We began August at 57.8% of our house savings goal and we ended the month at 65%!
I about fell over when my husband did the math and told me the final tallies. It's so excited to finally be getting really close to something we've long dreamed about, talked about, prayed about, and worked very hard towards.
Recently, a blog reader I had the privilege of meeting in real life was commenting to me about how difficult it must be for us to be waiting to purchase a house when we could afford to go out and pay 65% down on a home which is roomier and better-suited for our family than the rental we're currently in.
While having more than two bedrooms would be nice and having a larger yard that doesn't back up to a busy highway would also be a wonderful thing, neither my husband or I feel like we're in the least bit miserable waiting to pay 100% down. In fact, we both are very determined we want to stick it out to our 100% goal–even if it takes longer than we hope.
Why? Well, for one, we want to stand by our commitment to stay out of debt. We understand that this is not possible for everyone in every situation. That said, we do believe it is much more possible than many people believe it to be. And we hope that we might be an inspiration to some of you to set big goals and work hard towards them.
We also want to be an example to our children. Growing up, my parents had a dream of getting out of debt and then buying land and building a debt-free house out in the country. They worked hard towards that goal and when I was 12 years old, we not only had paid off our house, we had purchased land, built a house, and moved in.
Seeing their example made a major impact upon my life and this is one of biggest reasons we're currently aggressively saving towards buying our first home debt-free. It is our hope that our children can stand on our shoulders–just as we seek to stand on the shoulders of our parents–and, who knows? Perhaps they will be able to buy their first home with cash before they are even married!
In addition, we want to be the best stewards of the resources we have so that we can bless as many people as possible. We aren't seeking to pay cash for a house so that they we can go pursue some extravagant lifestyle. Instead, paying cash for a house is just the first step in a long line of goals we have for our family as we seek to make an impact in this world by giving of our resources to help those in need.
We feel that living a life without payments and with a strong financial plan in place will better enable us to reach out to those in need. And we're incredibly excited about the possibilities to give and serve with our finances–as God allows us to do so. (By the way, there's an excellent video here which has been a huge inspiration to us in this regard.)
So yes, our home might be a wee bit small right now, our yard even smaller, and it might seem very counter-cultural for us to wait just a little bit longer until we've saved up 100% to pay cash for a home, but we're willing to wait because we know that someday it will be worth the sacrifices!
(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 August? Whether
or not you posted financial goals for 2009, please take a moment to
post about your financial successes and/or failures in August and, if you'd like, the areas
you hope to improve in September. 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
Lisa B. says
I’m very excited for you, what a great thing to be able to pay cash for a home.
From a real estate agent standpoint, people who buy in cash are also in a great position to negotiate the price. When a seller can look at a calendar and know that in 7-10 days they can literally walk away from their home with some cash, most will not quibble over a few thousand dollars if it interferes with them having some closure and moving to their next destination. You won’t be required to get an appraisal but make sure you get one anyway, it’s well worth the $$. Good luck!
I live in New York City – and while I think your goal is wonderful, I don’t think it is practical for someone living in a place like New York. I am wondering if you are worried about housing price changes (I know prices have gone down considerably here – but they are still ridiculous). Considering you are at 65% now are you worried that by the time you save up 100%, prices may increase? I don’t know what the real estate market is like in your area, but some house prices in NY doubled in a 2 or 3 year period. That is one of the reasons that when we saw a house well below market value we jumped on the chance to buy (even with a RIDICULOUSLY large mortgage).
I love reading your financial check -up. It is motivating and inspiring!! Thank you for sharing this with your readers.
Eli - perhaps your only male reader :) says
I can’t tell you how impressed I was the day I realized that you, who write’s so diligently about the ins and outs of clipping coupons, were actually from a wealthy, upper-class household. To me, for some reason, that made the whole idea all that much more interesting.
I am an avid reader and big fan of your blog.
However, I have to say I find these update posts fairly misleading. It’s great that you can provide such a lofty inspirational goal for so many of your readers but your frugality (or at least the frugality you promote) has to account for such a tiny percentage of your savings, here, that it makes me cringe when I see people attribute your financial successes to it.
Your family makes a substantial amount of money, there is no getting around that. 7.2% of a home, even in the cheap mid west, is still I’d imagine a minimum of $10,000 in “savings” this month. Depending on your house it could definitely be much more.
While it’s cool to see that having a large income, money in investments, etc, etc can net you significant growth each month (so long as you don’t go out and spend), I don’t think that’s really all too shocking and it definitely is not what your blog is about.
I suppose the thing that just doesn’t quite sit right with me is that since your blog is called moneySAVINGmom and not moneyMAKINGmom a monthly update would seem much more appropriate if it provided an idea of what you’ve truly saved through the frugal means you promote in your posts. How do the tips you provide and live by get you closer to your dream of home ownership without debt?
Perhaps show what percentage of this month’s total income was spent on groceries, bills, kids, entertainment, etc. I think those might be more appropriate numbers for your readers to compare, relate and strive to. The monthly percentage increase towards your house, while a very important number for you, really only makes sense to those in your same financial situation. I can guarantee you most of your readers are not.
With all that said, please don’t get me wrong. I’m really not trying to be confrontational, only helpful. I throughly enjoy reading your posts and look forward to your awesome tips every day. I think it’s fantastic you guys are doing so well. It sounds like you have a happy, healthy family that will someday soon enjoy walking into a nice new home. I can almost see the eyes of your kids lighting up and I look forward to reading about it the day it happens.
Money Saving Mom here: Eli, thanks for commenting! We’ve chosen–for a variety of reasons–not to make the specifics of our personal finances public information. When I did this before, I found that people got hung up on numbers instead of getting the principles of the matter.
Truth be told, the principles behind everything I promote here are exactly why we are where we are today. Hard work, living on less than you make, scrimping, being creative, and being the best manager of the resources God has given you can lead to surprising things!
We have certainly been amazed at how God has blessed and opened doors when we have sought to do the best with the little we have. It was only a few years ago–when my husband was in law school–that we were living on $1000 per month. I well remember those days!
As our income has increased–through much hard work, wise stewardship, careful investing, and the blessing of God–we have sought to be good managers of that money through continuing to live simply and frugally, live on less than we make, work towards big goals, and be generous givers.
Clipping coupons *does* make a big difference. In fact, I’d wager to say we have saved at least $15,000-$20,000 over the course of the last 6 years by doing so. And that’s a modest estimate. But it’s the principle behind clipping coupons (seeking to be a creative and wise steward of the resources which you have and living a disciplined financial life) which really makes the difference. And that is the vision I’m hoping people catch here. Once you catch the vision, amazing things are possible!
I love reading your posts about your parents. Does your mother have a blog?
That is awesome, Crystal! Praise God for how you have been good stewards of what God has given. YOu are such an inspiration to me. Last month I was super excited. We paid off one debt and within one month reduced our debt by close to 20%. Praise God!
Tausha Habecker says
I have done the math on trying to reach this goal many times. For families earning around $50,000 a year or less it just doesn’t add up. My husband and I are currently saving almost 50% of his take home pay. And that does not count the 5% that comes out automatically for his 401K. His paychecks range from $650-$800 per week take home and we consistently save $350 per week. So saving for 5 years gives us around $91,000 plus a little interest earnings. So that is not enough to buy the average house. Let’s increase the goal to 10 years, that gives us $182,000. More realistic amount to buy a house with. But even a house currently worth $182,000 with an increase of value at 2% per year would cost $222,258. So do I increase savings, do I put the money in riskier investments to try to earn more interest, do I wait 12 years to buy, or do I take out a mortgage at the 5 year mark with a sizable down payment? We have chosen the 5 year goal.
Money Saving Mom here: I’d agree with you, Tausha! And way to go on your savings goals! You guys are doing incredibly well–most people don’t even consider a sizable down payment in today’s day and age!
Because of wise training from our parents, no debt, wise stewardship, good income, and the blessing of God, we’re in a position where if we are very aggressive and frugal, we can save a large amount of our income and it makes sense to wait a short while and pay 100% down. However, if we were only able to save a small amount each month, we’d still scrimp and save, but we’d likely consider a different route and possibly even consider a mortgage (with a very large down payment which we’d aggressively seek to pay off in less than 7 years).
That said, we never expected to be able to save as much as we have been as fast as we have been able to. We’ve found that having a big goal and both working together very, very hard towards it as well as seeking to be the best managers of the resources God given us has allowed us to become much more creative and has opened up all sorts of doors which we never anticipated.
So you just never know. Be faithful with what you have where you are, set goals, work hard, don’t give up, and you just might be surprised as well!
Thank you for sharing your progress Crystal. Reading about your commitment to your large goal has kept me inspired to stick to my smaller ones!
Way to go! You are such an inspiration to so many! I wondered about the real estate market in your area. Has it been affected much by the downturn in real estate prices? It seems some areas are hard hit, and there are real bargains to be had. I live in a paid for home, but was thinking that if I were not, would it make sense to buy now while prices are lower? I wondered if you had re-calculated your goal based on the new real estate pricing, and also the possibility of the $8000 one time offer for new homeowners. No, I am not trying to tempt you from your goal of 100% down, I just wondered if the real estate downturn has brought you closer to your goal.
I have been reading your blog for some time and my husband is about to start law school next year. I have been so inspired by the way you have been able to get through law school with no debt and we are hoping to do the same. I was wondering if you could do a post or just email me info on how you did that. did you work? did you have children? did he get scholarships and grants? if so, how did you find out about those? we are trying to look at all the possibilities and start now to get things in order so we can get to our goal.
The Prudent Homemaker says
Jaclyn’s comment above is very true.
Right now most of the Las Vegas Real Estate market is foreclosures. My husband lists houses for the bank (and also works with buyers). A year ago, there were a lot of houses on the market, and now we have less than a month’s worth of houses on the market. Competetion for buyers is stiff, and many people are making 10 offers before they are able to be accepted on one. My husband has noticed that the bank puts a higher priority on cash buyers, even if their offer is less than someone’s who is getting a loan (even a lot less).
It sounds like you’re doing great on your goal!
My husband and I are expecting our 3rd baby and we were trying to decide if we should buy a house this year or stay in our rental. When I sat down and crunched th numbers some more I realized we could buy a house but it would financially strain us. So we have decided to wait and I am so happy that we are. IN less than 5 months we will be car payment free and in about a year we will be credit card free. I am excited to be making these steps in our life. I know I would love more room, mroe this, more that, but I don’t need it. My husband and I have barely increased our spending as our income has. And while I can’t save 100% down I plan to go into it with a short term plan of paying it off!
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.
Katie Price says
Thanks for the update. We are big Dave fans and I am proud of you! Sometimes I want to call him and say, “Get real! A modest home here is half-mil!” It is encouraging to know that you are managing it & working toward your goal. What a blessing that you will be able to pay cash.
Please keep posting about your progress because it is such an encouragement!! DH and I have considered backing out of this commitment several times but we are committed to doing it too and trying not to be swayed into “just taking a small mortgage”. Any more posts about your “patience with the process” or encouragement to save more than you think you can in a given month would be very welcome. Your testimony alone here is a blessing to us.
Thanks for keeping the faith and encouraging others!!!
Will you have any other major financial goals after you purchase your home? I read that you intend to give to others in need, but I’m just wondering where all that saving intensity will be directed. Being debt free will put so much giving/saving power in your hands, I guess I’m curious as to where you’ll direct this intensity next!
Lisa V. says
That’s pretty darn awesome. You really should be applauded. It’s awesome that you had an example set for you which I most certainly did not. But knowing I will be an example to my children, I’m trying so hard to figure out how I can be that good example. I’ll keep visiting you here because you’ve inspired me.
Awesome job, you two! (Dave Ramsey would be SO proud!!) Keep it up- won’t be too much longer!
That’s awesome! Congratulations- you’re almost there! 🙂
Rosie T. says
WOW! You are a braver, more patient woman than I am. I’ve only got 2 kids and I know that I could not live in a 2 bedroom apartment… I feel like 3 is too small for us! My husband and I both have hobbies that require space… he’s into woodworking and sound recording, I’m a seamstress and a scrapbooker. I’m so completely impressed by your efforts and excited for the (not too distant!) day you get to buy your house debt free!
I cannot wait to see pics of your sweet family in your new home! We will all celebrate with you!!! We are committed to saving and raising money to pay for our upcoming adoption without debt, and your monthly checkup is such an encouragement to me!!
Your monthly check-up is one of my favorite posts to read. I’m so encouraged by your diligence. Way to go on being 65% there!
Chris from St. Mary's says
After several months of mourning and well after I received my inheritance, I’ve started to look for a condo to pay with cash. It’s crazy right now that I can find a decent one for $50K, or was it crazy a few years ago when the same condo went for more than $100K?
wow thats so awesome for you guys!! You are gonna be there before you know it!
Crystal-this is slightly off topic, but how much should a person save? I am teaching my 8 year old about tithing. In addition, I wanted to tell him to save .50 out of two dollars he earned (by working with me tagging clothing for a consignment sale). Is 25% a good amount to save? (I mean it’s not like he needs 3 months emergency expenses-heehee). I looked for the answer on some Dave Ramsey sites, but I do not have time to read or money to buy the book. Can you give me the quick and free answer of what you teach your children? Thank you!
Yeah, you could put 65% down and get into a home now. But I have a feeling that your 100% goal is only months away and the amount you would pay in closing and loan fees would be a few months rent at least anyway! You are so inspiring. I feel so pumped after reading your financial check-up. Reading your accomplishments makes me aspire to save more and give more. Thank you Thank you Thank you! And have a wonderful trip with your husband this weekend!
Thank you for posting your progress! Your family is truly an inspiration! We are not debt free – we have a house payment and one car payment but we try to live within our means. It seems lonely at times, not being like “everyone else” but using the coupons and trying to spend as little as possible on groceries has become a game! Your blog is great and I look forward to reading it everyday. I know God will continue to bless your savings so you can continue to help others!
You are such an inspiration to me!!! We currently two vehicle loans, two loan payments and one credit card that we pay on every month. We set a goal right before our son was born to be completely debt free in the next three years! We are steadily getting there. We will have (hopefully) both of our loans gone by next year!! Well before the scheduled pay off date!
Your monthly posts keep reminding me that there is light at the end of tunnel.
I think this is just amazing in today’s world. Crazy is NOT the word I would use, but Inspirational! If only every one would live this way, what state would our country be in right now? We are completely debt free except for our mortgage (which is extremely reasonable and within our budget). We have been saving for 4 years to pay cash for our next car. We have a 3 1/2-year-old son and my husband has been laid off from jobs 3 times since he was born, but we never dipped into our savings even in those times, God provided every need. We know how to scrimp and save and do without so that I can stay home with our son, even with my husband’s job losses. We get plenty of comments about our shopping habits and strict spending rules, but I love having exactly what God wants me to have, not what the world thinks I need. I just found your blog this week, so I had no idea about this, but you are an inspiration to me. Our goal after paying cash for our car is to pay off our mortgage as soon as possible. And anything we do (remodels, repairs) or buy (even bigger purchases), we pay for right away (we do use credit cards, but we never carry a balance, we always pay them off at the end of every single month). Thank you so much for this blog and for encouraging us through it! What a blessing it is to find others with the same ideals as us! I pray that you reach your goal by the end of the year.
one question: are you going to try to take advantage of the 8K first time home buyer program? I know that it ends on 30 Nov, and you will probably not have 100% by then, but is that a sacrifice that you would be willing to take? Have you calculated the possiblity of that into your goal? Just curious…I am not even sure if you are qualified, but sounds like it.
My daughter and her husband are debt free as well. They wanted to marry young and spent the first year, after highschool, saving every penny they could–she went to a local college that year and also did daycare. He worked as a laborer. At the end of one year, they had 7200.00 in their savings and bought a used, fixer-upper double wide for 7000.00. They moved it onto a piece of our land that already had septic and utilities ready to go. They married the next month and he moved in with us, while they (and my husband) worked at fixing up their home. They paid as they went and moved into their own home 10 months later. They still have a few things to do to it, but the 6 main rooms are completed and they have zero debt. That came in very handy when my son-in-law got laid off last month. My daughter has an established business–doing daycare at home and that income more than covers all their expenses and tithing.
They will be finishing up their home with their savings (they were able to build a good amount even while remodeling) asap, because they are expecting a baby in late March!
Holy crud, Crystal! That’s great! What a huge leap toward your goal! And here I was happy to save 400.00 out of my grocery budget last month and put it toward just getting by and trying do dig ourselves out of having no savings (husband was out of work pretty much for the first 8 months this year….really creamed us financially speaking). Keep up the great work!
You’re such an inspiration! My husband and I feel that counter-cultural pressure, too, even from our God-fearing families, and it’s a real encouragement to know there are others like us out there. We’re currently debt free except our house, and we are working on a budget that will allow us to pay that off early. Keep up the good work–God will honor your desire to use your surplus to help others!
Ellen C says
WOW…fantastic goal…I applaud you and your husband. My husband and I have been going through a difficult time financially (he is out of work and we own several properties from his previous real estate business that we are trying to short sale to avoid foreclosure), but we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course this past year and it is going to be one of the things that really keeps us going. It is going to take a while for us to pay off our remaining debt, but we have our future goals set and I don’t imagine we will stray again. I admire your conviction to set such a phenomenal example for your children…I hope I am able to do the same once we have some!!! I love your blogs, keep up the great work!
Milk Donor Mama says
I meant, our plan is for me to quit working. I’m absolutely MISERABLE in my position, but I have more job security and a higher wage than my husband. I look at my job these days as a means to an end: the end being financial freedom to take care of my family. I hope to become more involved in mothers groups such as La Leche League after I quit my job, and I want to become a lactation consultant by first becoming a LLL Leader. Being an LC could be my second career, which my husband and I agree would be wonderful. I already have a Masters of Public Health, so it would be a good way to build off what I already know.
You are such an inspiration for such a young mother. Even an old, been around the block mom like me has learned such wonderful lessons from you. Thank you for sharing & good luck with your continued path.
Every month I look forward to your financial checkup. I cheer for you as you get closer and closer to your goal. It’s wonderful to see diligence and responsibility pay off. Keep on saving, Money Saving Mom!!!
Milk Donor Mama says
My parents did go into debt to purchase their home (just $27 k in 1985), because my mom wasn’t working at the time and my dad made minimum wage. However, they paid it off quickly through frugality and when my mom returned to work once my severely handicapped younger sister and I were both in school.
My husband and I bought our home and also have the goal of paying it off well before the 30 years are up (we’re on track to have it paid off after 6.5 years from the purchase date). To do that, we live off one salary and use the other for principal reductions, savings and we paid cash for a used car one year ago.
We are praying for another child and our plan is to quit after we have our second baby. By that point, our house should be completely paid off!
So we’re going about it differently than you, but we also don’t have a home based business to help us earn extra, and we both work for state government so neither of us earns a lawyer’s salary!
A. Nonny Mouse says
May the Lord give you incredible wisdom as you seek to save the last portion for your home. The Lord is good to provide for His children.
Matthew 6:33. You will be amazed at how free you are. You are an example to all, young and old. Don’t give up. This is just what America needs!!!
Jenifer Demchak says
I love hearing about your savings each month. I could tell just by reading your blog that you are a Dave Ramsey fan. He has so influenced our lives and it is great to hear others doing the same. We are currently renting a small townhouse with a small back yard just so we can continue to save extra money each month for when we buy a house. Keep it up, you will be in your new house before you know it and then you will be able to bless others more than ever.
Keep up the good work. Sounds like you’ll be looking for a house just after the first of the year. It will be here before you know it.
These are the posts that I find inspiring and keep me coming back to this blog! Don’t get me wrong, I like the deals, too. But, wise people living what they believe, going against the grain… I love it. Can I celebrate with you? My husband and I have 35k left to pay off our home, and we are hoping to reach this goal by the end of the year— then I’m calling Dave Ramsey and screaming!!!!! I can’t wait to see what God has in mind! Thank you for being a continuous source of inspiration that I can find right at my fingertips!
I love to hear that your committment is partly due to the inspiration of your parents. It is the hope of my husband and I that we will be able to inspire our children in the same way– to live well below our means and stay out of debt. We are not there yet, but we are making progress. God bless!
I just wanted to tell you something. This morning I have about a week’s worth of dishes piled up. We don’t have a dishwasher and I hate it so much. Although this sounds weird, this post and others you’ve posted before have inspired me to get my life in order. We aren’t in the position to be debt free yet (we’re still students and my husband is about to attend medical school. At $40,000/year, it’s impossible for us to be debt free) but you’ve inspired me to do the dishes. I can’t do the huge things yet, but I can do the little things, so that when we are in a position to do the big things, we will be ready to face the challenge. Thank you so much for all that you do. You really are inspiring to me.
This is a fantastic post! Our society seems to be so geared toward, ‘I want it and I want it NOW!’ Your attitude is incredibly refreshing and I hope that others will be inspired by it. So many people don’t get why we do what we do – clipping coupons, stockpiling, living frugally. Right now my husband’s and my goal is to pay off our house in the next three years (wish we’d been as wise as you!) so that we have the freedom to do what we want to do. None of my friends understands that at all.
Wow! You’re doing great! I am interested to see how much you are going to save on the purchase of your new home! Besides on closing costs and loan interest, paying cash is a great negotiating/bargaining chip.
You should definately post on how much money you end up saving. 🙂
Amazing! Keep up the hard work! You are favored by God because you have never denied Him! May the remaining $$ rush in so you can surpass your goals! What a wonderful moment it will be to walk across the threshold of your new, paid in full, home~ soon! It makes sandwich lunches and couponing all the more enjoyable!
Given that we have family in Kansas, I have a pretty good idea of about what you will pay for a nice house with a yard, and I admit that I’m a wee bit, hmm..envious? Your plan is totally insane, crazy, all of those words – but you’re doing SO WELL! I’m so happy for you and Jesse! I’d be scared to see that much money go flying out my account at once, but then when you realize that you’ll never have a mortgage payment, that’s just awesome.
Keep on keeping on!!! Way to go!
You continue to be an inspiration to me! We are also committed to staying debt-free (except for the house). We recently had $6500 worth of home renovations and we did it all in cash. We saved for a whole year to do this and we also pay for my son’s college tuition with cash. Please keep posting your home fund tallies to keep me inspired! God bless!
Good for you! You keep up the great work! 🙂
I have to say you have really been an inspiration to me. My husband and I had some real estate we were planning on selling and putting a pretty big down payment on our actual home (We live in an apartment right now). Well we found out our renters used Meth and the real estate was condemed. I was crushed. However, shortly after that I found out about your “crazy” goal. It was what I needed to keep me excited for the future. My husband and I want to have a family – but the financial aspect just scares me! Could you give me some tips?
Frugal Girls! says
Great advice, Crystal! You’re truly such an inspiration to us all!!
I am truly impressed! I know this goal for you is not far off! What a great inspiration you are to all of us to use our resources to bless those around us who may not know how or who are lost in debt. Thanks for all you do!
Your post has just answered my question that I have been pondering about for sometime. I really wanted the living room done in time for Christmas but in doing so it meant not sticking to our savings plan. I’ve decided to pursue the path we are on and not get side-tracked. Like you I’m going to stick to my goal – thanks for the advice!
Congratulations – I can’t believe how well you have done. Amazing work.
Traci Menie says
What you said about not wanting to live an extravagant lifestyle but being free to bless people in need…THAT is the key! God’s calling for our lives! LOVE IT! Thank you Crystal for setting an example for all of us!
Do you mind saying how much you’re 100% goal is?
Amy Dunn says
Way to go Crystal! I’m pulling for you and your husband. You’ll be there before you know it. My husband and I are a lot older and debt free except for the house. I am truly amazed and inspired by your hard work and initiative at such a young age.
If you don’t mind my asking, how much are you planning to spend on your home?
Kudos on the job well done!