Carrie and I like to think that we are good with money. We contribute to our 401k every month, we put some in savings each month. We pay all our bills on time. With the exception of our mortgage, we don’t carry any debt. I’d say we are doing pretty good, right?
It hasn’t always been this way. When we got married, we had a lot of debt. We both put ourselves through college. We both had decided that we deserved that nice car. And once we got married we just had to have that new furniture. Student loans, car loans, and credit cards. We had it all. Right around $60,000 in debt.
We knew this was a problem and we started working on it shortly after college. We listed them out and started paying a little extra on them every month. A few years later we discovered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. By that point we had eliminated our credit card debt, but the baby steps helped us to get organized and to work through the rest of it. Bam! All we have now is a mortgage. We are are good money! Right?
In 2013 we decided to sell our home. Both of our jobs had moved across town and what used to be a 15 minute commute to work had turned into a 45 minute commute each way, for both of us. We had been in our house for over 10 years and we had never intended to be there that long. It was time for an upgrade! And upgrade we did. We went from a 1400 sq ft home to a home that’s just over 2900 sq ft. Woo hoo! We are living the dream!
This seems like a good situation. I suppose if we compare our situation with most Americans we are doing pretty good. But that house came with a $220,000 mortgage. And because interest rates were so low and we wanted to make sure we had plenty of disposable income each month, we financed that baby for 30 years. Oops. I admit it, we fell off the baby step wagon. But compared to most Americans we are doing pretty well, right?
I’ve recently discovered Mr. Money Mustache. Do you know him? This guy is inspiring. He and his wife saved a boat load of money and they invested it and they decided to live off the income of those investments. They retired at age 30. Man, they are lucky. If I had made a lot of money and could invest it I could do the same thing. What? They worked in the tech industry? I work in the tech industry. My wife has a pretty good income. Wait a second…
Here’s the thing. We aren’t special. Our situation isn’t very different than a lot people out there, rich people or poor people. If we saved and invested more of our income we would be in a better financial situation than we are now. How can we save more? Well, making more money hasn’t worked for us. So, maybe it’s time to try spending less. Here’s a funny thing, if you slow down, simplify your life, spend less that you make, and give some away, you will be a healthier and happier person. Sound good?
Then here we go. We have decided that we want to keep our home. It is important to us. And here’s the thing, if we cut out some fat in our monthly spending and we put off a few projects, we think we can have this thing paid off in 5 years. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take discipline. We are going to have to keep each other accountable. But we can do this. It’s the beginning of the rest of our lives. Can you imagine? A paid off house and no debt? We could do whatever we wanted. Not to mention the sense of safety it would provide us. Now that’s living the dream.
Will you join us on this journey?