Time for another update. What’s new with the Smith family? Well, we celebrated a birthday, continued our frugal living, paid off more debt, and planned for our awesome future.
We had a nice birthday for Trey. I know the normal thing for parents to say is something along the lines of, “where did the time go?” But honestly, we have packed so much into the past year, that I don’t feel that way at all. I know where the time has gone, we spent it together, working hard and savoring the special moments. It feels like he is one year old. Trey only received one “present,” and he loved it. The kids had a little ride-on Lightening McQueen car that lights up and plays sounds. The older two were a bit too big for it, so I had hidden it away a long time ago. We pulled it back out and Trey loves it . . . and so do the other two, and they immediately tried to steal it away for their own entertainment.
MOMMY HACK: If you hide toys away for a while, they become exciting again.
On the financial side, we’re really starting to see a shift in our finances. We used our tax return to pay off one credit card and put another couple thousand on the next one in the queue. As we keep paying off our debts, we can really start to see our progress and it’s so motivating. I want to keep hunting for things in our house to sell on eBay and try to score more freelance work, so we can make even more payments on the credit cards.
Our clothes dryer quit on us, but we’re not buying a new one. Instead, we’re taking advantage of nicer weather by line drying. And, we’re walking clothes to my father-in-law’s dryer three houses down the street. We will probably buy a new one at some point (off of Craigslist), but we’re doing fine for now and don’t want to slow down our momentum with the credit cards. We didn’t throw the old dryer our on the curb, it met it’s fate at the scrap yard. We earned a little money for turning it in, along with some other scrap metal collected by Mr. Smith. Adieu, old dryer.
I made my yearly trip to the big, local kids consignment sale. It is in a fairly prestigious neighborhood, so there are usually low prices for good-quality clothing. While I can go another year with no new clothes, Goofball was in pretty serious need of bigger clothing. I really can’t complain, a baby shower and lots of hand-me-downs supplemented his wardrobe for five years. There are a couple of reasons why we haven’t received anything for him lately, but I did really well at the big sale. Goofball is well-stocked with clothing that provides some room for him to grow. I also got a few things for Tornado, including almost brand new sneakers and a dress for Christmas. I had hoped to find attire for the kids for my sister’s wedding, but was unsuccessful.
I still need a flower girl dress for Tornado and a tuxedo for Goofball. I have found a couple options on eBay. Thankfully, my sister agreed that the ring bearer did not have to perfectly match the groomsmen (it would have been $134 to rent him a tux).
There were a couple of blog posts that really inspired me this past week. First of all, Femme Frugality has issued a challenge to up your frugal game by earning points for your efforts to save money and make extra money. I want to win this month.
You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, but trust me, it’s all worth it. An incredible weight has been lifted off our shoulders now that the debt is gone, as in, completely gone. I know, it seems like that will never happen, but it does. I recently informed work of my plans and they agreed to give me some assignments to complete remotely, just enough to cover some living expenses and health insurance. The two income properties are rented out and providing us with other income. I’m still in denial that I’m going to be working less than 40 hours, PER MONTH. I have so many plans for the extra time now that I can finally semi-retire. We are blessed with four amazing kids, who are super excited for the big road trip that we’ll be leaving on soon. We just went out to look at a few RV’s the other day. We’ve got the beginnings of our route mapped out and everyone is contributing on destinations. Mr. Smith is no longer stressed about money and bills. Our marriage is happy and playful; we’re back to being kids, and planning new adventures together. The journey thus far has tested us, but provided the tools necessary to embrace a frugal and unique lifestyle. We’re now able to taste freedom that is the envy of everyone we know.
Keep it up. You can do this.
My hope is that we will be able to meet our goals, without sacrificing too much of the present. The best way that I can think of to do this is to keep our priorities in mind and not waste time. I need to either be enjoying moments with my family or being productive with work or side hustles. Future me is depending on this focus and determination.
What would you want to read in a letter from your future self?