It’s not Monday, but the timing for this letter was perfect.
‘o’ is for Oakbridge… which is where I worked my first official job. Salary pay, benefits, job description, boss, all that jazz. It deserves more than a sentence and will get one in time. For now, it’s where I met Bec and Chelsey and Heidi and Lia and the Conants and the McKenzies and Curt… and that’s saying a lot right there. What was your first ‘real’ job?
and ‘o’ is for Outback… as in, Subaru. As of yesterday, we own two. This wasn’t intentional. The Boy has always been a 4-Runner kid. But, his last (used) one had a mechanical hiccup that was continually worsening and driving my mechanically-inclined husband up the wall. He drives over 30,000 miles a year… he needs to like what he drives. And, it needs to be able to haul. And, it needs to be professional. We decided to head back to the original dealership to see if we could trade it in before it was worth nothing. This limited our choices in the swap but got us a good financial deal. So, we now own 2 Outbacks. Ideally, we need a truck… trucks haul lumber and hay and tools and the occasional stray chicken. But, a truck will have come later with a bit more saving.
Coming into our marriage, I brought a maroon s-10 truck that I’d driven since I was 16 and some serious college debt. My dowry was awwwwwwwwwwesome. (Hi, honey! Love you!) We sold the truck after two Michigan Winters and I’ve been driving the blue Subaru (an ’01) ever since 2004. I love it. It has cup holders and AC. It’s impossible to get stuck in snow or sand. It fits 4 people, a car seat, a dog, AND groceries. Dude. I love the Outback.
It’s the first time in our (short) lives together that we have willingly gone into *extra* debt. We have house debt on TexasNorth, but that’s it. Everything else we’ve waited for, saved for, and ultimately paid for in cash. It’s unconventional, I know. We really worked hard to figure out a budget (this is my husband here… tell me what to do and I’ll do it, but there’s no *figuring* on my end) and stick to it. I take out a certain amount of cash each week from the ATM and that’s what we use… for everything. This is loosely based on the envelope/Crown Ministry/Dave Ramsey philosophy that many of you are familiar with… and it’s just what works for us. It makes us move very s l o w l y. This, for two slightly impulsive people, is a good thing.
It’s really hard. Sometimes, I cry. Sometimes, I just want to be able to spend and not think so hard every. single. time. But then I remember how hard we worked for the first 3 years to kill that excess debt and be free from it, and I jump back on the train. This replacement car (an ’06) has added a loan to our payroll, but we’ve got some serious strategy in our holsters.
I just want to encourage you- whatever your money philosophy. If you’re in debt and and can’t see the past your minimum payments: keep fighting. Fight! Fight! Fight! You *will* get there, and it will change your life. Money is on everbody’s mind these days. Where to spend it wisely. How to save it. Where to find it growing abundantly. Feel free to pass along any large or small hints that have helped you along your journey.