I’m a 28 29 30 31 32
33 34 35 36 year old female living in the suburbs of a fairly large city. My husband and I started our own insurance brokerage several years ago, and in the process, took on about $38,000 in debt. It was “good debt”, used to start a business, but I hated it just the same. I’ve always been a saver, and had never had any debt until we started our business.
I worked my way through college, drive a ’91 Civic, and never carry a balance on my credit card. Having such a large (in my opinion) debt brought out a new level of frugality in me. Our debt was at its highest point in the summer of 04, and it’s now about $5000 in the fall of 06. And we’re still in the first five years of having our business, when experts say it’s unlikely to be profitable. We’ve paid down $33,000 in debt in just over two years, and managed to keep up with our mortgage and living expenses at the same time. We’ve had lots of fun as well – a trip to New Zealand, new (to us) mountain bikes, and lots of time to enjoy ourselves. So I thought I’d share some of the ways we’ve managed our money and hopefully inspire other people who are juggling debt.
UPDATE, August 2007: We officially paid off the last of our business start-up debt this month. Only the mortgage left!
UPDATE, August 2008: We’re now a family of three – our son is three months old, and the center of our lives these days. We’re still working on paying off the mortgage, and have added a few other savings goals. We’re maxing out both of our IRAs and our HSA this year, for the first time ever. We’re also working towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle… saving for solar panels, setting up a hydroponic garden for vegetables, and working to reduce our levels of consumption across the board. We’ve always been environmentally conscious, but this has taken on a new degree of urgency for us since becoming parents. Organic food, avoiding chemicals, reducing the amount we drive, figuring out ways to live green and still be as frugal as possible – these are all a major focus for us.
UPDATE, October 2009: We’ve been in our new home now for nearly four months. We decided at the beginning of the year that we were serious about trying to live as self-sufficiently as possible, and started searching for a home with a larger yard. By moving out of the city to a small town, we were able to buy a house with a 3/4 acre yard for the same price that we sold our suburban home. We spent the summer settling into our new place, planting an orchard and berry patch, digging garden beds, and dreaming big dreams for our small-town farm.
UPDATE, February 2012: We’re a family of four now, and have been since last spring. Our baby is ten months old and keeps us entertained and busy! We’re still very focused on our goal of paying off our house as soon as possible and saving as much as we can for the future. We’ve been in our house almost three years and have paid off almost six years on our 15-year mortgage… so far, so good. We’re still learning a lot about gardening, but we’ve had two successful years of gardening so far, and we’re excited for this summer when a lot of our fruit trees and berry bushes should start to produce more fruit.
Aside from reading everything I can find about personal finance and acting as our family CFO, I love to mountain bike, run, hike, snowboard, snowshoe (pretty much anything active and outdoors will do), and hang out with my three guys.
UPDATE, August 2014: I’ve had a second job now for a year, and I love it. I write content for a large website, and it’s a dream job in every way. Our older son is in first grade now, and our little one is three. They keep us busy and entertained, and we love watching the little men that they are growing to be. My husband and I are working hard towards our goal of financial independence by our mid to late 40s, so we’re saving a good chunk of our income and continuing to live frugally and avoid lifestyle inflation. Keep your eye on the prize!
You can email me at frugalbabe5 at gmail
Thanks for reading, and happy savings!
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Disclaimer: I often write about how our family manages money and lives frugally. As with anything you read online, please don’t take this as direct advice for your specific situation. I’m not a financial planner or certified anything. I’m a wife and mom working to make my family’s financial future as secure as possible. I welcome discussion on the blog and love to see your ideas in the comments section. But please make your own decisions about what to do for your own finances – don’t do something just because I (or anyone else you know) did it.