Saturday, July 28, 2018

Getting Started with Financial Freedom

I have decided to do a free financial freedom coaching or consulting via the old blog and You Tube.
So today I'm sick, my hands even hurt but my minds working well enough. The short story I want to share this for our kids. To offer help, but not in the "Here's a fish kind of help" but "Let me get you a fishing pole" kind of help.

Okay so follow along this journey if you want. I'll add VLOGS as we go (video blogs).
*Here is a link to my old You Tube Channel that has some advice on being resourceful. 



How to get started.

1. Find your Why. 

Why are you ready to change? Why do you want to learn how to get out of this darn mess. I was in a darn mess at age 33.  $1400 negative a month (that's right). Shamefully buying groceries on my credit card. I was lost. I had been debt free just a few years before and we blew it. We weren't wild spenders we just didn't have the knowledge we needed. The bank gave us a big loan for a house we couldn't afford and it ate our lunch. I was sick and tired of being broke and scared. What's your why?
Video Lesson 1

2. Write down all your bills and expenses (be honest) and your income (all of it). Make two columns. 
First how much you make and when it comes in and total that monthly. 

Example: Husband $950 every two weeks,  Wife $1000 every 2 weeks. Random in our case. Total is $3950

Then all your bills, due date, how much: House note $1250, on the 5th.
If a bill is quarterly divide it by 4 and put it in your budget.

Just look at it and add up both columns. Subtract bills from income. This is what you have leftover.
Lesson 2 Video


3. Now look at what you can slash or get rid of NEEDS VS WANTS

You don't need expensive phone plans or cable. Those are wants.
Wants can be handled later. For now get busy getting out of debt.
Lesson 3 Video

4. Go on a spending freeze: 

For the time being until you get an emergency fund make a budget for needs (food, basic transportation not joy riding) and all other spending gets frozen.
Lesson 4 Video
5. Save $1000 Emergency Fund 

Get busy selling stuff. Yard Sales, Auctions, EBay, Craigslist, Resale Shops, Facebook Marketplace, old cars to the salvage yard. Clean up your crap and get rid of it (this also has a psychological impact on you in a positive way, you start to feel lighter). Get a $1000 fast. Then ear mark it for emergencies. Your tires are not an emergency you know you have that coming up, you will now start a savings account for those types of things.
Lesson 5 Video
6. Slash your budget and use excess money to pay debt. '

If you can slash your budget by $100 then you will put your $100 towards the smallest bill. Your goal will be to get debt paid off fast. I was a follower of this method long before Dave Ramsey was preaching this but he makes it really easy to understand. I know some people don't agree with his politics or religion or whatever but regardless just take the class and get the gist of it. It's the best program out there and it works.
Here is a link to the courses:
https://www.daveramsey.com/store/product/financial-peace-university-class#in-progress=1&center=34.746481,-92.289595


7. I've already said it but I'm going to say it again. Sell everything you can and get out of debt.
YOU MAY NEED TO GET A SIDE HUSSEL, or as we old timers call it "a second job". 

You can buy it again when you can pay for it. Get rid of the expensive cars, boats, phones, cable packages. I know many of you are upside down, figure out a way to get rid of all you can. You are going to have to study on how to do this. I actually sold the fancy house for $197,000 and moved into a fixer upper for $97,000 and lived there for 15 years. You heard me. We also got used cars, sold the boat and did the work ourselves on the house and it felt damn good to be out of debt.

At times in my life I've had two or three jobs (we actually still do until our farm is paid off). I've  cleaned houses, taken in people's kids, dog sat, ran errands for money, worked a multitude of odd jobs. Right now I'm taking extra contracts and keeping my school open until I have a full years worth of living expenses paid up and our farm paid off.

One day I opened the door because my kid ordered a pizza (with money they earned) and a friend of mine was there delivering pizza (he was getting out of debt). This made me so happy! 

Get your butt to work. As Dave says "There is a place for broke people, it's called work".
Lesson 6 & 7 video

8. Maintain this idea and hang with people who support you. 
Find people who are living the same way. You will not be like the average person and they are everywhere and they are broke.
78% of Americans live pay check to pay check. You are going to be the 22%

Follow things on Instagram, Facebook, You Tube that have words like "frugal, debt free, simple living" In them. Find your people!

BE THE 22%. Link to article about 78% of Americans.

Here are some basics while you are getting out of debt and building your emergency fund up to six months.
  • Meal plan and eat at home. Have a little fun money set aside and use coupons or find specials and share.
  • Get rid of cable, rent movies from the library or get books. The library has tons of free resources and entertainment. FOR FREE! Well actually you pay taxes to use it, so do. 
  • Wear the clothes you have or buy your clothes at resale shops. If you must buy new then shop a sale but DO NOT SHOP for fun. I still buy 95% of all my clothes at resale.
  • Pack your lunch. It's also a great way to lose weight. 
  • Work out at home, take a walk, use a free app, ride your bike. The library often has free yoga. 
  • You should not have one app on your phone that isn't free until you are out of debt. 
  • Stop shopping unless you need something. 
  • Tuesday nights are usually $5 movie nights in my town. I am not saying never have fun but find the deals and stick to the budget. 
  • For meals out find the cheap places to eat or go to lunch or use a coupon. Lunch is usually 1/2 the price of dinner and 1/2 the calories. 
  • Don't shop resale, garage sales, or flea markets for fun if you are getting out of debt or trying to build your savings. Only shop when you need something. 
Video 8

9. If the emergency fund gets used go back to filling it up then restart debt pay off.

10. Once the debt is done then focus on 3 months expenses in the bank. 
If you make $4000 a month, then you will save $12,000.
Video 9 and 10

11. Pay off the mortgage and or invest in retirement. 
Here is where Dave and I differ. And it depends. At this point you have
a. no debt
b. An emergency fund that has three to six months living expenses
Dave would say put 15% in retirement. It depends on your situation and how you feel about it. Right now I have a good amount saved and my husband has police retirement. I know that with no debt we will have more than what we make now. So I am choosing to pay off the mortgage first and then start putting more into my retirement. And that's not 100% true. I am self employed so each year I ask my accountant how much I should contribute to my IRA to save money and I usually add in about $4000.
I also am not super confident in our government right now and don't feel great about the stock market.

12. Invest in retirement and then you can contribute to your kids college fund or help them with college. 
We have six kids. That's right. Three are currently in college and they get Pell Grants (some money not full), two of them get a load of scholarships and then they have to take out some loans. We pay what we can, this summer it was two summer tuition's which we paid cash for. We also pay for their car insurance and health insurance. We have also bought them all cars and we have helped at times but we also make them work for us if they need extra money. They are expected to work part time and go to college. I did and they can.

13. Help others or volunteer your time. 

When you don't have to work or retire you can give your time to others or your money to programs and people who are less fortunate and that feels good. You may be able to help your kids go through college, or help a grand child. It feels good to give.
Video Lesson 11 through 13


I will be posting videos and updating this frequently.


* So as a side note I was on this journey 7 years ago when I got a divorce. That threw me into a state of living in poverty. Still I stayed out of debt, worked harder, paid all my bills, paid off my car and lived pretty well taking care of four kids on less than $45,000. a year. The first few years I made only $27,000 but had some child support. It was hard as heck. Now my husband (I got remarried in Jan.) and I have worked up to having a 40 acre farm (that is our only debt and we have quite a lot of equity as we paid for a lot of it as we built it). I have a decent retirement account, we have six months expenses put back and a savings for large bills that come up like house insurance or tires. Things can come up and surprises and I know life is not perfect but we try, surprises and emergencies are much easier to recover from when you have an emergency fund. If we have a slip we figure it out but we don't give up.  We don't live a lavish lifestyle, we buy used items (often) from clothes to cars. We think about our purchases and we are now able to take a nice vacation (without any credit cards). Life is easier without debt and worry.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Why We Buy Rocks

This weekend I was doing some landscaping at my house with my mom and my husband. We were talking about buying edging for the gardens and I've always been partial to those little rock walls. Thinking "Well we have forty acres of rocks so that should work",  I realized that there are a lot or "rock shops" where I live that sell rocks. Yes they are easier to stack so there is that. Generally they can run between $100 a pallet to up to $900. I've actually purchased big Clinton rocks to build stairs before. Those stairs cost $900. Clinton rocks "grow" about 2 hours for me in Clinton, Arkansas.

So why am I telling you about rocks. Because I became resourceful and told my husband what I wanted to do and that man, working hard as he does, got the tractor and in 3 hours had piles of nice rocks up by my front garden beds. We will be using "Robinson" rocks off the Robinson's Ranch.

*Our cabin prior to landscaping.


We make life so complicated sometimes. One of my goals is to simplify my life and have a better quality. Moving to this big farm I have gotten where I crave it even more. I feel safe here, tucked away from the outside world of noise and crowds and consumerism. Here I feel like it's our little part of Heaven and I crave more and more time here.

Here are some of my reasons for simplifying & how I do it.

Reasons to Simplify
1. You don't have to work at a job you hate if you don't have debt.
2. You can enjoy relationships more.
3. The quality of your relationships is better when you are not stressed.
4. Having no debt brings a sense of freedom to travel or have hobbies.
5. You have time to focus on your "inner" well being as well as your overall health.
6. It gets you out of the rat race of consumerism that is never a long lasting thrill.

How to Simplify
1. Have a plan. Design your life. Where do you want to be in 1 year, 3, years, 5 years, 10 years..etc.
2. Figure out the steps to this plan. They will look something like this. Reduce bills, pay off debt (may require more work for a bit of time, short term work for long term gain), save money, work less, play more, enjoy life.
3. Have clear priorities about what you want so when you make decisions (especially financial) you can ask yourself "How does this impact my long term goals?". If you want to retire in 10 years on an average income getting a bigger house and going into more debt probably isn't part of your plan. Use your own rocks. :)
4. Get rid of the clutter, sale your stuff, pay off debt, save extra money.
5. Reduce your bills if you can. If you need to sell the boat, sell the fancy car with debt, sell the house (I've done it all for a time being then I was able to replace with cash eventually). Get rid of debt. I moved to a smaller older home (sold the one I built years ago). I drove an older paid for car. We sold the boat. Fast forward 14 years I purchased a farm, a boat, a car and built a home and we have no debt except a small mortgage that will be paid in a few short years. All because we saved and were able to pay cash.
6. Learn to meal plan, shop and cook at home. Reduce your meals out.
7. Learn to live with less clothes (This is so freeing I cannot tell you). Sell what you don't wear, buy better quality clothes (I find high quality clothes for a fraction of the price at resale shops, they are a bit nicer than thrift stores like Goodwill) that last. I bought two pairs of jeans that cost over $120 new in the past two weeks. I paid about $20 for them.
8. Think about entertainment cost. If we had good internet we would Net Flix everything but it's not possible where we live because we are limited on data so we are back to doing Red Box, even so a night at home with a Red Box DVD, homemade popcorn and smoothies cost us less than about $10 where a night out would be $50 to $100. I don't like crowds and would rather stay home with my honey and snuggle in my jammies and have my clean bathroom. :)
9. Daily you can make choices to help you save. If you meal plan you can cut a lot off your bill. If you buy breakfast at McDonald's every day for $6 a day every  week x a month this is $180 a month, if you eat at home for $1.00 to $2.00 (easy with oatmeal or eggs and toast) you are spending $30 to $60, you have saved $150 to $120 a month. In a year you are talking about $1800 saved! And people wonder where their money goes. It's about 5 choices a day like this. You feel it in your bank account. If I buy
$100 a month ($1200)  in retail clothing versus $200 every 6 months in resale clothing (and probably better quality) I have saved $800 a year! Recently I saw a woman on You Tube figure that making little choices like this each year saves her $14,000 a year. Seriously folks you can buy a good used car for that or pay off some serious debt.

Hope this helps. It really is the little things when it comes to money. Every once in a while you can save big like when I sold my house of 14 years and paid off my car and socked away a bunch of money. On a day to day basis you are faced with many chances to save that really add up.


Much Love,
Courtney


Thursday, July 5, 2018

How to Make a Net Zero Purchase

What does Net Zero Purchasing mean?

So I had this little happy accident when I put limits on my buying an spending for one year. If you follow me on my YouTube Channel, Facebook, or here you know I made a pact to not spend money on clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry or books for one year. Through this I discovered the net zero purchase, which is when the money you spend on something equals or is less than the money you received for that same type of item. 

Here is how it works. This year I made a caveat to my challenge. I could not buy these things unless I sold the same type of item and earned the money for it. So if I sold $11 worth of books I could spend $11 on books. I indeed spent 9.99 on a magazine and .99 cents on an ebook. 
On clothing I've been doing this for years but never really thought to much about it. I sell my clothes to a resale shop and get a credit that I can either cash in for a check or use in the store. I use the credit to buy new to me clothes. 

I've been thinking of doing this with my car. So my car is only three years old and I'm known to drive a car for a long time. However I've put almost 100,000 miles on my car in three years due to a crazy work life. I'm now considering driving my car two more years, saving the money I would spend on a payment and then selling my car and using that money to buy a new to me car. If I spend the amount of money I sell the car for then it is Net Zero. If I use the money I saved plus the money I sell the car for it is not Net Zero but I will have no debt. 
Recently we purchased a 2009 Camry with 50,000 miles on it for a second car for my husbands business. We paid $8000 cash for the car. 
If I sell my car for $10,000 in 2 years (now it's worth about $16,000) and I save $7320. Then I could spend a total of $17,320 for a new to me used car with low miles. Or I could choose to spend $10,000 on an even older car with less miles. 

How can you apply this in you daily life?
Well you can apply the examples I've given above or similar examples but also think about the hours you work in a week.
If you make $20 an hour and you spend $800 a week, that is similar except you need to have some savings for when big things come up. 
Start thinking about would I work this long for this item? If you want a pair of shoes and they cost $200 but you can find a similar pair for $60 or another pair at a nice resale shop for $20. Then you either work 1 hour, 3 hours, or 10 hours for that pair of shoes. Applying this to your purchases will help you keep your priorities in check. 

You can also barter for services. I will sometimes barter my services for hour for hour cost of someone else's services. $60 of yoga for $60 of massage. 

Living a Net Zero life and having savings and no debt will get you to a life of Financial Freedom which means being able to choose your work and how you live your life. You will be free of being a slave to the lender and have more control over your choices. 

5 Tips for Net Zero Purchasing
1. Grow food and barter for other folks who grow food.
2. Barter your services for other's services in dollar value.
3. Sale your clothes and use that money to buy new clothes.
4. Sale your books on Ebay and buy new books on Ebay.
5. Sale your jewelry, sunglasses and purses and buy new to you similar items at resale shops. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Free and Frugal Things to do in Hot Springs, Ar.




Last night I was looking over my old blog from about ten years ago and an article I wrote on visiting Hot Springs for under $20 a day per person. Coming home yesterday I was thinking of all the things I like to do in my hometown that don't cost much and how I should share with others. So here is my updated list.

When I have people come visit there are many things I share with them that are not on your local websites because there is so much beauty around Hot Springs. Here is my quick list.


  1. The Stueart Pennington Memorial Running of the Tubs, the bath tub races are free and so much fun. This community event was thought up by my late step father and runs every spring or early summer. https://www.facebook.com/RunningoftheTubs/
  2. Hike: Go to the visitors center for maps. Hot Springs has more trails than you could ever imagine for those who tire easy to the adventure seeker. My favorite hike is the trail at Lake Catherine to the falls. There are trails downtown, trails at Lake Catherine, Degray, Ouachita and more.
  3. Go swimming at a local beach. My favorite beach is in Hot Springs Village, Balboa beach,  but you will need to be a guest or get a day pass to go. It's so clean and nice. I feel like I'm in Florida when I am there. 
  4. The Village also has amazing hiking trails. 
  5. Downtown you can walk the Promenade, visit the Fordyce Bath House (My dad gives tours here), walk bathhouse row, visit the park at Arlington Lawn, stick your hands in the Hot Springs, and remember to bring your glass water bottles and jugs. Hot and cold springs abound and the water is free. Go to the visitors center for a map of the springs. 
  6. Take a drive to Hot Springs and West Mountain located in downtown! This is free, beautiful and fun. 
  7. Have a picnic at the Gorge, also part of the National Park and free.
  8. Go swim at one of the many beaches at Lake Ouachita.
  9. It's not free but you have to eat so pick up lunch and beef jerky at "Burls' Country Store" when visiting the beaches at Lake Ouachita.
  10. Visit the local library. Need a cool place to take a bathroom break, rest, check your email, check out our local library. It's fantastic. The kids library is amazing and everyone can enjoy a little quite time. They also offer lots of free events from Blue Grass Music to movie night. 
  11. Tuesdays is $5 movie night and cheap popcorn and cokes at the Cinema 10 in HS. Our movie theaters are not truly that up to date but they do the job and they are clean and friendly. You will need to give your phone and email to get the movie pass. 
  12. Flea market shop. Hot Springs has lots of great flea markets and antique shops. Google and visit for cheap take a ways for home. 
  13. When my kids were little we food packed when we traveled. It would be worth your while to rent a house, condo or hotel with a kitchen. Pack your food or visit our local Health Food Store "Good Earth" and pick up food, salads, soup, and goodies. Eat lunch and dinner at home and get lunch out. Lunch is much cheaper than dinners in Hot Springs. Places that have lunch specials that are good are La Hacienda, Rolando's, Hunan's, Cracker Barrel, and I am sure there are more but these are some good ones. I love Pho Hoang My, it's  great for dinner and very inexpensive. At La Hacienda I would recommend sharing the La Hacienda Nacho's. Cracker Barrel is also pretty good and inexpensive and has something for everyone. 
  14. We have many great city parks as well. My favorite is Energy Park for walking, fishing, and playing on the playground. Hollywood park is amazing too. 
  15. Visit Lake Charlton outside of Hot Springs. It's a cold spring and has waterfalls, picnic areas and ice cold water perfect for a hot southern day. 

Please feel free to ad to this list and thank you for reading! 

Monday, April 30, 2018

My Previous Single Life Retirement Plan

So I was proofing my own blog and had the thought that some people may see my "Retirement Plan' blog and think "Well yeah you are married with two incomes of course you can do it". However, I was on this plan to retire by 55 before I got married. Prior to Jim and I getting married we were both raising teens and or had kids in college living at home. It was tough, really tough. I still had a retirement plan even though my average income with spousal support and child support was less than $45,000 a year and that was with me working two jobs, working about sixty hours a week.

Here is what it looked like.

I had a car, one debt, and owed my lawyer enough to buy a nice used car within 18 months of my divorce. I also had a house payment that was more than about 40% of my income. I wanted to keep the house until all my kids had graduated high school.

What was my plan and how did that feed into where I am now.

Year one as a single parent I was flat broke, we purchased nothing and I simply paid my bills monthly praying for money for the next month. I took every job I could and marketed my business as much and as cheaply as I could.

Year two through four: I grew my business and took a big loss on the way. During this time I paid off my car with the profit from my business, paid off my lawyer and paid off that debt. In total it was over $34,000 in four years. I am not actually sure how I did it to be honest, I just put my head down and paid it and every time I had a surplus I paid on debt. During that time I put $100 a month in my IRA, and was very frugal.

Year 5: I sold my car and made about $10,000 total. *I forgot to mention I was able to help two of my kids buy cars for about $2500. With my $10000, I used $5000 to make some repairs to my house and put $5000 down on a new car with a warranty. I do not recommend buying new cars, my situation was this. My job had put me traveling and I needed a car that was reliable and could get through bad weather and made me feel safe. I often found myself driving through rural country so I decided to get a slightly used Outback. When I got to the dealership the used Outbacks were more than a new Crosstrek. I purchased the Crosstrek and put $5000 down, I've paid extra on it for three years and now only owe $11000. It will be paid off soon with the sell of my house and that is my only debt. I haven't regretted it because it has saved me on some dirt roads and creeks in Arkansas and Mississippi and through some storms and slick roads. The peace of mind has been worth it. My payment is also far less than I could afford and it has never hurt. MPG is almost double my previous car and insurance is the same. Effectively it's cost me $150 a month more to drive the newer car. The peace of mind has been worth it. I always new it would be paid off early.

Year 5 through 7: I stayed debt free besides the car, got another contract job. I'm basically killing myself working right now and trying to get to a point where I don't have to do this.

So...the point was "Retirement Single" where I was and where I would be if I was still single.

I would be at this time, seven years in:
1. Have a house for sale with the plan to move into a much smaller and cheaper house. *I had found one I wanted for $94,000 which would have put my payment after the down less than $500 a month with taxes and insurance.
2. I would have paid off my car with the sell of the house.
3. I would probably continue to work as hard as I am now because my focus has shifted to being with my husband.
4. My expenses are more with my husband because we live on a big farm. I would have had 1/2 of that with my son and I. I'm happy with where I am but this would have been the difference.
5. I would have probably been driven by need and worry to be quite frank to continue to work hard and save more and more so that I could still "Choose" my work by 55. My wants, needs and desires have changed since getting married.

If I was single on $40,000 a year it would look like this after the sale of the house.
After taxes $2900 a month.
1. House payment with taxes and insurance: $500
2. No other debt
3. Continue to contribute to an IRA and maybe even more.
4. Build an Emergency Fund up to thee months, six months and then one year.
5. I'd work on paying extra on the house note to pay it off early.
6. Utilities and wife: $300 (I would not have cable only Roku)
7. Health, auto and life insurance. I was getting free insurance when I was single, I imagine it would stay that way, auto is $80 a month and life was about $18 total less than $100.
8. Food $500 (I am obsessive about eating healthy)
9. Gas is covered and phone with my business expenses, actually so is car insurance.

MY total house payment, utilities and food would be about $1300 at the high end.
My car insurance, health insurance, phone, and wifi would actually come out as a tax deduction and off the top.
I would have approx $1600 left to pay on house and save and would probably use a little extra to help my kids and buy things I need or want.

You don't need a lot when you keep your expenses low and get out of debt. Debt is killing Americans. 50% of Americans cannot come up with $400 for an emergency.

If you are struggling look into a Dave Ramsey plan today. Change your mind set. Google Financial Freedom, watch You Tube videos. There are tons of people out there on $30,000 with no debt getting by comfortably. It's all about patience, mindset and being creative.

Love and Light,
C

Sunday, April 29, 2018

My Five Year Retirement Plan

Today I told someone I wanted to retire in five years. That's the first time I have said it out loud. Actually for many years I knew I wanted to retire by fifty five and I feel like I am on my way to doing that, but I've been on this track for seven years now. Now don't get me wrong retirement for me does not mean not working it means not having to work and choosing my work. By nature I am a creative entrepreneurial type person. Since I was a teenager I've been working as a contractor or doing my own business. Early on at the age of 15 I was doing contract modeling jobs  and bartering hair cuts and color for pictures in those hair magazines. In my early twenties I started a pet sitting, plant watering, check the mail business and then went on to have an essential oil blending company before it was cool back in the early nineties. I served over fourteen stores with that little business making bath salts and oils in my kitchen.
As my kids became toddlers I had to let that go and cleaned houses, something I had done off and on since I was fourteen. Until I sat down to write this I didn't really realize that I've pretty much always had a side gig, or what we used to call a second job! At thirty I started teaching yoga as a contractor, at thirty seven I opened a yoga school (back in 2008) and today, ten years later,  I still own that business. During all of this I was often an employee for long stretches of time (part time usually) and always had my own business. I ceased being an employee in 2012. For the past six years I've been solely self employed. Why am I giving you all this information? Because my point is that there is always a way to make extra money. Look around at what people need and match your talents with that or simply find something you don't mind doing or you are good at and do it on the side. The hard part is being self motivated when you don't feel like working. If this is you then you might need to actually find a second job for a while as an employee. Making money usually happens more so when you are not the employee but the owner.

So my five year plan is actually a plan I've had since I was forty and I'm now 47, so it's more like a 12 year plan. At age forty, broke, divorced and the mother of four surly teens I decided "I am going to retire at 55" or at least I will be able to choose the work I do and when I do it.

Before I go any further I would like you to know that I started this plan when I was making less than $17,000 a year, and my now husband wasn't making much more. We both were going through divorces and job changes. I paid off all my debts prior to marriage (except my home) with less than $40,000 a year in income.

The plan is simple.
1. Pay off all debts including the house.
2. Have plenty saved and live off some of the interest and side work as I choose.
3. Now that I am married my timeline has gotten smaller, my husband retires in five years and we will live mostly on his retirement which should be around $3000 a month. Not much for some people I know but let me tell you how that will work here in a few...stay with me.
4. Upgrade to two newer cars with low mileage within the next five years that will last a good long time.

1. Now we will have the car and tractor paid off by this fall when we sell my house in town.
Our income varies greatly but we have been working hard and have both grown our businesses at a good rate and based on the past three years we should be able to pay the farm off in 2 to 4 years. We borrowed only what we needed and paid for cash as we built it as much as we could, therefor we have a lot of equity right now. We also got it to bank satisfaction and closed the loan. We could have borrowed more but we chose to pay for finishing the farm as we worked and had cash. So six months after we moved in we just got a driveway! Next is staining the outside, then hopefully landscaping, we will pay cash.

2. We should be able to save one years income within the next two years (I have a good start on it) and still pay off everything.  We live on about 1/2 our income the rest goes to savings and debt.

3. I have a decent IRA and Jim has retirement and Social Security. I put about $1200 to $1500 a year in my IRA (my focus is more on debt freedom than the IRA).

4.  We should be able to save enough to buy two newer cars within five years.

I'm not going to give all the figures here but suffice it to say that Jim and I make less than $85,000 a year with two incomes. I drive a three year old Subaru and he drives a 14 year old Ford.
We live within our means and don't spend a lot of money.
It's really simple, we just don't spend. We always ask ourselves "Is this a need or a want?". Sometimes we allow ourselves a want but we keep our goal in mind.
We rarely buy new clothes, jewelry, or much of anything else.
Most of our money goes to taking care of our farm and our animals and food. Some goes to medical expenses as needed.
We have a gym membership and use if often, it's only $45 a month for both of us.
We have satellite T.V. and I hope to convince him to do an antenna and ROKU once our contract is up, at that our satellite is only $60 a month.
We often choose our spending around tax deductions since we own businesses. If we need to travel we try to make it around something we can do for business so we can take a deduction.
We also pay for many of our expenses out of our deductions like a large part of miles we drive (by combining trips with work trips). Need to go to Office Depot for work, get personal stuff done there too.


So by the time Jim is 65 and I am 53 we should be debt free and have a good savings with a couple of years of income in the bank plus and IRA and retirement.
He will get approx $3000 a month.
Interest on the savings will sit there and accrue we shouldn't need it.
I'll likely go to part time and still earn about $1500 a month (I am a contractor so I can pick and choose but I'll be pickier) If I need off I'll take off. My book sales (I am an author of one published book at this time and several others in the works) should generate some income and I'm working now on passive income with online material (building a store with my many years of materials from my work). This will allow me to still contribute to Social Security.


Income when we turn 65/ 53: Cowboy and Me = $4500

Utilities (Electric, Propane, Water) $175
Wifi and TV = 170 (We live in the country wifi is ridiculous)
Health Insurance = $675 *Hoping I can get cheaper when Jim goes on Medicare.
Homeowners Insurance and Taxes = $200 a month (we will pay yearly)
Car insurance = $150 a month (we pay twice a year)
Total = $1370

We also currently have
House cleaner = $200 per month (I may do this myself)
Food at home =$600  I hope to grow more and can and freeze
Fun and Food out = $200 (I am not sure we spend this much now)
Gas $300 (should be even less if we are not working)
Total = $1300

Total is $2670 a month for everything.
If we want clothes or anything else this shouldn't be a problem. I like to figure out ways to save money.
This will leave us with a surplus of $1730 a month (We will likely save so that I can eventually not need to make an income by age 59.5 when I can draw off my IRA).
Saving money is like a sport/ hobby to me. I get a thrill out of finding ways to do things frugally. It's especially exciting to me to get something of high quality at a thrift store or save for it and buy it on sale. I know it's geeky but being free of debt is pretty cool.

In the event something happened to one of us we would have the option of selling part of our 40 acre farm and having a much smaller home (Right now we are at about 1700 sq feet).
With a surplus of $1730 a month this should allow us to save enough to replace appliances, repair cars and make repairs on the house. When I turn 62 If we need it I can draw off my SS and IRA.
I will continue to put money into my IRA for as long as we have extra money. My hope is to max it out over the five years so that when I turn 59.5 I can draw off of it and that should give me an extra $1500 a month or so.


I would like to add here some ways I save money and intend to save more money.

1. Go to the library instead of buying more books.
2. Cook from scratch at home.
3. Be happy with less stuff.
4. Buy quality and make it last.
5. Clean up and reuse what I already have (like fixing a pair of shoes or painting a lawn chair).
6. Buying a good clean used car with very low miles when we upgrade.
7. Taking care of what we own.
8. Keeping things clean.
9. Utilize deals like gift cards, coupons, and discounts (when you are in a hurry you often don't do this).
10. Grow more of our own food.

Hope my plan helps some of you all. I would like to add that we would like to do some travel, though we live on a beautiful farm and truthfully don't like leaving to often. If we travel we will save and pay cash and most likely we will travel about two weeks at a time three to four times a year.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Tons of Money Saving Tips

So it's about six weeks into my Resourcefulness Challenge and I can see it in our bank account and I also feel happier. My creativity is growing at a massive rate. Things shift when you impose limitations, limitations can be an amazing tool to help you grow. 

Here's much of what has happened over the past few weeks.
There are tips here to help you save money, make money and build wealth, be financially free from debt and enjoy your life more. 

What would life be like if you didn't have to worry so much about money?
Here is how we do it. 


Love and Light,
Courtney