There are so many things to think about when you decide you want to build your own home, be debt free and mortgage free.
One of the most important pieces that most people miss is the financial piece.
Of course it is important to put together a budget and plan how much money you plan to spend on your building project but it is just as important to think about your financial plan.
Two years prior to our selling our big house and downsizing we really took a good hard look at how much money we spend on debts and to live each month.
To begin with most people have unnecessary debt that is eating them alive. A car loan, credit cards, large cell phone bills, ridiculous cable TV bills and little if any savings.
Most of which are completely unnecessary.
The first thing we did when we decided to live mortgage and debt free was take a good hard look at what we could cut out of our monthly spending that could go straight into paying off both of those.
We canceled the cable, cut our cell phone bill in half and canceled the credit cards.
Then we took the money from the monthly bills we had cut and started putting large chunks on our debt to get everything paid off as fast as possible. Starting with the lowest balance to free up more monthly cash flow.
It was amazing how quickly our disposable monthly cash flow started stacking up. This gave us the ability to really start saving money toward building our new mortgage free house.
The big turning point for us in the finance and freedom department came when we decided to move into our RV and sell our 3000 square foot home.
To make this transition we sold, donated and gave away about 60% of our belongings. At first it felt painful and very emotional.
But then something cool started happening.
We started feeling way less weighed down with all the “things” that we owned (the majority of which we hadn’t even been using for years) and it relieved a lot of stress from our lives. We felt lighter, happier and had more time freedom than we had had in years.
The RV we bought was 14 years old and we paid cash for it. We paid 1/3 of what a new RV would have cost us and it is just as nice.
Some would say that what we did was drastic.
And maybe it was.
But we felt like something drastic needed to happen to change life as we were living it.
We were working full time with very little time to spend with each other, our children and grand kids. Our health and fitness was suffering and our time was scheduled for us based on what other people wanted us to do.
Fast forward to today…what does life look like?
Well we are still living in our RV (one year later), building our mortgage free “small” house by the beach and our time is 100% our’s to spend how we want.
We have never felt less stress and more freedom than we do right now.
The biggest decision of our day is wether to go fishing or go for a ride on the Harley.
The reason life looks like this for us is because we changed our financial mindset. We came up with a financial plan that included zero debt (including mortgage), very little daily living costs and saving money.
For years we lived a life that was funded by our debt.
Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?
But that is how most people fund their current life style.
So if you are following us and reading our blog I am guessing it’s because you aren’t happy with your current financial/housing situation.
And if that is the case I want you to know that you have the ability to change your finances and become mortgage and debt free no matter what your circumstances.
It doesn’t matter what you have for education, debt load, hourly wage or fixed income you can get out of debt and own your home outright.
It just depends on what you are willing to do to obtain that.
Kevin and I do not have college educations and have been in debt over our heads many times over the years. We have lived paycheck to pay for years and some months our paychecks couldn’t cover everything.
So where do you start?
You start right where you are right now.
In order to do that you must figure out where you are in the money/finances department.
Here are the 5 steps that we took to figure out where we were financially and got us to financial Independence.
Step #1 Know Exactly What Your Financial Picture Looks Like
You can create a spread sheet in your computer or grab a pen and paper and write down the following in two columns.
In one column write down your total monthly expenses. Include all debt payments, monthly living expenses, vehicle gas and food costs.
In the second column write down all of your net monthly income.
Now subtract the two and find out how much money you have left over every month to save, spend on extra’s like clothing, entertainment, care repairs, dining out, etc.
You may be shocked when you see the numbers looking back at you.
Hopefully you are not in the red and have some money left over each month.
If you don’t like the financial picture staring you in the face then you need to decide what your next steps are to change it.
And what are you willing to do to change it?
Step #2 Cut You Monthly Expenses
Cancel your cable service. Get Netflix for $8 a month and save a bundle.
Shop around for cell phone service. Lower your data or minutes if you aren’t using them all each month. The market is very competitive right now and we were able to cut our cell phone bill in half and get an even bigger package and we didn’t have to switch companies. But if its cheaper to go with another company it may be worth it to pay the difference to cancel your current contract.
Stop eating out, buying snacks at the gas station and drinking $4 cups of coffee. I treat myself a couple of times a month to my favorite Starbucks drink where as I used to buy 4 or 5 a week.
Shop exclusively at Costco for food and Amazon for everything else. Staying out of Target, Walmart and Safeway with save you hundreds each month.
Cancel your credit cards so you cannot charge on them anymore.
If you cannot pay cash for it then don’t buy it until you can save up enough money to do so.
There are so many things you can do to cut your monthly expenses I could do a post just on that topic alone.
And maybe I will 🙂
Step #3 Get Rid Of Stuff
In our country especially we work so hard to accumulate things. We measure our success, worth and even desirability by how much and what kind of stuff we have.
SERIOUSLY…STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!
Without thinking too much about it get rid of half of all of your shoes, clothes, purses and jackets. Trust me you have too many. You can only wear one pair of jeans at a time.
Go thru your kitchen, closets, basement, garage and bedroom and if you haven’t used or touched it in 6 months get rid of it.
You can sell it in a yard sale, craigslist ad, Facebook group or just donate it.
Whatever you do get rid of as much as you can as fast as you can.
Step #4 Get Completely Out Of Debt
Let me say that again for emphasis….GET COMPLETELY OUT OF DEBT!
Chances are if you are like most Americans you have 2-3 credit cards with balances, a car loan, student debt and a mortgage.
If any of the above is true your financial situation is seriously critical in my opinion.
Do whatever you can to get ALL of this debt paid off as quickly as you can.
Be brutal in completing Steps #2 and #3 and then take every dime you raise from those steps and pay off your debt now!
You can be very aggressive with this by thinking outside the box.
Step #5 Have A Savings Account That You Can Live On For 12 Months
You’ve probably heard people say have enough in savings so you can live off of it for 3 to 6 months.
That means you are 90 days from financial disaster if your income stopped tomorrow.
I don’t know about you but that is pretty scary to me.
And the more aggressive you get with Step #2 the less you will need in your savings.
I am not going to lie. There were some painful moments in this process at first. But no different than ripping off the bandaid so to speak you are going to go thru the pain of paying off your debt one way or the other.
You can either choose to do it fast and quick or long and slow.
The more aggressive you are with these 5 steps the faster your debt, stress and lack of freedom with disappear.
In an couple of up coming blog post I will go into some more detail about how we did each of these steps.
But for now I would really love to hear from you if you want to share where you are right now or after doing any of these steps.
Here’s to you living a Self Reliant Life.