Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and now the countdown to the busy holiday season begins. I don’t know how you budget your Christmas/Hanukkah/holiday spending but I am lucky to be married to a saver and he put some plans in place that have served us well throughout our 32 year marriage. To help encourage savings I’m going to share my story and I have some news from Capital One 360. They have some great offers this Black Friday weekend for new customers. Think of it as a sale for your savings – you can get your finances in order and get a bonus at the same time. To see what they are offering just go here: http://clvr.li/cap1bfs
We were married in 1982 and at that time I was not a child of savers. In fact my parents were notorious for living paycheck to paycheck. My husband to be was the exact opposite. If he didn’t need it he didn’t buy and if he needed it he waited until he could afford it. Except for the big things like cars and houses. He did take loans for them but he paid them and he often added a little extra to the payment. This way the loan would be paid off sooner and the interest paid would be less.
He was determined that we would start out our married life in a house not an apartment so we searched and found one we could afford and we closed on it the week before the wedding. Interest rates back then were 17% (?) at the banks but we were fortunate to find a private lender at 15%. (That two percent made a big difference over time and once rates went down we refinanced.) We started our our marriage with a 100% mortgage, two car loans, student loans and the loan to start up his law practice. It was going to take discipline to save. But he had a plan and it was one that worked very well.
He took a draw once a month and I got paid twice a month (I worked in a bank.) When his pay came in he took 40% right off the top for taxes. That’s right. We did our earning during the time of high taxes and we lived in a high tax state – New Jersey – so our tax numbers were scary. After that the mortgage, the business loan and the car payments. Then we had savings accounts for major payments like our insurances; homeowners, car, umbrella. (My job provided health insurance as a benefit.) We also put aside a certain amount every month for Christmas. With what was leftover a certain percentage went into retirement savings. The rest was there for fun or emergencies. By having the money put aside and ready to use we avoided any late fees for not making payments on time.
The early years were lean but as the school loans and the business loan got paid off there was extra cash and we started looking towards retirement. We bought a piece of land in Hawaii and had plans to retire there. But then I got sick and couldn’t work any longer. Thankfully we were in a position where we could survive without my income.
Right before I got sick we had moved into our second home – a real money pit of a Victorian. It was a beautiful house but one that was going to need a lot of work. We kept up with our financial plans but sold the lot in Hawaii and looked towards another retirement. We didn’t know what it would be yet but it would soon present itself.
We had started going to NASCAR races with friends and had bought a motorhome. That led to the idea of retiring into a fifthwheel to travel around the country. We bought a 400 square foot model and a new dream was born. Our house sold before the hubby was ready to retire so we moved into the trailer and stayed at a park in New Jersey until we were ready to take off. We lived in that trailer for almost 10 years. Three of them while living on our little farm in Montana.
The current part of my history most of you know. We got the goats, the hubby put in his garden and built (is building?) the yurt. By the time we got to this point we were able to buy the lot and the yurt kit with cash. We waited until we had enough money to put the deck on – that took three years but it was worth it to not have a monthly payment and the interest that comes along with a loan. In fact the only payment we’ve had since we moved here is a car payment but once that was paid off he still made the payment to a savings account so that when he bought the Prius he was able to pay cash. And yes, he’s still making a car payment to a savings account for when we have to buy the next car. We do not, nor have we ever carried any credit card debt.
So, to sum up:
- Don’t go crazy at the holidays and find yourself having to pay off credit card bills for the next 6 months. The interest on credit cards is very expensive.
- Try to save for the holidays during the year so you have cash to pay for your gift list.
- Put aside monthly allotments for big bills like insurance so that when the payment comes due you have the money saved thereby avoiding late fees.
- If you pay off a car, keep making the payment to a savings account so you have enough for either the entire cost of your next car or at least a big down payment
- Check out these great financial deals from Capital One 360 to give the gift of financial security – there is even one for opening a new savings account! Click here: http://clvr.li/cap1bfs
I wish financial security for all of you but I know it can disappear in the blink of an eye. That is why we try to do everything we can to maintain our budget. We don’t buy things that we don’t need and we shop around for what we do need. Not having a mortgage at this point in our lives is such a relief. It took a lot of hard work and savings to get to this point but I”m glad we did it.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.