Savings

After saving for about one year we decided we were going to purchase an income producing property.  I had been trying to purchase a “no money down” property, which in this case means that you market to find a property that someone else wants desperately to get rid of and put it under contract.  Then you market that property to someone who wants to buy but cannot qualify through a bank and sell it to them on a lease option.  It is all legal and works out great for everyone involved.  The problem for me is that marketing skills are not my strong point. 

Finally, we decided to buy an REO, real estate owned, property from a bank, a foreclosed house.  We located many and viewed around 40 properties.  We even put a few bids in.  But, each time we did so, someone else always ended up buying the property first. 

After much frustration and prayer we decided to take all of our savings and pay off debt.  We were able to pay off both of our vehicle loans and a couple of credit card bills.  This left us almost competely debt free, other than a student loan.  We were really excited as now we would hopefully be able to save more money. 

Unfortunately, life and expenses happen and the increased savings never materialized!  But, we did get more serious about trying to figure out how to finance an investment property.  I’ll let you know what we did in my next blog!

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Buckle Up (more like buck up!)

My journey began after I started reading my son’s copy of  Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki.  He had read it years before and tried to convince me to read it also, but regrettably I did not do so.  It opened my eyes to several new ideas.  First, that I had to start paying attention to money.  We could not continue to just spend everything we earned.  Second, that we could learn to use money to make money (a totally foreign concept to both my husband and me) and finally,  that we needed to make changes IMMEDIATELY. 

We started by looking over our bank account and determining where our money went.  We were somewhat surprised by the number of items we purchased that really weren’t necessary.  Also, by the amount of money spent on splurges (coffee shops, eating out…)that on our limited income we couldn’t justify. 

Next, came the budget.  We itemized how much we needed for all of our monthly bills, including breaking down expenses that we paid for once or twice a year.  For example, we purchase organic beef once a year and pay property taxes and car insurance twice a year.  For these expenses we divided the total amount needed by 12 to come up with the monthly amount to set aside.  After doing this we found we did have a little extra.  Through my husband’s employer we signed up to have the extra put directly into a savings account.  Since we never saw that money all temptation was removed to spend that money.   

We looked for ways to cut our expenses.  Anything not absolutely necessary was cancelled, dropped or discontinued.  We searched for tips on saving money and ways of being frugal on the internet.  The whole family became more aware of energy conservation and turned off lights, tv, radios when they were not actually being used.  We switched from using expensive, land filling throw away baggies to reusuable, sealable plastic containers.  We conserved more on water (quicker showers, front load washer, shutting off water while brushing teeth…)to save on softener salt.  We looked closely at our grocery bill and tried to find ways to trim it by couponing, buying in bulk, buying from an organic buying club and purchasing only on sale or off brand items.  We also cooked more from scratch, and as a side benefit gained better health because of it.  With the whole family involved the savings began to add up. 

Next time, I’ll share what we did with all of the money we saved.

A Journey to Financial Strength

I am a stay at home mom with six children who recently realized that college tuition (my children’s) and retirement (my husbands!) are not that far around the corner.  With only one income, saving has been basically non-existent!  I decided to share this journey I am on, which started about 3 years ago, with others hoping to both get and give sound advice for saving and investing for my family’s future.  I hope others facing the same situation will learn from and enjoy this blog.