14 07 2008

As many of you know, I started this blog to hold myself accountable for budgeting as my wife and I planned and budgeted to move into our new house.  Over that time, I successfully wrote and grew this blog to over 100 subscribers.

Now that we have moved into our house, I’ve found myself at a loss of ideas and motivation to post.  As I’ve been trying to analyze why I feel this way, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I’m beginning to feel like a hypocrite.  We live in a very nice new house, that we have worked very hard for, however we have had a great deal of help getting here.

First, we got a huge leg up from my wife’s brother and his wife.  They currently own two houses in the Dallas area and offered to let us live in one of them, rent free, as long as we maintained it and paid the utilities.  So far we have not been able to thank them enough for the head start they gave us on saving for a house.  We lived there for about a year, and by living frugally we were able to live on my wife’s salary while saving all of mine.  This enabled us to have a good sized down payment on our house and to fully fund an emergency fund.

Next, my in-laws gave my wife her mom’s old car for her graduation.  Which is a very generous gift by any standards, but when her mom’s old car was a mint condition Lexus SC 430 with low miles, it’s above and beyond.  We were able to sell the car for a large sum, which enabled us to put a very large down payment on our Volvo, and put the rest into the down payment on our house.

Finally, something that I have written about previously, but a check that my grandmother gave me when I was young.  I was able to invest and exponentially grow it.  This money paid for Mary’s engagement ring and our wedding rings.  It also paid off all of our debt after college, and for some of our furniture.

Living in our nice new house I have to say it is hard to feel like we are living frugally, in the truest since of the word we definitely are not.  We have a new 2500 sqft house (for 2 people), and we drive a new car that we make payments on (when we could have paid cash), but what I have really come to realize in the last few months writing this is that being frugal isn’t about being stingy, cheap, or not wanting to spend money.  What being frugal is really about is choices.

Mary and I choose to live in a nice new house, we choose to drive a nice new car, and we choose to make sacrifices to afford both of them.  We take our lunch to work.  We don’t eat out much.  We carpool.  We don’t have cable.  We use coupons. We don’t belong to a gym, instead we workout on our own…which will hopefully be a future post.  Mary made the drapes in our bedroom from nice fabric she found deeply discounted.

As you can see, although we may not be the true poster couple for being “young and frugal,” we like to think that we are wise with our money, and we are able to enjoy the choices that we make, while still saving for retirement.

2 Week Anniversary Update

9 02 2008

Young and Frugal is officially 2 weeks old today, and I haven’t provided an update, so here it goes in a very random and unorganized fashion… 

First off, I would also like to thank you for stopping by, it’s been two weeks, and I have had over 250 page views! OK, I really don’t know if that’s good or not, but celebrating this little milestone makes me feel good! I’ve also gotten a few nods on some websites from people who apparently like what they see, which is very exciting for me.

I have changed the tag-line to add business to the blog, because business is a passion of mine, and I don’t know how I could not incorporate it when writing about personal finance. Most of my business related posts will also be entrepreneurial to help keep it more interesting.

We haven’t earned any extra income that I spoke about in my first post.  But we have thrown around some great ideas that I know we will be pursuing.  I might give tutoring a whirl, and Mary and I are both going to get certified to be personal trainers, though she will make a much better one than I will.  (If anyone knows of any good personal training certification programs, please leave a note in the comments or send me an e-mail through the contact section.) 

I’ve also toyed with writing a business and personal finance column for a community newspaper, it’s something I think I’d be good at, they are my two passions, and I really enjoy writing, plus I could use it to promote Y&F. 

Another idea is my pet product that I want to develop a prototype of this weekend.  If it works for Lexi (our 2 year old Lab) I would love to see how far I can take that!  

Between writing posts, running, and working my day job, I have been able to stay very busy, which has proved to be a blessing to me.  Before I started the blog, and before I was running and working out 4+ times a week, in my spare time I would watch TV and surf (shop) the internet.  Now that I’m busy, I’d be willing to say I have definitely cut down my spending, and my mind doesn’t feel as numb!