Sunday, November 2

Five Year Plan and Finances

Here are some of our financial goals:

1.) Pay off our debt.
Currently we have a home mortgage and a partially paid off minivan.

2.) Make wise financial decisions.
Sean's truck is paid off and books at just about what he paid for it. We plan on selling it and using the money to pay off the rest of the van and buy a smaller, older truck. If the economy continues to slow, we can cut back to one vehicle, which we've successfully done in the past.

3.) Plan for the future.
If you don't have a life insurance policy, you need to get one. If I keel over, Sean will have money so he can be home raising the kiddos and the same the other way around. I love that Sean has thought of me and made provision for us for the "just in case".
Some aspects of his radio show are annnoying, but we like the Dave Ramsey wisdom of handling money.
Will you be paying for your children's college educations?
Sean and I won't be handing out kzillions if our children choose to go to college. Both of us have seen stark contrasts in the effort of college students depending on if they are paying their way or have a free ride. We have made plans to teach them a skill to start a business (maybe drywall, masonry, selling produce at a Farmer's market, raising organic meat, computer programming, custom handcrafts, - whatever their natural bent is) so that they have finances to pursue whatever they like without having to flip burgers or go into debt.

What plans have you made for retirement?
This is one area where Sean and I need to get going. We have a 401K sorta thing from his corporate days but there are some options for business owners that we need to get going on.

4.) Pinch those pennies till they squeal.
Plan to get the most out of every thing that passes through your hands. I believe that someday I will be held accountable for every resource God has given me. Holding this thought in mind through the grocery store, thrift store, and in seeing other's needs is so helpful. Do I really need another cute teacup? Really?
How can you be better about the total at the bottom of the grocery receipt? Do you shop for labels or for quality?

5.) Teach them to your children.
Douglas and Kaelin have their egg business and have made a nice chunk of money. We have taught the children that ten percent is for spending, ten percent is for God, and the remainder is saved. Out of the savings they pay for chicken feed, new hens and ducks, and purchases specifically for giving. We think that by the time Douglas is a young man he will have a nice little nest egg as will Kaelin.
Teaching wise principles in regards to money is only worthwhile if you are leading by example.

7.) Don't buy with credit.
I say this with half a foot in my mouth.
All of our home reovations are paid in full. We bought three out of four appliances at a Sears scratch and dent outlet (full warranties!), the slide in range on ebay, and the cabinets from a locally owned store. Even with shopping for the best deals and pinching pennies, the sum for putting in a new kitchen was a hefty one. The money in the bank, we whipped out our mastercard and paid for the semi custom cabinets.
Our mastercard has a reward program that for such and such spent you get to choose free gift cards as your reward. We chose Sears gift cards and used the money to purchase our fridge and dishwasher for free!
Now I know I will never be on Dave Ramsey's show for admitting to credit card use but I can't help but feel like we pulled one over on the credit card company! There were no finance charges or late fees and we paid the bill online immediately.

8.) Save and spend.
This is the whole "don't go into debt thing". The remainder of our renovations include three bathrooms and a whole lotta drywall and spackle. We'll be saving and then spending. Being DIY'ers this works well because there is no way we can tackle everything at once.
9.) Can we enlarge our income?
This is something Sean and I are always asking ourselves, not because we are discontent or greedy, but because we have a vision in mind. Paying off our debt and finishing the house frees us up to sell it for profit and leaves us free to go wherever God would send us. In this season of life, I am not able to be much help with the income portion of things but I am able to controll to some extent the outgoing expenses.

What about you? What financial goals do you have? Are you pinchinng your pennies till they squeal? Cutting coupons? Keeping the heat lower? The lights off? Making apple cider donuts because they are $8 for a half dozen at the apple store? Are you using your available resources (money, friendship, clothing, hospitality, garden produce) to be a blessing to others? What ideas do you have? I covet your thrifty ideas! Leave a comment!


Sarah said...

Where can I get a maternity-mama sized apron just like your daughter's? It is so cute! :) I guess one more item to put on my sewing list!

This series has really been inspiring! I'm a planner, and my husband is a budgeter (he is a bit of an Excel-nerd) but we rarely work together to merge it all. One does some work and shows it to the other, who approves, and then promptly forgets about it. We are thinking of some big changes (and trying to pay off all of our debt) in the next year or so and I'm feeling compelled to work together for something similar. Thank you!

I think that you have a lot of the thrifty stuff down! Not many tips that I can share . . . we are a one-vehicle family so that helps (and our car loan is at 0% interest so we are paying off other items first) but we do live in the second most expensive city in the nation, so that is a hindrance! We are working this next year towards gaining experience and education to make a change in my husband's career so that we can move to a place where we want to live and be able to afford buying a house . . . so that is exciting!

Other than that, I cook a lot from scratch, buying huge bags of beans from Costco that we barely make a dent in, and (since we are a one-vehicle family) rarely make unneeded purchases simply because I'm not ever out idly shopping; when I have the car (once or twice a week) I've got specific errands and a purpose in mind!:) I try to coupon but don't get much from it as we try to eat as healthfully and organically as possible and most of the coupons I find are for convenience foods loaded with preservatives, corn syrup and food coloring. The place where I have really been able to save money with coupons is in personal cleaning items like shampoo and conditioner, and in watching sales and stocking up when things go on sale. For example, my husband can really only use one type of deodorant (he has sensitive skin) and it rarely has coupons available. Normally it is probably $4-5/deodorant and the grocery stores have it on sale sometimes for 2/$7. Target, last week, had it on sale for $1.99/each so I went there and bought eight of them. He is set for several months now until I see another sale like that! Same thing with shampoo . . . I wait until my grocery store has the buy one, get one free options on the brands I like (which I normally have coupons for), then I use a coupon (normally $1/off) - my grocery store doubles coupons, so I get $2/off and I end up getting two bottles of quality shampoo or conditioner for something like $3 instead of $10. When I have sales and coupons like that I stock up, and then don't buy personal products for months!

These aren't any new tips, but if I can save money in one place, then I feel better about buying organic milk or free-range eggs for my family in the other side of my budget! We also eat seasonally to save money . . .

Thank you again for this series!


Lynn Hasty said...

Hannah, this is so timely for me. Though I already know it to be true, I need to hear it over and over. With Thomas recovering right now, the thought of him working less could become a reality. We need to be prepared.


Keli said...

Ooooh, Hannah! Apple cider donuts! Yum! Recipe please? As for the rest of your post, right on!

Diane said...

I feel that there is a huge connecting that the church especially, is missing. BARTERING! You can not leave your house to pursue financial gain.... I am not a good cook, but I may be able to run errands, hang wallpaper, garden, watch children, etc. for you in exchange for meals made. So, let's trade! The church is supposed to be a family or community that can lift each other up. Trade and bartering made up a huge void that was created in former communities where silver and gold were not in abundance. Do I honestly know who in my church is a CPA, speech therapist, piano teacher, furniture refinisher, seamstress and on and on and on? As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I got to say about that."

Me said...

Sarah, I am with you in frustration at the lack of coupons for wholesome foods! I've found that e-mailing the companies that I like to buy foods from and requesting coupons, works!

Lynn, I've been thinking of your husband and praying for a quick recovery!

Keli, I'll post that recipe when I get another free minute. They were delicious!

Diane, I absolutely LOVE your idea. I would gladly trade home baked goods or eggs or sewing for upholstery work or lessons for my kids!

JuJu's Place said...

LOVE the inspiration-- comes at such a timely moment in our life here! Thank you and warm wishes on your plans in the next years!

Beth said...

Great post! We also use a Sony credit card, but pay it off every month. By doing this we have gotten several Sony products for free, including 2 digital cameras, a camcorder, a dvd/vcr combo, and a portable dvd player. All for FREE. I have to say, if you are disciplined enough to not spend outside your budget, getting a credit card with bonus points is actually wise.

Anonymous said...

Im not sure how I stumbled across your blog but Im really enjoying it. Its now bookmarked. I have recently started clipping coupons to try and save some money. We would love to be able to purchase a house soon!!

Me said...

Thanks, Juju's for the warm wishes! Gritsgirl, thank you for stopping by! Well, I'm off to grocery shopping and the library! Have a beautiful day!

Anonymous said...

Our church, for the last 3 years, has put together a "Common Sharing Days". Families bring in their "stuff" and set it on tables that have been marked: toys, housewares, home decorating, shoes, mens and womens clothes, boy and girls clothes, ect. We organize it for about 3 days and then we let the church families come and "shop" on Wednesday before and after church. We then open it to the community for a free garage sale. This has been such a blessing to our family and we in turn have blessed other families with our "stuff".

We cook from scratch, heat with wood, use oil lamps to cut electricity, recycle all things to cut on garbage tags, shop thrift stores for clothes, christmas gifts for the children and for coats. I don't use the dryer at all. This alone saves 30.00 a month. I bought a dispenser for the bathroom to hold shampoo and soap so the children don't waste it. I add water to shampoos and to liquid soap to stretch them. If I need an item, I ask myself if I can make it, substitute something else or borrow it.

We have a homeschool share day, when people bring their used books and such to trade or lend to other families.
We live on one income and use one vehicle. I stay out of stores and shop at Aldi's for all my groceries. We buy a half a beef, half a hog and raise our own chickens for meat and eggs. We have a huge garden and freeze or can the produce for the winter. Our home is paid for but we bought into the lie of using equity in your home for some improvements! DON"T DO THIS!!! Hindsight is 20/20. I hate having a payment and the improvements are long forgotten and there is that payment each month. We are trying to tweek our budget for only the necessities and use the extra to pay off our HEL in 18months. It will be hard but if we live like no one else, then we can live like no one else.

mandi said...

what a fun post! i love gleaning ideas from others! here's what i do:
cook from scratch

buy directly from the farmer (meat,produce,milk,butter)

one vehicle

our debt is our home, but we've paid off our 20% loan in only 2 years! (of course that leaves the 80%!)

netflix! no late fees : )

unplug unused appliances

only wash during the coolest parts of the day

raise our own eggs (we live in the city)

i run an organic co-op for bath/body/cleaning/spices/herbal teas (i get the products for 1/2 of what the store charges)

we walk/bike as much as possible

buy from thrift stores

handmake gifts (finger paint, play-do for kids, clothes, aprons, pillows, quilts etc. for friends)

make my own deoderant, dishwasher detergent, face cleansing oil, etc

trade babysitting

and to make a little extra i just started a granola baking cottage industry with a friend!

Jen said...

LOVE all the idea's Hannah, and other ladies too!! It all bundles together to help make us more like a Proverbs 31 women, eh?

Hannah I liked your wink at the credit card industry-- they do have so many rewards now. We use ours for flight miles. We have almost 4 free tickets that we will use next summer to fly out west for vacation. The flight alone would have cost around 3,000.... It took us a couple of years, but IF the cards can be used and paid off-- then it is a sizable gain!

We just made a great investment purchase on a little hobby sized farm..(instant equity)!...we plan on getting chickens soon, and goats to make cheese, soap ect!! Sooo excited!

God has been dealing with me on the issue of what I spend... I had been known in my younger days to be quite a shopper! The BEST thing I can do is to stay OUT of stores!!! It is amazing how much needles spending is done by just the "little things"! I have so many things in my closet that if I could expend more energy on working out, then I could fit into them again!!:) I think it is about knowing what we are week in, and dealing with those things head on with the Lords help!

Anonymous said...

Those are great goals! We are working on pretty much the same stuff. We recently became debt free after a lot of hard work (I'll post about that sometime soon). It is SO worth it.

I love your plans to help your children be able to earn their way through college if they want to go. We would love to do that too. Especially having just paid off over $70k of student loans (grad school too). I hope you'll write more about that sometime.

I also do the buy-with-credit-pay-it-off thing, I admit. We keep debating getting rid of that one last card, but it can be useful.

The thrifty stuff is pretty much all I blog about, so I won't list a whole bunch of things here. I love learning and practicing the many ways I can help us keep more of the money my husband brings in. It's like tax free earnings. I think you do a good job already, from what you share with us. I'm always reading books and blogs, trying new things. I think it's fun too.

Good luck with everything!


Anonymous said...

Love all the ideas... I am all for the kids paying their own way thru school...
I like to go to the stores after holidays/end of seasons to get stuff for next year... wrapping paper. winter etc...
I try to always ask myself, do I really need this before I buy anything.. We have credit cards. But they are all paid off, I hate having one, but in todays world you have to have one. But we never use it. We also do not use debit cards. I try to make it harder to spend money. When money is easy to get to, it is eaiser to spend.
And a rule in our house... any spare chang found ANYWHERE goes in the no spend account at the bank... Might just be a penny or two... but it adds up !

Love your Blog.


Me said...

Hannah, we try to pinch our pennies till they scream. What gets me is when the checker at the store says as he has you change in his hand, “Do you want your penny?" "Well, uh, ya, I, I, I guess I sure do 'cause a hunderd of them thar things makes a WHOLE darn dollar!"

Seriously speaking, my husband has three offers of help to reroof our house. Then in the spring, he’ll help them. He is going tomorrow to fix a guy-from-work’s plumbing, and maybe in the future, this guy will help us somehow. I love the you-help-me-I’ll-help-you way of doing things, and we want to do more of it.

Camille said...

Love, love, love that you used the credit card to get the Sears gift cards! That is just brilliant! I'm guessing the days of doing that will be over soon (due to the new credit card laws and the companies losing so much money), but that is really the way to use a credit card smartly!

Me said...

Thanks, Camille. We are good about paying off our credit balance each month. With Sean having his own business, he gets checks in at varying times, never at a predictable time so we've had to use credit. This past Christmas we got a $100 gift card for Marshalls and one for Lands End both for free, which we used to buy gifts, winter boots and such.
Not that I am a lover fo credit card companies in any way. I think they are evil and I think you really have to know yourself and your ability to shop with restraint and pay the total each month before getting one. But, yes, I have enjoyed the free-ness at their expense.