“When are you going to buy a new car”
I followed a friends gaze to my 11 year old, 4 door hatch back I lovingly refer to as my “Hamster”. Although it is in excellent shape, it boasts the sex appeal of an ace bandage. The inside has a few vague stains spotting the upholstery, it will occasionally smell like wet dog or an unidentifiable odor due to spills on the reusable grocery bags stored in the back and because of my bizarre job, you never know what I might be ferrying around town.
But, its always clean, gets unbelievable gas mileage, is very comfortable to drive and most importantly……it’s paid off.
That’s right. No…..car…..payment.
No car payment is important in this time of my life. With retirement looming in the not so distant future…that’s right, 30-35 years is not far away when it comes to saving…I feel like every penny is important. Our friends refer to us a “thrifty” or “savers”. That should not be compared to “miserly” or “cheap”. Let me be clear about that. We spend money to have fun. We love eating out at restaurants, going to concerts and taking the occasional vacation. But, we’re careful about where and when.
Lately we’ve been getting pretty interested in diversify our investments (I feel so grown up when I say those words). I should let you know when I refer to investments, we’re not talking about tens of thousands of dollars in every investment. I’ve been playing with E*trade for about 2 months. I plopped $100 in an account to see what would happen. So far, the 1 stock I purchased from Starbucks has made me about $10. Woo hoo.
There is also an investment we are dreaming about: A cabin in the woods.
Real estate is fun to dabble in if you have the funds. Right now, we do not. But, we are working towards our goal of purchasing a cabin in North Carolina. Our plan is:
-Rent out the cabin 90% of the year. This income will assist in paying for the mortgage.
-Use cabin 10% of the year as a way to get away from the insane Florida heat. North Caroline is a doable drive in the car (Chris hates flying) as long as I drive and Chris is hogtied in the back. (his fidgeting on long drives makes me nuts.)
Here are a few of the saving tips we are using to get our dream cabin and ensure we will be taken care of in our retirement years:
1) Diversify your savings: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. We have a 1 investment property we lease out, few CD’s, a money market account, a savings account and a big jar of coins. (don’t laugh) You never know what the economy is going to do. Keep all options open.
2) Save automatically: My bank has this feature that will round every purchase make on my ATM card up to the nearest dollar, then automatically deposit the different into my savings account. In 2018, $349.07 was saved without me doing a damn thing.
3) Budget, Budget, Budget!: I know everyone hates that word. It tightens my sphincter just typing it. But, knowing how much money you have coming in compared to how much is going out is very important. Make a quick list of your monthly expenses. Don’t forget your gym membership, Netflix charges and other random monthly charges. Do it for 3-4 months to get everything on there. You’ll be surprised what you’re spending.
4) Employer match retirement plan: THIS IS FREE MONEY! FREEEEEEEEEEE! You put in $10, they put in $10. You have now saved $20 dollars.
5) The 24 hour rule: I need this rule in my life. If I am planning to make a purchase over $100, I make myself wait 24 hours. If I still want it after that time, it is ok for me to purchase. I use this with my cinnamon bun cravings as well.
6) Party at home: Going out for drinks and dinner with friends is so expensive. I often cringe at my credit card bill after a night on the town. Try to get together at someones home, BYOB and a dish to pass. Now that’s a cheap date. Most important to remember, not all friends have the same income levels. Some are single parents with kids. A $50 dinner tab might be doable for you. But to them, that is their weekly grocery bill for the family. Be mindful.
7) Bring your lunch, use a reusable water bottle, coffee from home: I know it’s fun to get coffee from Starbucks everyday (I appreciate you investing in my 1 stock) and going to lunch with the gang at the Whole Foods hot bar. But, a $4 coffee and a $12 lunch adds up to $16 per day. That is $80 per week or $4,160 per year which is the equivalent to a bomb ass vacation somewhere. Never thought of it that way, did you?
I hope these little tips helped and that you’re thinking about your cabin in the woods dream.
And that picture of Chris with the book….he claims he’s also reading the articles.