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The house is in chaos…

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…but the kids are all joyful and full engaged.  We have all settled down around the idea of our impending move and jumped on board the “get ready” train.   I don’t want this blog to turn into the “Hope’s Moving” blog for the next month, but perhaps small updates on the financial impact of the move and moving frugally would be alright?  Let me know your thoughts.

Over the past week, since the bombshell of our move was dropped…we have gotten busy!  I have been in constant purging mode for four years now, but now we are in Get Rid of Everything that is Not a Necessity mode.  Going from 1800 sq ft to 900 sq ft, I know it’s going to be tight, and while the kids can’t visualize it, I am trying to make them aware of the reality of how having less “stuff” will make apartment living that much better for us.  So with that being said, here’s what I/we have done:

  1. I took inventory of every room in our home including furniture, stand alone technology, storage tubs, etc. including the garage and outdoor space.
  2. I sat down with each child and we worked through their room list asking them what was imperative that they have at the end of this move (meaning when we get into a new permanent home, not just the apartment.)  I thought it was important that I get their feedback so they would feel fully involved in this move.
  3. I then went through everything else and marked it’s importance in three categories…A = Needed in Apartment, B = Needed in Permanent Home and P = Take a Picture of it and sell it!
  4. Based on that list, we moving furniture/items marked P to the garage, cleaning them out and off and taking pictures of them.
  5. And now they are all listed for sale and some going like hot cakes, and some are not.

In addition, I got a small storage unit and moved all our bikes and some of the items we must keep but don’t need for this month.  Let me explain that as I know you’d say, if you don’t need them this month why keep them… 1) there are just a few pieces that are solely being kept for sentimental value and really are not usable.  While I am very proud of how brutal I have been in this purge, there are somethings I just can’t get rid of.  2) Some items are smaller and currently not used, but after I purge the larger items that are serving their purpose, they will be used in the apartment.  Make sense?  My end goal is to purge so much that I don’t need the storage unit, but that will require two things happening 1) my van will have to sell as they extra seats/custom bed must be stored when not in use and 2) I have to figure out where we can store our bikes at our apartment and that probably won’t happen until after the move.

Now as I was going over my progress with my dad he asked if some of this would need to be replaced when we move to a new permanent home.  Yes, it will.  We’ve sold our only dining room/kitchen table, we’re selling 3 of the kids bed frames (their choice,) etc.  However, two things 1) we simply cannot fit all our stuff into our apartment and 2) the cost to store our stuff vs replacing much of it through freecycle/garage sales and even some new balances out.

Last point on this….the money!  We are making a decent amount on many of the items especially since much of it is either handmade, refurbished or we got free.  I have decided to save 1/2 the money towards new furniture when that time comes and put 1/2 toward debt.  Knowing that we have at least a year before any replacements would be needed I am comfortable with pushing forward with debt pay off first before thinking about new furniture.

Side note: many readers noted that I would be ready for a garage sale soon…you are so right!  However, I must get approval of my HOA Board (full disclosure I’m on the board, but certainly cannot give myself approval.)  Tonight is the Board meeting where I will 1) request permission and hope that we will have a community yard sale and 2) have to resign from the Board on when I’ve served for over 3 years.  This move is affecting a lot more then just the place we live and it’s sad and hard, but I just know, and the kids are realizing as well, that there will be lots of new joys and adventures in our new place.


It Isn’t All About Income

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Yesterday I read something over at Budgets Are Sexy that really resonated with me.  J. Money read an article from Mr. Money Mustache (a pretty famous blog that I follow).  In this article MMM said:

“The most important thing to note is that cutting your spending rate is much more powerful than increasing your income.  The reason is that every permanent drop in your spending has a double effect:  it increases the amount of money you have left over to save each month, and it permanently decreases the amount you’ll need every month for the rest of your life.”  

I still stick to my guns in saying the easiest way to make fifty dollars is to save fifty dollars.  I had this mantra since I began my coupon journey about five years ago.  This was a time when I went from a single man living alone to having a built in family.  Feeding three people was an eye opener to say the least, especially when you were allotting yourself about $100 per month for food before.  Remember I was in the food industry, and usually always fed myself at work.

What this article did for me was realize that it really isn’t my income that is a problem here.  I have been making it work, and know full well that we could live on the income we do have.  It is really all about eliminating all the unnecessary monthly expenses.  

The biggest being DEBT.

Now I am not saying that I won’t challenge the other expenses, but debt is the biggest.  I have been paying anywhere from $800 to $1,000 every month for the last four and a half years, just on debt!  

What if I was using this amount to put away for savings and retirement?  I would be in a totally different situation than I am today.  

This is also not saying that I will not be looking for opportunities to increase my income.  Because let’s be honest the two go hand in hand.  If I increase my income it will be a much faster route to get out of debt and start becoming the provider that my family knows I am.  

So for the month of July I will be reviewing more of my expenses and seeing ways to cut them out of my life.  Who’s with me?