girl!! I, like another woman commenting, am hoping-against-hope that in some miraculous feat, you somehow make it to 100% by January 1st. If you don’t, you’ll still be amazing! Can’t wait to see your posting of the house you OWN!!!! I also hope when you get there, you all buy a new outfit to wear while standing in front of the house for a photo– and go out to dinner to celebrate afterward…at someplace that doesn’t have a value menu!!!
As usual, I love seeing your progress toward your house. I can’t wait to see the post that you have finally reached your goal! I’m cheering you on, Crystal. Keep on saving!
We all stand behind you and pray for your family. Most of the time hurtful comments come from jealous people.
You have inspired a lot of us to save, this was the first monthly check up I have done and I would have never done any of it if it weren’t for this blog!!!
Keep up the great work, we are cheering you and your family on to the finsh line!!!
Angela O says
You have waaaaaay more positive comments than negative. A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I’m so excited for you.
Congrats Crystal! Just out of curiosity, do you use a financial software program, or just Excel to track expenses? And how often do you and/or your husband go over everything? Just once a month, or more often? Thanks!!
Heart Reflections Live says
These negative comments make my heart so sad. I have followed Crystal and Jesse’s story since the start of her old blog, and can vouch for their integrity, and faithfulness to God.
They are also probably great givers prefering not to “let the left hand know what the right is doing”.
They have put in the hard yards, trusting God for His provision, when in the early days, they lived on next to nothing. I still remember the story of the goldfish going hungry- and surviving.
Congratulations on your success so far- we will rejoice with you when you reach your goal, no matter what our financial status may be at the time.
You are definitely an inspiration!
Thank you for this post. I know the negative comments hurt.I thank you for sharing everything like you do.You have really helped my family with this blog.I pray God keeps blessing your family.
The Cozy Country Home says
That’s great that you live in an area of the country where paying 100% cash for a home is realistic. Unfortunately, where we, and many others, live, the median, basic home cost is $450,000, so 100% cash is highly unlikely, along with the $8000+ (and quickly climbing) property taxes we have each year. We accomplish our goal when we are able to put 20% down…and reap the benefits of no PMI, as well as having a tax write off each year.
Congratulations! You are such a source of strength and inspiration! You have inspired me to save, to improve the quality of the meals that I serve and to pay off all of my nonmortgage debt this year. I was also able to pay my mortgage down about $15,000 this year with all of your help. Savings on small things add up and make a HUGE difference to our bottom line.
At the end of the day, it is not what you make, but what you have left!
Keep up the great work.
I am super excited for you and think your goal is great. My DH and I bought our current home with just 5% down in 2001 and paid it off in 2007 so we too are weird.
Having bought two houses I am a bit curious about how you arrived at what dollar amount your goal is? Both times we bough we had a rough budget, but not a hard figure. There are so many other variables beside just the purchase price. A cheaper house many not be the best deal if needs structural repair, will have higher utility costs, causes you to spend more commuting and traveling to the places you need to go (the store, library, church, etc) and higher taxes. A more expensive house might cost less in the long run kwim? I am still somewhat dumbfounded at how much we spend on housing with a paid for house because of our high property tax rate.
Have you looked in your market? Have you and your DH had talked much about would be good house for your family and what your expectations are?
The comments are very interesting. We are all from such diverse backgrounds! Yes, these updates can be discouraging to me and at the same time encouraging, strange but true. I come from a very spendthrifty kind of background with not a clue how to manage money when I was first married. It is very discouraging to have to learn everything the hard way with none of the ‘privileges’ that may come with parents in good financial shape themselves to help you start off life the right way. I believe we are slowly but surely getting there, but oh, how difficult it is.
Darlene Craig says
I am so inspired by you and your family. It makes me know that I can do anything. Congratulations!
sorry that there are negative comments here, Crystal…you are most definitely an inspiration to me! Thank you for showing me that it takes more than winning the lottery or getting a huge settlement or inheritance! Wealth CAN be obtained IF you are willing to make the sacrifices early on…brown bagging it, driving older cars, coupons, ect. You have helped me a LOT on the road to financial freedom! So, THANK YOU from the bottom of my checkbook 🙂
You truely are an inspiration! Congrats on reaching 75%.
Chris P says
My dh and I just started on the road to being debt free…we have a long way to go. You are an inspiration and challenge to me along this journey. Congratulations on meeting this new milestone!! What a feeling it will be to be able to put 100% cash down on a house…..you go, girl!!
congratulations. that is really incredible. you must be so excited.
and i’m an attorney. student loan debt is staggering (esp when you add in undergrad loans on top of law school loans). and not all attorneys make a lot of money – you may bill out at $200 an hour, but I promise you you don’t make $200/hour as your salary. don’t assume because her husband is an attorney that they have a lot of disposable income.
Jessica @ Life as I See It says
YAY – I am here cheering you on too – so excited for your family and you especially as I understand how hard the sacrifices can be, but the “reward” for your diligence is so close! Accomplishing goals is amazing and, I’ve found, inspires us to push for even bigger goals.
Which makes me wonder – what is your goal once you have bought your home with cash? 🙂
Congratulations! I wish I had known this type of living before I took out large college loans, bought a house with almost nothing down, bought a car with nothing down, etc.. I’m still able to stay at home with our kids and home school, but life would be so much easier without the debt! We’ve adopted our son from Ethiopia & can’t wait to adopt again. But…because of the debt it will take us three more years to start the process again. I plan to raise my kids to never rely on debt.
I don’t think it’s crazy at all to pay cash for your house. It’s crazier that the rest of us will pay for our houses at least twice over during our 30 year mortgages!
One more point – I don’t think it matters how much Crystal’s husband makes. Even if he is making a lot they choose to have a budget of $160 a month for groceries. My husband & I have discussed that but we both like “gourmet” food too much so our budget is double that for the same size family. I applaud Crystal’s efforts to live below their means so they can give to others. Thanks for the inspiration to keep trying even when I’m tired of being frugal!
Crystal, you have lots of sisters and readers who are right there with you packing lunches, driving old cars, wearing thrift-store clothes, and clipping coupons. Keep up the saving, and congratulations on debt-free living. More people should follow your example, and our country wouldn’t be in the sad economic situation we are in today.
Thank you for this post. It was a much needed reminder to me about being frugal. Congrats on your savings accomplishments, that’s amazing!
A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to your family and your efforts. You deserve what you’ve worked so hard for and I hope we can all follow suit. Thanks for giving us an idea of a ridiculously huge goal one can achieve with work and prayers. I love reading your blog and look forward to your financial check-ups.
One good thing our family has worked hard for is: we have paid off almost 15K in debt and reduced our monthly debt payments by $816/month. Last year we were paying a little over 2K/month on debt, this year it’s under 1,200/month (no, none of that is mortgage! I know!) Still ridiculous, I know but I am proud that we are moving in the right direction.
Kendra at New Life On A Homestead says
Congratulations!!! That is such an incredible accomplishment!!!You are setting a wonderful example to your children.
Woo hoo! And you know, since they’ve extended the first-time homebuyer’s credit to April (with closing date of June) you just might be able to take advantage of that $8k if you so choose.
We’re at about 25% of our house fund. It includes the amounts we think we’ll need for moving, buying new appliances/making small changes when we initially move, the closing costs, and the upfront property taxes that we’ll need. Oh, and the down payment 🙂
We’re hopeful that we’ll complete it by early 2011.
Amazing, hats off to you and your family. Definitely encouraging for my goals this new year! I too pray that you will be able to come up with the other 25% before the end of the year.
Nancy M. says
Congratulations! That is so awesome that you have saved that much for a home! It will make your lives so much easier without that mortgage payment hanging over your head. Way to go!
Donna Jackson says
Its ok to be “weird”. “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else”. “Beans & Rice, Rice & Beans” Recognize the Dave quotes? We do have a mortgage which we recently refinanced and hope to have it paid off in 7 years…hence the reason for refinancing…we can pay the same monthly payment but more will go to principal instead of interest. Many people just don’t understand the Financial Freedom concept as witnessed through reading some of the comments. Everyone makes decisions on how to live and how to spend or save, just because you decide to go “against the grain” doesn’t mean you are being judgemental of other people, just different! Thanks for sharing your progress, I look forward to this every month and applaud your efforts. I pray when my children are setting up their own households they will use these same concepts and not live like everyone else.
WHAA HOO! Hate to see some of the more negative comments on here. So excited for your family. We are considering saving 100% down for our house too-but-have to get out of debt first. Baby steps 🙂 Congrats again!
We make most of these sacrifices without a lot of the same outcomes, but we’re essentially one income (DH is still in college) and not a huge income at that. Our goal is to keep $1k in savings and to get by on what we can. Debt-free isn’t in our cards, given my students loans and our mortgage, nor do I necessarily subscribe to that financial line of thinking. However, I do appreciate the coupon advice and deals I find here; I think we have to take what applies for us and use that happily. 🙂
I’m so encouraged to hear someone else talk about how hard it is to make certain financial choices. Sometimes I feel like my husband and I are the only ones making these kind of sacrifices. Thanks for what your doing and congratulations on making financial choices that are God honoring, it encourages me to be strong and know my family is not the only one doing this.
Crystal, did you end up winning the $1,000 prize for the best blog? I voted for you!!!
Money Saving Mom here: Thanks so much for your votes. I was so touched with everyone who rallied around with support!
I ended up winning in my division, but not overall. But I won a $100 gift card to Children’s Pottery Barn for winning in my division, which I’ll be giving away here sometime in the next few months. So look for that–and maybe you’ll win it! 🙂
Also, I have a few weeks of daily giveaways lined up in December to express my appreciation for all of you who voted. Even though I didn’t win, I still wanted to show my thanks for all of my wonderful readers here.
We are now consumer debt free!!!! We have only had one car loan and that will be that last. We now only have a mortgage that I am trying diligently to pay off as much as possible. We did make it through school debt free which everyone told us we were crazy and couldn’t do. Because of being out of work for 8 months and having two old vehicles dying that wouldn’t fit the new kid we were forced to get a loan for a car which is now paid in full. What a great feeling. If only I could get that mortgage to go down faster.
How incredibly lovely! Very inspiring and impressive 🙂
That is awesome, Crystal! I’m so excited for y’all! We are almost debt free. We have about 10% more left on our debt which should be paid off by January instead of by next summer. Praise God!
Savings Queen says
I am committed to CASH only in my life. My husband works two jobs! I made clipping coupons my job! And, it help me get an online talk show with a media network. So, proud when I hear other doing it too!
Quote: “It’s hard when you’re the only one packing a lunch, driving an old car, wearing thrift store clothes, and clipping coupons.”
I think that’s one reason your blog (and other thrifty blogs) is so popular! We all love to get a deal, but we also love knowing that there are others out there like us!
Congratulations on your achievements!
CONGRATULATIONS Crystal and family! I got goose bumps reading your post – sooo very excited for you! Thank you for the inspiration to do this in our own life!
Rachel @ Surviving The Stores says
Congrats, Crystal! That’s exciting!
Thrift store clothes are the BEST… especially when they still have the tags on them! 🙂
Pam T. says
Thank you for continuing to share these monthly updates. They are so encouraging to me seeing someone further along the same path that we are on. It isn’t easy and it is certainly different than how much people live. I’m sure negative comments still sting if even a little, so I wanted to make sure to thank you for continuing to share these updates with us.
Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net says
Crystal, I have indeed thought this whole 100% cash on a home thing was a crazy idea. But, as I’ve read your updates and have witnessed your progressed, I am hoping in some amazing way you MEET the goal this year!!!! It can’t be called crazy anymore – it’s called inspiration! Keep going!
I wouldn’t feel bad about using coupons! I felt kind of weird too when I first started doing it, but so many people use them nowadays. I’ve even seen MEN doing the grocery shopping with a bag full of coupons!
Martha Gerber says
I am so grateful for you. My husband and I have always been frugal – and your are right, it’s hard to go against the grain. We have seen the nice stuff that everyone else buys – and yet I can’t help but want to peace rather than stuff. Because of my frugal ways – my whole family is starting to be frugal and I see this HUGE change in how we think. We are trying to save and plan for children – do you have any points on what you would have done to prepare for kids? We are both 26, no debt, living in an apartment and he is self employeed. Any suggestions?
Congratulations Crystal, and good luck on the road ahead!
There are such a wide variety of incomes for attorneys (I know, my husband and I both are attorneys). (And look, I still can’t help but try to follow blogs to cut expenses!) There are likely addiitonal expenses of student loans, bar fees, certain work attire, etc that you also have to expense for. And let’s not kid ourselves, if he is self-employed or even in a smaller firm the income can vary greatly from year to year.
Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us! It’s such an encouragement to me this morning as we have serious DR goals we want to meet by January 1st 🙂
I wish more young people could just follow half of your habits! Such a treat to see a young couple have such values and will power! You family is an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing with us all.
That is awesome! These are the posts that differentiate your blog from the many others…. I not only save money but also get inspired. Thanks for sharing your story. We’re weeks away from being COMPLETELY debt free (house and all) and my oldest is only 8!
WAY TO BE!!! It’s not an easy road to travel to become debt-free, but it will be well-worth it when you get there. Never give up!
Our family made many sacrifices during our first 19 years and developed habits of thrift and saving along the way. (It wasn’t easy, but anything worthwhile never is.) We discovered ways to have fun without spending a lot of money, developed gratitude for what we did have, and found happiness in serving others.
It’s now been 8 years since we became totally debt-free and I am so grateful for the feeling of peace it brings! The habits of thrift and self-reliance developed during those earlier 19 years are engrained in us and our children along with an appreciation for what we do have. It is gratifying to see our married children setting goals, making wise choices, and helping others as they begin their own families.
When you set a worthwhile goal and stick to it, you’ll be amazed at the small miracles that occur along the way.
Best wishes to you and your family. Keep it up! 🙂
Milk Donor Mama says
I think it’s wonderful that you plan a debt-free life, and I think it’s terrible that so many people simply don’t have that choice due to circumstances beyond their control (health issues, job loss of a breadwinner in a one income household, etc).
However, as I read your updates I have a difficult time getting past that this is easier for you than it would be for most people, since your husband is a lawyer and likely earns a very comfortable salary at this point in life (average billing per hour being $200-250 for a new lawyer). But knowing where you came from to get there is a *HUGE* help! Your family is being a great steward of what you’ve been given.
I enjoy the Mr. Linkys so much- it is great to see people from a variety of economic backgrounds posting on their financial progress!
can i ask why you are paying for your house in cash? why not have a mortgage, are you not worried about inflation?
You are SUCH an inspiration. I’m so grateful that you continue to blog even though you have a young family. Thank you so much for your encouragement.
Just be careful that as you look at the people in the store, you are not self-righteous. I know it is hard, but you also do not know the amount of money others have. They may not be spending recklessly. So, while you state that it is tough, be aware that sometimes thinking too much about how you are saving, is as pre-occupying as spending more. Some of the most godly people I know, think less of money and coupons. They give spontaneously. That is something frugal types have a hard time doing. Just something to be aware of. I think it can be easy to condescend toward others who may spend differently. There is no greater morality to frugality. Waste is one thing. But simply spending differently is each person’s choice. And really, nobody else’s business.
Jessica Booth says
We won’t be paying 100% for our home in the next 4 months when we plan to buy, but we will be paying for a quarter of it with cash. I completely understand those things that are hard that you mentioned. I so often just want all those new and shiny things that it seems everyone else so readily goes out and buys. But I know our end goal is right for us, and the saving and not having it all is okay.
Celia Emmons says
Thank you so much for your post! It made me tear up as my husband and I began our road to living debt free this year, and it has been so difficult at times! Right now, we’ve been struggling because we want so badly to provide a nice Christmas for our children but we just don’t have the money to get all the things our kids want (and all the things we want for our children!) This post reminded me that going against the grain and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas is what is really important. Making Christmas special is not about gifts and money, it is about Christ and his ultimate gift of freedom. Freedom that can be better reached when we are no longer slaves to our debtors!! Thank you! Sorry this is so long!
How exciting to be at 75%!!! 🙂
Kristen@The Frugal Girl says
Congrats! That is some very impressive saving!