2021 Financial Highlights

Ah, it’s almost the new year! It’s been a good year for us, financially speaking. Of course, life isn’t perfect, and I had my fair share of personal issues to work through. Don’t we all? What we had to do to reach some of these milestones was just plain hard. We had to make choices based on the information we knew at the time. For example, to pay off our mortgage, we had to sell our cabin, which was so hard for me. I had to look at things this year from a “head” perspective, and leave my heart out of it, to be sure. Through it all, the Lord has been so good.

So yes, the first highlight on my list was that we paid off our primary mortgage! By early fall, I knew that I really wanted to get rid of our mortgage. My husband’s work situation seemed precarious, and so we put our cabin on the market. We had paid off the cabin in late 2019 by being super frugal, and so with the hot real estate market, we made a good profit. Again, this was a totally”smart” decision. If it was up to my heart, we probably would still own the cabin. Anyhow, we sold the cabin in October, and turned right around and paid off our primary mortgage.

Another highlight of the year is that we reached one million dollars in net worth. Now, this is just a number, and I never made it my goal to have such-and-such net worth. I do track our net worth however, because I believe it is a great indicator of our overall financial health. Almost half of our net worth is in our primary residence, and the rest is in retirement, investments, our cars, and cash.

Another highlight I just reached was making 5,000 sales in my Etsy shop. I’ve been chipping away at my Etsy shop since 2008, so I was very happy to reach this milestone. Slow and steady wins the race.

I also have been working on my health this year. I’ve lost 39 pounds, and ran my first 5k. I guess I decided that I wanted to be the best steward I could be of what God has given me. Regardless if it be my spiritual life, family life, financial life, or health.

Normally, I would not see as many “highlights” as this, but it seems like several things finally came to fruition for us this year. We have worked so hard behind the scenes for years to get our finances in better shape. Now I’m trying to figure out the next steps to make in 2022.

I would love to encourage you to look at your daily habits, and decide to make small changes in your life that will help you to reach your full potential. Little by little, I have done this, and eventually, the results are big!

Next month, I decided to do a “No Spend” challenge to reset my spending habits. Sometimes we all need a reset, don’t we? If you’d like, you can join me!

Download your free January No Spend Month Printable here.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. Hopefully I will share a few 2022 goals soon. I would love to hear from you! What were the highlights of your year?

Join the Free January No Spend Challenge!

Hello, friends! We are nearing 2022, and I decided that I would like to put together a challenge for myself (and for you), to help me reset my spending habits after the holidays.

Is there a better way to start 2022, then by saving some money by participating in a no spend challenge? I’m not sure there is, ha!

The challenge is simple. Try to only spend money on necessities this month. This can really make an impact on our finances! It will help us to save money, pay off debt, invest more, you name it.

This is your challenge, and be sure to customize it to you. For example, we have already saved and set aside money for a couple of home improvement projects. We will spend that money on those things this month. But Amazon Prime? Not so much. My plan is to only purchase food, gas, and home improvement stuff this January.

I thought it would be fun to make the challenge sheet winter themed, so each day no extra money is spent, fill in that snowflake! You can color it, circle it, put a sticker on it, whatever you would like.

This challenge is available as a free download. You can find it here.

I’m trying to think ahead, since my son’s birthday is in the beginning of February. I’m going to try purchase presents for him before 2021 ends.

If you are on Instagram, you can find me here. I hope to share challenge updates throughout the month. Feel free to tag me in if you decide to post any photos of your challenge progress, and I’ll share it in my stories.

Download your challenge sheet here.

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope you have a blessed day!

Free Daily To-Do List Planning Sheet Printable

While we are working on our finances, organization is so important. By making a budget and sticking to it as best as I could, our financial picture began to turn around.

The same can be said about our lives in general. When we are organized, stuff gets done!

I thought it would be fun to share this daily to-do planner printable with you guys. It can be used to plan out your day in so many ways. Use it for your finances, job tasks, or family obligations. It can even be used as a chore chart for your kiddos.

Download your free Daily To-Do Planner here.

Feel free to print this sheet as often as you would like, and share it with your friends. It would also work wonderfully in a binder.

Daily, I try to look at all of our financial accounts and think of actionable steps I can take to grow my small business. Actionable steps are key. Sure, I would like to sell a certain amount of items each day, but what can I do to get there? This printable can help you to break your goals down into daily bite-size pieces.

I hope you enjoy your printable and have an amazing day!

You can read about how we paid off $30,000 in six months here!

The Importance of Creating an Emergency Fund

So, you want to get out of debt and give your family a brighter future.

Congratulations! That’s fantastic!

Realizing that changes need to be made in your financial picture is the first step towards freedom. Unfortunately, now is also the time that many people think, “I’d love to do that, but there is just no way!”

I know this feeling quite well. I’ve been there. I remember when I thought there was no possible way to do anything any differently when my husband brought up trying to pay off debt 12 years ago. And I was right. If I was caught up in living like the Jones’ (and I was), then there wasn’t any hope when it came to paying off debt.

After a lot of patience on his part, I started to think that things could be different in 2016. I learned about the Dave Ramsey plan, and started applying it. Now, we are “Dave-ish,” and don’t follow his program to a T. We have worked on creating our own “program” which works for us.

Early on in our journey, I learned that an emergency fund was so important. If an emergency fund isn’t in place, then you are likely to go right back into debt when a big need arises.

An emergency fund gives us wives and mamas a sense of security. It honestly helps me sleep better at night. Sure, I could claim to “depend on God” when we didn’t have savings due to spending money unwisely, but it is so much better to actually be a good steward of the money He has given us. This year the income I personally make from my Etsy shop has decreased tenfold. I make outfits for special occasions, and a lot of those have been cancelled this year. Our emergency fund has definitely helped my peace of mind.

Sometimes sacrifices need to be made in order to get your emergency fund started. Sell items around the house on eBay. Cut back your grocery budget. Ask your husband to pick up extra shifts at work if he can. Little by little, treat savings as a “bill” that you have to pay to yourself.

Before you know it, your fund will begin to build!

The amount of money that you need to have in your emergency fund will vary depending on your circumstances. It should be a safety net that would be able to cover most emergency needs when they arrive. I personally don’t believe $1,000 is enough. When deciding what to initially save, take into account things like insurance deductibles, medical needs, and the age of your home and car.

Your emergency fund needs to be in a separate account that you do not have access to. Seriously, pretty much forget it isn’t there if you are tempted to spend it.

And then if you need it, it will be there!

Our emergency fund has fluctuated depending on our needs. When we didn’t have a mortgage payment to worry about, it was lower than it is today.

I’d love to encourage you to take a small step towards saving today. It can be such a blessing to your husband to take an interest in your family’s finances. You can do it, ladies!

Free Debt Payoff and Savings Trackers

While paying off our consumer debt and cabin, using a debt tracker was so helpful to me. I loved the visual reminder to pay off the debt. It was very motivating!

That being said, I decided that I wanted to start using a savings tracker, and so I designed a couple of trackers to share with all of you. I hope that you use these free resources to crush some goals!

Using these trackers are simple. There are 50 dollar signs for you to color or fill in as you please. Divide your debt or savings goal by 50, and write that number in at the top of the sheet. For example, if your goal is to pay off $1,000 worth of debt, color in a dollar sign for every $20 you pay off. Before long, you will have a super fun visual reminder of your progress. Post it on a wall, on the refrigerator, or anywhere you’d like!

Download the Debt Payoff Tracker here.

Download the Savings Tracker here.

Please feel free to share this with anyone who might find it helpful. Happy Saving!

Getting Out of Debt and Building Wealth Takes Time

Getting out of debt and building wealth takes time. Don’t get discouraged and celebrate small wins along the way.

We have been on our debt free journey for close to five years now. Sometimes I’ve gotten so discouraged about the time it has taken to reach our goals.

Can anyone else relate? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could push a button and all of our problems be solved?

Fortunately for us, life doesn’t work that way. When we dedicate ourselves to working on a goal like debt and financial freedom, the small tasks we do to get there create habits that can last a lifetime.

We need these habits to continue on! Whether it be paying down debt consistently, paying yourself first, or saying no to extras for a time. Once we’ve worked on our “habit muscles,” we’ve done what we need to do to see our goals come to fruition.

Sometimes this is hard for me since I’m far from being the main breadwinner in our family. But that’s okay. Being a stay at home mom for my kiddos is my calling! When I get discouraged, I try to think of the small, actionable steps I can take to help my family’s finances.

Some examples are:

Working diligently on our budget.

-Transfer money to savings first thing on payday.

-Shop for deals and use sites like Ibotta.

-Invest my Etsy income.

-Learn about and play an active role in the allocation of my husband’s retirement accounts.

-Spend time looking for deals when it comes time to purchase big ticket items.

Being a frugal and knowledgeable stay at home mom can help your family’s financial future.

Be on the lookout for a fun freebie here on Monday. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

$215,997 Left on Our Mortgage

This mortgage feels heavy and I do not like it.

At the end of 2019, I wasn’t sure if we would ever have a mortgage again. But here we are, almost one year in. I do not care for it at all.

But we weighed our options and here we are. I still believe we made the right choice in purchasing this home. Mortgages just kind of stink, though.

We spent the last year working on renovations and not worrying about putting extra on the mortgage. The time has come to do something about it.

While we aren’t sure that this is our forever home, we want to at least pay it down as we would a 15 year mortgage until we decide what we would like to do long term. (It currently is on a 30 year term). This small step would make me feel a little bit better about it.

We are also hoping to boost our savings, and if say, four years down the road we feel like we will be here for awhile, then we will throw a big chunk at the mortgage.

But for now, I’m aiming for $500-600 extra each month. That seems doable.

The interest rate sits at 3.375%, and after running numbers I don’t think it would be worth our while to refinance after taking closing costs into account.

So cheers to making a small step in the right direction!

Life and Financial Update ||May 2021

Hey friends, it’s been awhile! Life has been crazy since early 2020, as I’m sure you are well aware. I thought I’d pop in to give you guys a life and financial update since we paid off our cabin in late 2019.

Ah, paying off our cabin was amazing. We felt so free! But after the pandemic hit and a realization that we were not able to be as self sufficient as we had hoped to be there, we purchased another home in May 2020. It was a fixer upper on five acres, and was basically the cheapest thing on the market that fit what we were looking for.

We started to pour money into renovations, and unfortunately we are not finished yet. It is a bummer to have a mortgage, but at least it has a low interest rate. We are are slowing down for the time being with upgrades for now though, because we need to begin saving more again. This is so very important for me.

In the past year we have started (and fully funded) a car fund, which is much needed. I hope our van holds on for a little while longer though. We’ve owned it for nearly ten years and it has nearly 220,000 miles on it. It has been absolutely excellent for our family. I hate spending money on depreciating items, so hopefully it will hold on for at least another year!

We are also still holding onto our cabin as an asset. We love it, and the value has skyrocketed! Our neighbor’s home is under contract for $400,000 (after one day on the market), and we purchased our home for $200,000 nearly two years ago. We are very pleased with this investment.

I’ve also challenged myself to put all profits from my Etsy shop into ETFs for the next few months. I did this last month, and it’s been fun to see the account grow. I am using an Ally Invest account for this purpose, and am sticking with ETFs that track the S & P 500.

Although I am by no means the breadwinner in our family, I love seeing what I can do to help the family’s finances by budgeting, being frugal, contributing to our financial discussion, learning about investments, and investing what I can outside of my husband’s 401k and IRA. I hope that we are changing our family tree and will be able to wildly give to others one day.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hopefully I will share more here soon.

We Paid Off the House!

Guys, I can hardly believe it. On December 19, 2019, we paid off our house!

We weren’t planning on being this gazelle. But after our mortgage company started giving us a hard time about making additional payments in November, we knew we just wanted to be done. Also, after having our new baby earlier in the month, I was totally over all of the overtime my husband was working. I wanted him to be home more often, but he was committed to working long hours until our home was paid off.

So we cashed out some investments. We used my husband’s entire bonus. And we nearly drained our emergency fund. After doing this we were able to pay off the mortgage several months sooner than anticipated.

It feels so surreal. We are taking a minute to breathe before deciding our next steps. Building up our savings account again is crucial, so that comes first. After that, I don’t know what goal should come next. We want to start a car fund since both of our vehicles have over 200,000 miles. We also want to save for a house upgrade or land. We were able to pay off our current home relatively quickly since we downsized twice during the last three years. My dream is to one day live in a home similar to the one we left in 2017, but this time without a mountain of debt. I do not want to be house poor ever again!

The peace financial freedom brings is much better than feeling poor while living in a large home. We are not financially free yet, but I know paying off our current home is a huge step in the right direction. We are so grateful and thankful to be done with this mortgage!

Visit Our New Store with Debt Free and Inspirational Items

Hey, guys! I’ve been quiet on the blog lately, but believe me, we are still working hard at becoming mortgage free. We currently have $27,945 left to go!

I wanted to pop in and share our new online store that we have in the works. I hope these items will encourage you along you debt free and financial journey.

I’m adding more merchandise little by little. It has been such fun to put this together.

Feel free to visit our online store here.