We Set Up our Life To Be Debt Free

Filed Under: Family Budget, Frugal Living

We never imagined we would be going to law school when we married 9 years ago.  Heck, we didn’t even know it was in the plans for us 5 years ago.  When we were married we knew we were going to have a family and we knew we were going to finish our bachelors degrees.  That was where we thought our education would finish and life would start.

How we set ourselves up for a debt free life

6 years ago when Matthew was in his senior year of college and we had 2 kids I thought we were going to get a “real job” and move on in our life as soon as he was done with his 30 hour work week and 16 hour school week.  We were exhausted but felt very at peace with the life we had and how we managed all the craziness.

We had worked VERY hard through both of our degrees debt free.  Prior to having kids, we both would wake up in the mornings together so we could leave for work together.  One of us would get into our biking shoes to ride our bike to either school or work which usually would follow with riding our bike to the other place we had to go after our first stop. 

The other person would get dresses in nicer clothes because it was their day to take the car. (LUCKY!!! #nepoleondynamite)  It was their day to have the air conditioning and the plus padded seats. (ahhhh….)  Yes, this was the coveted place to be. 

We did this so we could pay for our tuition, books, and living expenses while in school without having to take on debt and cause the added stress and frustration that debt causes to our life. We CHOOSE to do this because it made us happy and it was worth every second of riding that bike!

Newly weds

It is my nature to hate debt.  I am a saver by nature.  A free spirit, but a saver none the less.  Growing up my grandma gave us $2.00 bills stuck in books.  Every year I would collect those $2 bills and put them in a secret envelope in my drawer.  (I swear no one knew they were in my underwear drawer because no one EVER puts things of value there, right???)  #indenial

My husband had grown up a free spirit, spender.  Money burns a hole in his pocket and he wanted to spend, spend, spend!  So I had worked on changing his thought process before he bought to “think, think, think, and if you still need it or want it then ask me… haha!  I swear we are a partnership here…. 

By the time we were starting to have kids, my husband had adopted my belief that we would do what we had to do to have enough money for school and be debt free.  So anything that would cause us to spend money we didn’t have was avoided at all costs.  We didn’t see eachother a lot.  But it was ok because we had everything we needed and we were in control.

Melissa Pregnant

When I graduated, I was 7 months pregnant with our oldest child and we knew I would stay home.  So that ment my husband changing jobs and working nights so he could have school during the day and leave me with the car to run errands.  It also ment a huge pay cut.  While this was extremely scary to make this leap, we knew the Lord would help us because we were doing what we had prayed about and  knew was right.

We did everything we could to live as frugally as we needed to.  We rode bikes and walked a lot of the time to avoid spending money on gas.  Couponing helped us to survive the tough months and having one car kept expenses down on insurance. We really had to think outside of the box at times to make it work.

I can honestly say that we were happy.  Life felt right and we were living the life we needed to.  We were making the sacrifices to follow the Lord and do what he wanted us to and have a family. We were SO blessed!

Needless to say, when my husband was almost finished with school I was SO excited.  We made it!!!  All the sacrifice had payed off and we were well on our way to a real life where he would make real money and with no debt, we had a bright future. 

Our Family after graduating debt free

My husband decided that he was going to in the California Highway patrol.  He began the application process and took the next couple months getting everything done and ready for the application and testing to start with the highway patrol.  We knew he would be a shoe in because he had nothing in his past that would make him get kicked out of the process.

He took mental testing, academic testing and physical testing.  He scored really high on all of them.  He was the top of his group.  They did the background check and everything was what it should be.  A lot of people got kicked out of the process but he was still going strong.  He had grown up with some family friends and family members that were highway patrolmen and he knew what he needed to pass.

All of this assurance came crashing down one day when something very unexpected happened….

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Get over $1200 in Craft and DIY eBooks, Courses and More for $34.95!!!!

Filed Under: Frugal Living


There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? With work, helping the kids with their homework, preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone and putting yet another load of laundry on, there’s very little time for sleep – let alone DIY and crafting!  While I am SUPER busy with so many things I have found that when I am creative or give myself an outlet, life is much easier to deal with and to remain sane!  Like I said on my facebook page last week, you have to work some sanity money into the budget.  This is a great way to get the most out of that sanity money!

Do you look at that bare wall in the den and that tatty tablecloth on the kitchen table, and just wish you had a few hours to do something about them? Or do you browse through those wonderful crafting successes on Pinterest and think to yourself that “one day” you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself so that you too can create something incredible?

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How to Manage Accounts and Organize Your Money + Free Printable

Filed Under: Family Budget

how to manage accounts


Managing accounts is the first step to getting your finances in order.  I know accounts are really sacred in families, but you have to keep track of this information somewhere. I know that when we started keeping better track of our money, we wanted to make sure both of us had access to all accounts. A spouse can’t help feel in control of the money if they do not have access to accounts. We tried a few different options to manage accounts and get passwords back and forth.  none of them worked really well for us and we would always forget to add things to it.

The First Step to Manage Accounts and Track Your Money

Since everything is “online” nowadays, we often forget to write things down that will help us remember what our account log in and passwords are. That’s why I wanted to create a printable that would help you be able to track every account you own, where it’s located, and of course the username and password.

Be sure you keep this page to manage accounts in a safe place where others wont easily find it.  I would recommend putting it into a safe or other locked filing cabinet.  This will keep it only in the hands of the right people.



I hope you find this free printable useful. I know we’ve used it in my family several times and I always recommend it to friends and family who are trying to keep better track of their finances. Download the free Account Information Worksheet right here…._Account_Information_Worksheet.

Be sure to check out the other family budget printables!

You can also get more tips on a perfect family budget here!

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The Debt Hole We Dug and How We Are Digging Out Using a Budget

Filed Under: Family Budget

Family Budget report

I will get into the whole story of why we made the choice to go into debt later.  For now, I am going to just share with you some real numbers and the depth of what we dug.  I knew it was coming when we made our choice but to look at the number we have now to pay off it seems crazy!

Honestly sometimes I wonder what the heck we were thinking.  I can’t say we would do it the same way if we went back, but there are 2 things we feel it is OK to have debt for.  One is a house and the other is an education.  Now, knowing that, that doesn’t mean it was easy for me.  I don’t care what the reason is for getting debt.  It weighs me down big time.  So we are on a path to pay this off as fast as possible so we can enjoy the money my husband is making and have a real life with a house and vacations and fun that we have dreamed of our whole life.

A lot of people think it is impossible to pay off your debt quickly when you have as much as we do.  But we are doing it!  Before I get into how we are paying this off, here is the numbers of what we owe.

All of our debt is student loan debt.  Which is all managed by the government now.  We have 3 years of 2 semesters each where we took out these loans.  We were able to get a couple scholarships during those 3 years which helped a small amount to lessen the debt we took out, but we took out money every year we were there.  So as of Jan. 10, 2015, we have $194,633.80 in loans to pay off.

Yes that number is a house.  We “bought a house” when we decided to go to school, but we have no house to show for it.  We have a degree that has helped him get a job.  While I think the amount it cost us to go to school is crazy, we decided to do it and we now have to be accountable to pay it off.

So we sat down after my husband got his job and we started looking at how we would budget this new amount of money we receive each month.  The first decision we made early on in our decision to go to law school was that when we were done we would not change our standard of living until we were done paying off our loans.  We are luck to live in a great place where the rent is rather low for the area we live.  We live in a 1200 sq feet, 3 bedroom apt.  We are a little cramped in here but after living in a 950 sq ft 2 bedroom place, this one feels HUGE!  We plan to stay in this place until we pay off our debt.

Ok, so now you know the HUGE amount of debt we have here is our plan to get it paid off by the end of 2019 (hopefully sooner).  Yes I said in 4 years.  We will be paying off our entire debt in 4 years!!!!!  If we do some side jobs or sell some items in our house (which we will) it will be sooner, but the longest we will take is 4 years!

To help us to do that, we are going to be posting our budget and our end of the month report on what extras we were able to do to pay things off faster.  We are going to be VERY open with everything so you can see what we do and how you can also make needed changed to live a better life.

January is the first month we have been able to make a budget like this so you will see little changes over the next couple months as we iron out how much we need in different categories. Due to my husband having a bi weekly paycheck, we are having to use a different budget then we have ever made.  It makes me a bit nervous because it is so new tome.  I am not sure I am doing this right because he will get checks 2-3 times a month, so each month will be a little different.  So I may switch us to a strictly every 2 week schedule if I can’t work it out to be a monthly one.  So Here is our budget for the month.

Real family budget


As you can see we are having to scatter some of our bills between the 2 checks and other things we are splitting between each check.  We are doing this because some of these are monthly bills due at certain times and the others are yearly or every 6 month bills we are saving for.

I am hoping we will be able to get some more income from selling unneeded items and by earning more on the blog.  If Ww do earn a little more, we will be able to put $3,000 on our loans and be 1/2 way done with 1 of our loans!!!!!  so excited for that!  Can’t wait to check it off our list!

Now to press forward and make more huge dents in our debt so we can be financially free again!

How is your budget this month?  What suggestions do you have for us???

Be sure to check out how to budget if you are new at it!


After Many Months of Trials

Filed Under: Frugal Living

paying off debt


I can’t say the last couple years have been easy for me. In fact I have seen myself going from loving my family and being debt free and care free to becoming someone that is not the real me, probably pretty depressed and becoming crazy about the money.  It is hard for me to put into words what has happened these last few years, but I have not been in a great place.  I have never admitted to anyone the toll this took on my emotions and I have never talked about it very openly at all.

I stopped blogging back in July because my husband was studying for the bar, we had lots of debt and no savings to live off of.  We had to make a change and I had to make more money.  So I started to focus on the thing that I could use to bring us in enough money to live until he got done with his test.  I had started to sell Lularoe is June and I was doing a lot of boutiques and was making just enough to get us by.  I just couldn’t keep up with everything and all the pressure.  So I let go of the blog for a bit to help my family get through all this.

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