It’s been a busy summer full of lots of travel and lots of change! I’m finally getting to post Part 3 of this series and I have to say, it’s been cool to document the journey, even if it was just for myself haha. It’s fun to look back and see how your perspectives change and how much you grow.
In Part 1 of Our Journey To Debt Free Living, we shared about our decision to wait on some aesthetic renovations and define wants from needs. This decision we made before our marriage helped set the tone for all our future financial endeavors.
In Part 2, we told you about how we decided to sell our truck to become a one car family in order to put us in a position to where we can start investing in good assets. Without this move, we would not have been able to be in the place we are now.
Preparing. Saving. Renovating.
After selling the truck, we were able to save so much that it put renovations on our townhouse into full forward motion and also, made it possible for us to purchase our next house! We were excited to see how cutting this cost that we once thought was a need, would propel us into reaching our next goals so quickly!
In Part 1 of this Debt Free Living Journey, we talked about how removing the pointless wall in the entrance of our townhouse left an empty strip of floor in the middle of all the tile. We initially wanted to replace the entire bottom room floor to fix that but decided to wait until we had enough funds to do it without taking out a loan. Once we had the money, we decided we didn’t need to replace the entire first floor after all, but only the entrance! It turned out great and we didn’t have to use all that we had saved for it. This allowed us to make the rest of the needed renovations that were all small but made a huge difference!
We changed the color of the walls, painted the baseboards, doors, door frames and replaced the doorknobs. We fixed the stairs and the railings, patched up a couple spots on the ceilings and replaced some broken blinds. It all made a ginormous difference! We started packing up all our stuff while they were doing these little renovations, all while traveling quite a bit this summer. It was crazy – our townhouse was ready to be rented! What’s funny is that once we got it all renovated, we moved out. So we never got to live it in when it was nice and fixed lol.
Our Next Move
While this was all happening in our current house, we found another townhouse in a community just a mile down the road that we felt was the perfect next move for our family! This house was in need of few renovations that the seller had made concessions for and even new plumbing that was paid for by the seller before closing. The way all of those details worked out was a total act of God. We kept praying that if this was meant to be, that the doors would be opened and our steps would be aligned. We are so thankful for how it all worked out!
So, after we returned from Estes Park, CO. where we were leading worship for a student camp, we were home for about a week before we left for our Mission Trip to Madrid. In that week, we found our lovely renters for our current townhouse, closed on our new townhouse and moved all of our belongings so that our new tenants could move in while we were away in Spain. It was a productive week, to say the least! Haha.
When we returned from Spain, we were able to analyze what should be our next steps for our new house. Because we had the experience of our first place, we decided on a few things that will position us in the right spot for making renovations without going into debt. Prioritizing them has been key.
- Diligently save to do floor and wall renovations at the same time. This house has very stained carpet and “uniquely” colorful walls as well as wallpaper that we will eventually change. The waiting, like we experienced in our first townhouse, is the hardest part. We found that we could get a better deal if we wait to do them together, so that’s what we’ll do.
- Wait on purchasing furniture pieces until after we have done the floor and wall renovations. This may sound odd because we don’t have much furniture. We have a couch that my brother-in-law gave us, a chair my mom gave us, our TV, our bed, a futon and a couple nightstands. We don’t have a dining table or any table for that matter. As much as I’d love to start furnishing our new house and start making it look “homey”, we decided to discipline ourselves to stay focused on the priority list. We want to renovate our floors and walls as soon as possible and purchasing furniture would just continue to set that back. Since we don’t have any kids right now, we figure this is the prime time to do things this way. We can eat on the couch and live with exposed concrete floors in the living room for a while (more on that later).
- Cut more monthly costs where we can. We just got rid of cable and a couple other things in our bundle. We have wifi, Netflix and Amazon Prime. We figure that should be enough. It has saved us about $100 a month! Our friend then suggested that we buy an antenna to get basic local channels. We bought this 50-mile range flat antenna for $30 and now we have all the news channels and really all we need.
- Do as many renovations as we can ourselves. Just recently, we found that our carpet in the living room was flooding due to the outside flower beds being high above the foundation level. Fortunately for us, the exterior is an HOA responsibility and they have been very responsive and easy to work with. We still had to take care of the carpet though. So we ended up removing it all ourselves and now the living room has concrete floors. Another thing we have decided to start doing ourselves is removing the popcorn ceilings. We looked online and it seems to be fairly simple, just time-consuming. That will save us about $2500 though! So it’s totally worth it.
“What you do today lays the ground work for what you’ll be doing years later.”
We’ll see where this journey takes us next! It’s amazing to look back at where we were before, see the decisions we made that we thought were good and know that now we are wiser. I love growing and learning with my husband. Let us know of any other monthly costs you’ve found that were simple to cut. Or tell us about renovations you have done in your house that have saved you money!
Thanks for reading!
Catch up on the rest of the Debt Free series with: