Thursday, February 14, 2013

What if? What if?

I know you aren't supposed to talk about finances. I think that's stupid. I think being open about it would be good for our culture. Our culture seems to be all about "keeping up with the Jones'." If other people can afford it (not taking into consideration that they work an extra job to afford it, or better yet, have financed it) then I should be able to also. Oh I can't? Well then, I'll finance it. I know there are a lot of good people out there setting a great example of living within their means, but I still feel ungrounded when I look around. Things are not what they seem these days. I think public assistance is a very good, necessary thing that has helped so many good people get back on their feet. I don't think it should be a shameful thing to use food stamps (or the fancy card equivalent). We haven't had to use it, but I'm smart enough to know that if we ever needed it I wouldn't be too proud to ask for it. I don't mind paying taxes that go toward it. I do, however, think it's highly abused. If more people would take responsibility for their own financial situations and stopped acting entitled to what they see everyone else have... I don't know what would happen. I'd like to think that somehow, someway it would be a good step toward reviving our country. Our culture seems a bit entitled, selfish, lazy, and greedy. There are a lot of good people doing the right thing, I know, but there are too many of the other type ruining it for the people that actually need it.

Where does this start? It starts with us and the lessons we're teaching our children.

Talking this all through with Ryan has been so awesome. Deciding for ourselves what our goals are instead of letting our culture set them for us has been really invigorating. Our only debt at the moment is our mortgage. We have some in savings, but we seem to live just barely inside our means sometimes. I want to spend more on groceries. Thinking ahead to how we will pay for college, fun trips, a replacement vehicle eventually... I know we could do it... but could we do it well?

Last night there wasn't anyone to sit in the nursery during prayer meeting (and there weren't any other kids). I told Ry to go ahead and I'd sit with Asher & Moo. They played pretty independently, thanks to the novelty of new toys, while I sat crunching numbers. I used to announce that I hate math. That is a lie. Anyone that gets joy out of spreadsheets and number crunching cannot possibly hate math. They may just hate the type of math that was being taught at the time. 

Here is what I figured out. If we sell in the next few months--between taxes, a 3rd paycheck (that we don't add into our budget because it makes our budgeting program go wonky, but instead just plan to throw it all into savings), money from selling the house, and a couple overtime shifts--we will have the money to pay to create our tiny home. If we sell by May, move into my parents house by June 1, Ryan's 6-month exemption from his employer regarding the rule requiring them to live within 20 miles of city limits. If we took 6 months to build our home we'd be living in it sometime around November. Ryan would have to rent a room from one of his friends for the following 6 months. He technically has to live there, and it would be good to have that as a back up because he'd be able to sleep there when he needed sleep before/after working his night shift. If we could make it until next spring to purchase property, we'd have our 20% downpayment in cash. If we could manage to live in the Tiny House for 4 years, we'd have the land paid off (based on current land prices). This would be all from the budget categories that currently go toward our housing expenses, but planning to need $400 a month to pay for wood/propane/solar panels/etc. I doubt we'd need that much, but I like to be conservative with my numbers. 

What would our life be like if we had a small mortgage payment that we paid off within 10 years? What would our life be like if we were debt free in 15 years? What would our life be like if we had that extra money each month to put half in savings and spend more on charity, fun experiences for our kids as a family? What would our life be like if we could teach our kids from an early age that money isn't everything, that having THINGS will never make us happy?

I don't think that everyone could do it or that everyone should. Frankly I'm pretty sure this is a lot of people's nightmare. I think we're up for it. I think it sounds like a fun challenge. If we can't make it five years in our tiny house... then who cares? It's paid for itself and we've come out ahead AND we have a guest house/retirement house already ready to go. 

I want to talk to a bank about all of this before we take another step.

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