I Admire This Family

The more accurate title would probably be “I Admire This Mum”.  She made a stand about what she wanted her family life to be based on a decision that she believed would be the best outcome for herself and her family.  What I mean by that is she looked at her life based on both the future and the present, and decided she wanted to change her future by changing her present.

FUTURE/DREAM LIFE

  • She did not want to pay the banks hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest.  Why line someone else’s pocket with money that you and your husband worked hard for?

“… I keyed in our mortgage balance of $165,000 and the calculator advised that over 25 years we would pay the bank a staggering $725,000 in interest. Our jaws dropped. Was this for real?”

  • Although not explicitly stated in the article, I’m sure she would have anticipated the amazing feeling of freedom she would get from being mortgage-less.  It is at least alluded to in the end:

“I always knew we would achieve our goal and often would imagine what we could do with our money once we were debt free. That very thought was what kept us going.

The icing on the cake was the day we both walked into the bank and asked them to transfer the remaining amount in the account because we wanted to pay off our house that day. We then went out for breakfast and ordered whatever we felt like!”

PRESENT/”REAL” LIFE

  • Make it automatic, don’t even let yourself be tempted.

“After some rough calculations we made a huge decision. We would contribute $3600 per month to our loan and $20,000 cash which I had saved up, sitting in a term deposit. The deal was made solid when we organised the bank to debit the set amount on the 15th of each month, leaving no room for temptation. As soon as the money was available in our account it was automatically transferred into our home loan account which had no redraw facility.”

  • Cutbacks, cutbacks, and more cutbacks.  Is it really possible, in the 2000s, to live a life of deprivation/sacrifice?  That sounds really harsh and gives me visions of ferrying buckets of water from a well into the house, or doing the laundy by hand (which I did when I was young!  buckets and buckets of cloth nappies that my little brother went through!) but in 2010 all it really means is to be able to live on CASH.  Shock, horror!  And yes, you don’t even have to wash the dishes by hand.  Hmm, that’s a thought…

“Over the next few weeks the reality of our commitment set in and I wondered how we could live off $500 per month for the next four years or if it was even possible!

The Foxtel was the first to go. We cancelled my husband’s income insurance and my RACV membership. We reduced our home insurance by removing accidental cover and reducing our contents cover because we could not afford it.

There would be no eating out, going to the movies, purchasing new clothes, luxuries, coffee, holidays or toys. No new household items at all and if something broke we had to fix it instead of replacing it. No take-away, DVDs, getting my hair done or anything else. We literally spent zero on ourselves.  

We created cheap cleaning alternatives by using vinegar, bicarb soda and Milton only. I have three spray bottles and dilute in water. The vinegar we buy in a large bulk bottle as well as the Milton. Personal items such as shampoo, conditioner and toilet paper I only ever buy on sale. I buy imperial leather soap in packs and do not purchase any ‘brand’ face products for myself or my son. We have never cared about product brands - the cheaper the better.

All baby food was made from scratch as were our meals. We didn’t buy packaged chips, treats or expensive pre-packaged foods and we purchased milk and freeze cartons. We made meals such as chow mein, lasagna, pasta dishes and rice dishes which we could freeze in batches and were very cost effective. Simple meals such as omelettes and homemade pancakes were common and all meals incorporated vegetables. We changed the way we ate and didn’t buy porterhouse and expensive cuts of meat anymore. The key was to buy when on sale and don’t run out of the basics, so we never had to pay full price. I bought fruit & vegetables boxes through Aussie Farmers Direct which cost me $50 a month and I also used frozen vegetables which I would buy in bulk packs when heavily discounted. Any fruit which was going off was pureed and frozen in single quantities to be thawed as required. We also made our own bread.

As far as our son was concerned, we received Pea Pods reusable nappies as a present and asked family to give disposable nappies rather than flowers for the very early days. I received a basket of newborn suits/clothes from our neighbor when we had our son which was a great start. My cousin also has two young boys so we did well in the recycled clothes department!

Family would buy clothes for birthdays and Christmas presents, which was terrific and we would get so excited to receive new clothing! I work from home and have a laptop supplied by work and no travel required which is another bonus. My son was only a baby, so I could work and not have to pay for childcare and I could work my own hours.  

… I would have to say our biggest savings were clothing and consumables. It is also very easy to spend money and have nothing to show for it which we just couldn’t do or there would have been nothing left to live off. My shoes were falling apart but I still didn’t care!

One major advantage we have is my husband is skilled in a few different trades and is able to turn his hand to anything. This saved us so much money over the years. Our hot water service broke down and we managed to salvage one from a friend who was throwing his out. It still had some life in it so we took it, my husband installed the unit and we have used it ever since! ”

All that seems extreme and impossible for most of us in our own little realities.  But in this story, the ‘reality’ of her future, her dream life, kept her going in the ‘reality’ of her present, her real life.  She did what she had to do now so she could actively create her future.  

The question is, like her, are we ready to merge our dream and real lives together so that we’re living our BEST LIFE always, in every moment, in every situation?

It’s great to read and hear about all these amazing life-transformation stories about getting out of debt, losing weight, becoming a millionaire, etc.  But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of things, are we really ready to make the sacrifices needed to make those life transformations a reality.  If not for ourselves, then, perhaps most of all, for our children?

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