The 30,000 ft View
- We’re working to eliminate ALL debt and waste!
- We side hustle in a lucrative industry.
- We seek to achieve financial independence through tiny living and passive income.
Back in the mid-2000’s, we graduated from college, eager to grow up and start our careers! We’d only been waiting our whole lives for this moment in adulthood! Woohoo!
With college degrees and jobs in stable fields, we achieved what was supposedly everything that hard-working professionals should have as young adults. So with our professional lives in order, we felt the pressure to “settle” and buy new cars, a house and stuff to fill a house.
Without the cash “necessary” to purchase cars and a house, we continued the cycle of consumerism and found ourselves saddled with hundreds of thousands in student loans, car loans and a mortgage. Financed life is perfect, right?
Though it is true that our choices are our own, we cannot say we were well-informed consumers. We wish we had taken a course or two in personal finance at some point prior to our 30s, perhaps before buying a house much larger than we need and other extravagances like new cars.
Downsize #1: Our Small House
Due to some setbacks with our setbacks and proposed tiny house concept, we moved into a small house instead. At
546 536 sq ft, our small house is absolutely perfect for us and helped us become 100% debt free.
Downsize #2: Our Tiny House, aka Two Cup House
Our tiny house plan for spring 2018 is for a 200 sq ft house on a trailer. Check out our Building Projects page for updates.
Oh yeah, and Two Cup House will only have two cups, two forks, two plates…you get the idea…right? 🙂
The History of Our Lifestyle Inflation
Before 2015, our inflated lifestyle didn’t really seem to be a problem. Everyone we knew was in debt. Everyone. We didn’t know a single person without debt. We didn’t know anyone who thought debt was a problem or even something to avoid.
As such, we found ourselves in debt to the tune of more than $204,000 in early 2015. We were living the epitome of lifestyle inflation, the kind of lifestyle that “necessitates” granite countertops.
Hopping off the Debt Treadmill
We started to feel frustration with the debt treadmill we put ourselves on. As soon as we paid off one credit card, we were running up a balance on another. When one perfectly good car approached 100k miles, it was time to shop for an auto loan. It was one debt after another, and then another, and so on it went until we decided we didn’t want to live like Groundhog Day anymore.
We started to look at our stuff, too, not just our money. We also looked at our mindsets and the assumptions we made about money and stuff.
Eliminating Waste & Inefficiency
Looking around our 1,500 sq ft home, we realized we were surrounded by a lot of unused space and stuff. We lived in just four out of eight rooms of our home. We knew we could downsize to a smaller, energy-efficient home. We knew we could pay off debt faster if we downsized. So, in 2015, we took a step back to look at the bigger picture. What were we hoping to achieve by downsizing?
- Lower bills and expenses
- More free time for hobbies (not home maintenance)
- Extra money to pay off debt
Thus, we purchased an inexpensive building lot where we placed a 536 sq ft manufactured home. Read the complete details of the small house building project. Our housing expenses are down nearly two-thirds simply because we moved into a small house.
Our old mindsets toward debt kept us in debt. Our old mindset had us spending every dollar we’ve ever made (and then some).
Our new mindset has us thinking about minimalism, essentialism, and investing the difference. While we’re seeing the positive impact of goal setting and self-improvement, these changes aren’t without consequence.
Lofty Goal #1:
Debt Freedom in December 2016 April 2017 WE’RE DEBT FREE!
Lofty Goal #2: Financial Independence May 18, 2019
Progress on the Financial Independence Journey
Below is a list of major steps we’ve taken to change our lives. While money is an important component, the mental shifts we have undertaken are the reasons why we’ve made so many significant changes. We’re not advocating this path for everyone. Make your own adventure!
- We self-reflected and recognized that we had a problem with spending.
- We realized that we didn’t know how to budget our money.
- We spent tons of time reading personal finance blogs to figure out how to budget our money.
- We set up a realistic budget we could live to track our spending.
- We stopped going to restaurants (mostly).
- We started cooking meals at home.
- We stopped buying clothes.
- We started a side hustle.
- We dropped the attitude that it’s “just another payment.”
- We put our big house up for sale.
- We moved into a smaller house.
- We donated or sold most of our belongings.
- We challenged monthly expenses, such as our electric bill, water bill, and cell phone bill.
- We applied the savings from our reduced expenses to our debts.
- We make every debt payment into a celebration of our success!
- We set a lofty goal to pay off all debt by
the end of 2016April 2017!
- We set a lofty goal to be financially independent May 18, 2019!
- We started a business to teach others our side hustle!
- We take frugal vacations.
- We sold the big house and shed its mortgage in May 2016.
- We paid off the small house mortgage in November 2016!
- We became a one-car household.
- We became 100% debt free in March 2017!
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