I was inspired by debtfreeplusbabies on Instagram to give Poshmark a try. I’ve listed a few of PoniesandFIREjr’s outgrown clothes and then added a couple kid’s toys. I was feeling like nothing would ever sell, but I finally got a bundle offer yesterday on two toys. They offered $10, I counteroffered at $15 and they accepted. I’ve printed my label and will put it in the mail tonight. Go me!
I have no idea how I get paid or how long the process takes, but so far this has been pretty straightforward, so I assume the payment process will be as well.
This weekend Mr. PoniesandFIRE is out of town, so I am planning to spend a bunch of time Saturday night listing items on Poshmark. I think I have another 15 items I could get listed. We have some big expenses coming up (propane, wood pellets, new tires, etc), which we have budgeted for, but will be a little tight, so any extra I can get in will bring us some peace and breathing room.
I also set a personal goal of getting the truck down to $16,000 by the end of the year, which is a reduction of $4,742 from where we are today on it. My plan is to send $1,200 for the next payment in September. Truck loan, we are coming for you…
Mr. PoniesandFIRE and I are not surrounded by a plethora of frugal individuals. I have one co-worker who is pretty financially savvy and we both casually joke about our 5 year retirement plans, but we don’t talk too many details. Other than that, sometimes it feels like us against the consumer driven world.
It gets tiring to say no to spending all the time when surrounded by people saying yes. Sometimes, I feel jealous of their carefree attitudes. More often, I feel anxiety for their futures.
It is amazingly helpful for me to feel connected to the #debtfreecommunity and the Mr. Moustache forums to help keep the focus. I am on my PoniesandFIRE Instagram account more than my “real life” account at this point. Between all these online communities and writing in this blog, I feel encouraged and more content in our choices. It feels like we aren’t so weird to focus so heavily on creating a solid financial foundation over buying the latest gadgets and gear.
It is more than the frugal tips and new ideas I am gathering by reading and seeing all these posts. I find myself becoming caught up in other people’s journeys. I am excited for their wins and successes. I feel disappointed for people when they are struggling. A simple like or comment on a post gives me a boost on a hard day.
If you are new to trying to improve your finances, I strongly suggest diving in deep to the online communities and being an active instagrammer during your journey. In the crazy and sometimes cruel world of the internet, the #debtfreecommunity and Mr. Money Moustache forums are amazingly filled with good people ready to give some honest support as you change your life for the better.
Happy mid-August! This month is going well, but not perfectly. I found out I needed a crown at the dentist and the co-pay was $650. Ouch. We cash flowed that this week, but we are now in a strict no spend situation until we get paid again, as our mortgage also comes out this week.
I was feeling a little down about this, but how then I flipped my thinking. How amazing is it that we can cash flow a $650 co-pay?!? Pretty boss, if you ask me.
We have been under budget for the last two weeks on groceries AND I sold my flute from high school for $100. We put that money into our vacation fund. We are going to Disney after Thanksgiving and even though we are pre-paying for everything, we are going to need a little cash on hand so I’m psyched we have that money for that already.
Our latest payment on the truck cleared and we now owe $20,742. I am listing stuff like crazy on Poshmark and FB Marketplace and hoping that I can put together the money to get UNDER $20k ASAP on that.
We are also getting close to being in the $120s on our mortgage and I am going crazy keeping myself from sending extra from our emergency fund to that to make it happen. For some reason, that feels like such a big milestone. Mr. PoniesandFIRE and I agreed that we wouldn’t send extra to the mortgage until the end of 2018 and that paying off the truck would come first, so I have to keep it together. Jumping from goal to goal without completing the first one does us no good.
I fell down the personal finance rabbit hole after we bought our house and I looked at how long 30 years was! I panicked and found myself googling “how to get out of debt faster,” which brought me to the world of Dave Ramsey.
If you are new to trying to take control of your finances or looking for some new motivation, here are my 5 favorites!
1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (www.amazon.com/Total-Money-Makeover-Classic-Financial/dp/1595555277/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533906756&sr=8-1&keywords=total+money+makeover)
This book started us on our journey and I loved it. We are not super religious, so we glossed over those references, but it really does have common sense suggestions. If you feel overwhelmed, read this and follow it. It is a great game plan to get started and feel the power of making progress. Commit to follow it for six months and see how much your life can change!
2. Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan (www.amazon.com/Retire-Inspired-Its-Financial-Number/dp/1937077810/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533907192&sr=1-1&keywords=retire+inspired+chris+hogan)
Mr. Hogan is under the Dave Ramsey umbrella, so a good part of this book echoes the words of Dave Ramsey, but takes it to the why and what of retirement. I loved the sentiment that retirement is not related to age, but instead your financial position and this steered me towards looking not only at our current budget, but what our budget will look like in 10, 15, 20 years.
3. The Simple Path to Weath by JL Collins (www.amazon.com/Simple-Path-Wealth-financial-independence/dp/1533667926/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533907254&sr=1-1&keywords=the+simple+path+to+wealth+by+j.l.+Collins)
After falling down the Dave Ramsey rabbit hole for a few years, I started to branch out and become interested in other ideas. This book was the KEY to creating a plan for our investing finances beyond “put 15% in your 401k.” I wanted more, I wanted to optimize and I wanted the security of financial independence and this book laid it out for me.
4. Mr. Money Moustache’s blog (www.mrmoneymustache.com/)
Not a book, but a blog with more information than I knew what to do with. I think if I hadn’t started with Dave Ramsey, I would have been overwhelmed and turned off by the extreme ideas there, but following the Dave Ramsey plan was a little extreme and I saw the success from that so taking it a step further seemed reasonable at this point. This blog truly helped me understand the 4% rule and get a handle on what our real “FI” number is.
5. The Frugalwoods blog (www.frugalwoods.com/)
Again, not a book, but a blog, but she also has a book which I also loved (Meet the Frugalwoods). Her story is inspiring and being the same age as me and the fact that she moved about 30 minutes from where I grew up, really is relatable for me. The message of frugality putting them in the position to choose what brings them joy in life and chase that, rather than materialistic goods is fantastic. It has helped me reframe my thoughts on when and how I spend money and what items I need in my house/life.
Dave Ramsey is an advocate for the emergency fund and presses listeners to build up savings when a potential storm is on the horizon. Although we have a nice amount in our baby step 3 pile, I think Mr.PoniesandFIRE and I will be following this advice and boosting our emergency fund.
Mr.PoniesandFIRE works in the railroad industry and his company has had a series of situations that make us a little concerned about possible changes in the company, including annulments and possible layoffs. There are rumors of pink slips and some coworkers below him on the roster are sending out resumes to other railroads. He has enough seniority that we aren’t super concerned, but his company may be facing some EPA fines and/or lawsuits, so we foresee some belt tightening on their end for sure.
If Mr.PoniesandFIRE were to be out of work, we could survive on my income and my business income, but we would need to be more diligent, as it would be very tight. This little bit of fear is pushing me to review the budget and see what we can adjust NOW in order to put ourselves in a more prepared situation.
1. Groceries – we’ve been a little lax about sticking to the budget here and things like beer or a bottle of wine cause us to creep over. Time to stick to under $100/week!
2. Cell phone bill – mine is paid by my work, but Mr.PoniesandFIRE’s could certainly be reduced. Time to investigate!
3. What else can we sell? I have someone interested in my old flute from high school through FB Marketplace. I am supposed to meet them tomorrow, so hopefully that will be gone by the weekend and an extra $100 in our pockets.
Mr.PoniesandFIRE currently has a 40 hour guarantee, even if he’s annulled, so I really am not too worried for the short term, but this is definitely a reminder that even with three stable incomes in our household, there is always reason to keep a good emergency fund and extra incentive to reach FIRE ASAP.
I saw a quote on Instagram this morning about how you don’t pay for things with money, you pay for them with hours of your life. Whoa, what a way to think about purchases.
I’m sitting during my lunch thinking about how many weeks at work of my life my truck purchase was. The answer is way more than I am comfortable with for sure. Then I’m thinking through how many weeks of my life are going to be spent before it’s finally paid off. I love my truck, but I don’t think this is a mistake I will ever repeat. I intend to drive this truck until it falls apart and then my next truck will be paid for in cash and absolutely used.
We are seven years away from our FIRE goal and it just feels like the progress we are making is so slow. The truck feels like a logjam holding back our progress. I’ve been ignoring this debt because of the low interest rate and the fact that we had two important home repairs to make (windows and garage roof), but now that those are done, I WANT IT GONE.
Our current plan is to bank as much cash as we can between now and the end of the year. In the New Year, once we have an idea what we will owe in taxes, we pay it off in full. Worst case scenario, April 2019, no more truck payment.
Then, December 2021, no more house payment.
Then, December 2025, FIRE.
Because I want my hours more than I want more things.
1. Reduce food waste! Last week I was halfway through cooking shrimp when a horse emergency meant it ended up in the trash, as I rushed off to the barn. Horse is ok now, but I wasted like $4-$5 of shrimp. Ugh. I am newly resolved to stick to a meal plan, use food from the garden AND eat up all the leftovers this month.
2. Less splurges on food. July always seems to equal grilling steaks and fancy IPAs in our house. I’m going to try to keep our protein inexpensive and lean, and keep the alcohol purchases cheap to non-existent.
3. Fix our clothes line! I’ve been using our dryer too much, partially because our clothes line outside broke and we haven’t gotten around to fixing it. So that is happening for sure.
4. Stay active on my PoniesandFIRE Instagram account. This doesn’t save us any money, but it definitely is helping me stay motivated.
5. Sell something on FB marketplace. I haven’t listed anything lately and have tons to declutter still!
New month/new goals!
We have a family vacation planned in the first week of December and my big goal this month is to pay that off in full. We have not been on a family vacation that wasn’t for a wedding or to visit family EVER, so even though I feel a little guilty about it, it is time.
After this vacation, we don’t intend to take another big vacation until our house is paid off in FULL.
I am also hoping to squeeze another $200 from the budget to send to PoniesandFIREjr’s 529 account. That would move us into four figures in that account. We don’t plan to go crazy on the 529, at least until we have all our debt gone, but I also don’t want to completely neglect it while we have time on our side.
We spent some time on the 4th driving around some smaller lake homes. There is one for sale currently that, if we sold our home and bought that, would halve our mortgage. It’s on the lake we like, which is a five minute commute for me. It’s only 680 square feet however, which sounds a little insane for 3 people, 2 dogs and a cat to live in. There is some decent outdoor space and we could probably add on a garage and laundry room, but obviously that costs money and would counteract the savings.
I’m really torn on what we should do. I love our house, but it’s huge. I want to downsize and save money and accelerate our journey to FI, but there are so many positives to our home too. Where we are now, we have apple trees, room to garden, room to have chickens. I could add blueberry bushes and a full orchard, if we wanted.
It also is another wrench in the plans that the 58 acres that butts up to our land that I absolutely LOVE and dream of owning, the owners are now putting it up for sale. WHAT DO WE DO?!?!?
If we stay and buy the land, we are 10 years away from FIRE. If we downsize, we could probably do it in 5. Still having a huge mental struggle on what to do…
1. Family hike. We try to do a couple family hikes each spring, summer and fall. PoniesandFIREjr calls it “going exploring.” We bring the dogs, pack snacks and go have an adventure. If we’re not feeling super motivated, we have a ton of walking trails local to us that aren’t too overly difficult. PoniesandFIREjr is also super into maps for some reason, so as he gets a little older, I think we will implement some sort of map in the house where we can mark the hikes we’ve done.
2. Day at the lake. We have a free waterfront area at the lake here in town. PoniesandFIREjr can waste away hours playing in the water and sand. We bring a bucket and some shovels, pack a picnic lunch and we’re good to go.
3. Library time. Our library is super fun. It is dog friendly (seriously, there are dog beds and treats for all visiting pups!) and it’s cool in the summer heat. We will go spend an afternoon or evening picking out a dvd, puzzle or game and two new books for the week. Sometimes we’ll hang out for a while and read. Our librarian lets PoniesandFIREjr use the scanner to check everything out, which he loves.
4. Hit up all the school playgrounds. With school out, we have a couple nice school playgrounds near us that are sitting empty. Since PoniesandFIREjr isn’t in elementary school yet, they’re exciting and new to him! It’s free, it’s easy and when we get bored with one, we try another.