O is for…

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.  


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

21 responses to “O is for…

  • sunday

    first “real” job, State Farm Insurance selling insurance. Totally not what I expected to be in life but thank God for a man who was willing to give me a chance and to pay full benefits with out one cent coming out of my paycheck. I miss that insurance! I had an outback. I was not a fan, I am glad that you are. I also have a husband who will not let us go into debt. We just have house debt but I guess that is good debt and very small at that. This is the reason my car has 207,000 miles on it and no chance in sight of getting a new one. Stupid Hondas run forever!

  • Julie

    I have been reading your posts regularly but I think I have just been too lazy to comment lately. and too lazy to blog myself.

    However, I have enjoyed them all.

    I am so impressed by your cash spending system. i somehow married someone exactly like me in that respect….no too great with money. That and the housing market is hitting like a ton of bricks these days.

    We were visiting friends the other day who live across the street from camp merrimac and could hear constant screaming the entire evening. I thought of you and the other gals who worked or went there and wondered if you all screamed and shrieked like that back in the day. 🙂

    I love my apron

  • Cortney

    We work the modified Dave Ramsey plan also–no credit cards, no debt beyond the house, a large emergency fund. It’s funny that you posted this today, as we were just discussing our budget last night and I was lamenting the old days when I used to make so much money and spent without agonizing over every purchase. I know in my heart it is better this way, and that we’ve made our lives so much better by managing our money so scrupulously, but I know EXACTLY what you mean about tears and wishing you didn’t have to scrutinize every penny. It’s the right thing, I’m sure of it, but, dang, some times it is SO hard!

  • Jessica "Haynie" Carr

    Did you read my mind or something. Just last night I was at a loss. I couldnt see past my debt. It haunts me. My goal was to have it taken care of by the time we had kids. God apparently wanted me to have kids sooner. But the debt eats at me. We are working on it. We are trying to take care of it. I babisit Grace just to pay it. My share at least. Yesterday I just couldn’t see past it and it hurt. I just want it gone. July 2010 never looked sweeter.

    I too love my Subaru. Its a 99. It hauls a** in the snow. Its PAID for!!

  • texasnorth

    Um, for the record, I was *not* a screamer at camp. Sunday was, though 🙂

  • sunday

    wow katie, that hurts! don’t blame me for having tribe spirit!

  • Miss Laura

    First off, I may be breaking one of the ten commandments when I look at that picture of the two Outbacks…trying to figure out if one can envy something in good spirit? Ha.

    I’m glad you posted about money management, especially on the heels of our recent conversations…it’s been my and Josh’s minds a lot. Jessica – I feel you!!! Sunday – I wish our car that has 204K miles was a Honda and we could just hang on to it, but you know when it’s a GM and you have that many miles you’ve already been given an unexpected gift of 50K and it’s time to move on. *sigh* Count that blessing, for what it’s worth! 🙂

  • Susannah

    first real job began with a “p”. i was a lab tech at patheon, a small pharmaceutical company, complete with lab coat and safety glasses. and magical swipe cards that opened mysterious doors. i was soooo proud of myself 😉

    and i also find myself, uh, coveting (shhh) those two lovely outbacks. we’re currently a two civic family. and it’s getting a little cramped with the carseat and the dog, and sometimes a canoe or a chicken for good measure. but my husband is a saver too, so unless one of those civics truly dies, we’ll keep truckin’ on four cylinders… i had no idea that i penny pinched all through university to get a real job so that i could keep pinching pennies for the foreseeable future 😉 just occasionally i’d like to buy something unnecessary or go on a big trip…

  • AmyD

    I like this post. I too am thankful that we only have house debt. Hubs wants to pinch and save every dime and pay it off real fast. I am not thrilled about this. But it does seem like the right thing to do.

    One thing that has helped is we are both allowed $10 fun money every month. It isn’t alot but it can be saved/spent/given with no questions asked. Gives me a little sense of the old days when I never thought about what I spent, without the guilt or the credit card interest. I usually spend it on mc donald’s sweet tea, baby clothes, and chai lattes. mmmmm.

    Oh and cash only works best for me too.

  • Bec

    Dear Oakbridge…

    I do miss it so – especially in the summer. I miss those darn lizards that would fly out of every cabinet, the blasted ice cream machine and it’s 294 parts, the sand floor of the Oasis, driving the golf cart to the barn for candy pickups, carnival every week, you falling off that ladder hanging tarps to blackout the dining hall for program (still one of the funniest things ever), when we got to go to San Clemente to the Clark’s beach house, playtime in Coronado, all of it.

    And now, I may cry…

  • Margie

    Wow, an Outback. I would LOVE to have one for myself. Great purchase, and even better used. Like you guys, we’ve gotten to the point of not even thinking “new.” Debt doesn’t make us happy.

    What does make us happy is that our Tahoe is running smoothly! It carried us over the pass and into Ouray, which is where we are now. Thank you for offering help from your Durango relations – if the transmission had bottomed out then and there, I sure would have sought the help.

    Looks like this is probably our last stop before turning south and heading home to the familiar Texas heat. I’m sad the journey is nearing its end.

  • ecky

    we are in the process of buying our first house….dealing with inspections and such…but we are cautiously optimistic – so we are VERY focused on finances!

    but i have always been cheap and rarely spend just to spend. all my purchases are pretty planned out or super cheap. my dad likes to say i am “tighter than a crab’s *ss.” hee hee.

    we are also in need of some newer car love – though i am all about used cars. and i do love my suby!

  • Jessica "Haynie" Carr

    Margie! We are in PAgosa Springs if you need anything!!!
    Love Ouray!!!

  • jim

    I sold Newspapers and Ice through the State Park. My first real job was as a Mich State Park Ranger. I would almost have done that for free. Then the Army took over….

    And yes to dept free. Save whatever you can, put some away you whenever you are given a raise; then retirement can be next year.

  • Cathy

    My first real job was in a grocery store bakery. Making donuts, cupcakes, then I went to college.
    We have envelopes for our budget for different categories, works for us. Whatever is left over, is for grocery, gas, etc. The balance due on the credit card is always paid monthly, it is only used for necessity. Bad part of our budget now is we have two car loans…eewwww, I so hate it. Good thing our mortgage is paid off.

    Congrats on the new car! Sometimes, there are just some things you cannot avoid or if you look at the long run, its a better situation, makes sense?

  • Sarah Sebeck

    Boy it sure can be difficult keeping you Sebeck family members in line when it comes to money! Someday, I too will have a new car, but after 11 years of dedicated service, it’s hard to even think of giving up the civic. With a new muffler it sounds like new again! First paying summer job(s): First United Methodist Church in Sonora, TX & manual labor on the family ranch. I think I made $40/day.

  • Sir Chris of Rockfordshire

    O is also for OMG katie !!!!!

  • Lisa

    I am sooooo behind reading and commenting. Vacation has all consumed me. But, might I say I LOVE the chicken in front of the Suburu? Totally cool!


  • elly

    i love that we met at Oakbridge… you made that assignment so much fun. and then the Thanksgiving to follow….. good times. that was my first turkey. and last turkey!!

    we are still at Trail West right now… ready to go home in a couple of days. it’s been fantastic. wish you were here. i just potty trained a little 2 year old boy. his mama looooooves me!! miss your face. xo

  • Suzanne

    I have to say no car makes me salivate like a newer than ours Subaru outback (: I want to trade up so badly, but we are saving like mad to do it maybe in the next 6 months, with the hubs on commission we just can’t see a car payment fitting into that very well.
    I so so so hear you on just wanting to spend like it didn’t matter, but it does and I will continue to over complicate things *sigh*

    I almost followed a new Subaru home and drooled over it, it was so pretty. But thought better of it (:

  • Erin

    Katie, I’m glad you made reference to this post because I had missed it. Y’alls new Outback looks like mine! I would be excited for you guys anyways, but that makes me even more excited 🙂 My friend Lauren loved the Joshua pillow, so it has a good home. I think Josh had fun seeing his name spelled out…at least I like to think that. Ben and I are trying to figure out money stuff, so I appreciate your words of wisdom. Our church is supposed to offer a Crown Ministries class soon, so we are really looking forward to that. Have a good week, friend! Praying for ya.

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