The $10,000 Year; Dream Big!
This is the year of $10,000. If I write it, then let it be so. My husband and I have set ourselves on saving $10,000 this year for a down payment on a house next year. We have been married almost seven years and have been renters since we were out on our own. Every year, we have said, "This might be the year we buy a house". It hasn't happened yet, obviously. This is the first year that we have been mostly out of debt though. This is the first year where it might actually be a possibility.
Here are the challenges I forsee:
We have four children. We have not yet learned how to manage our money when it comes to them. I buy second hand clothes and get a lot of things handed down to them as well, but we still have a hard time. My husband likes to buy them toys and things he knows they will like. He doesn't check price tags. I don't think he would admit it, but gifts are one of his love languages. I am also guilty of giving them things I know they will love. I spend on them before I spend on myself. They are a little spoiled.
During the summer, my husband is so busy that I hardly see him. It is much easier for him (and he enjoys it as well) to eat out than to bring a lunch. Sometimes, he eats out multiple times a day and I don't see him from morning until well after bed time for the kids. He works hard, long hours. This costs a lot of money. Since he is making extra money in the summer, it is usually fine; if we are going to save, this is not going to be possible.
We are working with one income. I have a dream that one day I will be making money from my crafts or from writing. As of right now, that is not a reality. Unless you count the $10 or $20 I make here and there; that usually just pays for the next project I am working on.
I like to craft. I love making things. I have yet to find what really sells, so sometimes I spend money to make things and never see any return. I don't mind, because I usually use these things as gifts. However, it costs money to do this. It would be nicer if I saw a return on a bigger portion of what I make. I will have to be more careful with how I spend my crafting dollars.
I homeschool, and when I got our budget together, there wasn't much room for school supplies. I have to find a way to make that happen. We also didn't plan much for a few things we currently spend a LOT of money on, like eating dinner out as a family. I like the idea of eating at home more, but I am nervous about making it a reality.
We had a baby this year, and there is a little extra expenditure going that way. He is 8 months now, and if I get pregnant again this year, that will be more dollars we didn't plan for.
We have health insurance this year; last year we did not, so that is an extra $400 a month that we didn't have to spend before.
All told, I am so excited. It will get interesting, but if we pull this off, it is going to be amazing!!!!! I already have a thrifty mindset (except when it comes to food!) so I think that is going to help me out a lot. I started reading the book Simple Living: 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life by Lorilee Lippincott (currently free here on Amazon). It's a 30 day challenge to de-clutter and live simpler. With four kids, life gets cluttered quickly. As a part of the $10,000 year, I am hoping to simplify so that when we do move, it won't be a move full of junk. We have lived in this house for three years now and amassed more things that I would care to mention.