To our new readers: We like to take a weekly trip into the land of others and learn just how they make life happen! Have you ever caught yourself asking ‘How do they do that’? It’s not a matter of comparing ourselves to the Joneses, it’s the willingness to seek knowledge and understanding so, you too, can make the choice whether or not you’re willing to do that. What trade-offs are you willing to make?
Without further ado, welcome Michael Mota from Negative to Positive Net Worth!
How Do They Do That: Negative to Positive Net Worth
1) What about retirement? Are you saving?
Absolutely! My wife Lisa and I save exactly 15% of our gross income into our 401k accounts and then we save an additional 15% of net income into our Roth IRA accounts.
2) How often do you vacation? Where does the money come from?
Our family vacations maybe once a year. If we don’t take a vacation we tend to do small day trips to places closer to home. Either way we always cash flow the trips. We save for the trip instead of using debt. I mean why pay extra in the form of interest for something that is considered a luxury.
3) Are you planning for college?
Yes, to date we have saved 3,000 for each of my kids for college. At this moment we have suspended college savings temporary but in a few months we should pick that back up. Our plan is not to pay the full boat for college. We want our kids to have some skin in the game. That means they will need to apply for scholarships and work to pay a certain amount for school. Either way we will help them learn to think out of the box and complete college debt free if they choose to attend college.
4) Do you have a car payment?
No! We buy our cars used and with cash. We find 3 -5 year old good quality vehicles and pay for them with cash. We continue to save for a vehicle on a monthly basis as if we had a car payment. This always guarantees we have the cash to purchase a vehicle when we need to.
5) Are you house poor? What’s that mortgage/rent like?
Actually our house payment is less than rent for our area but if you add taxes and insurance we pay a mortgage payment of almost $1,200 per month. We bought a home that we could afford comfortably that would not stretch our budget. It is not big but we fit our family in it just fine. Being a smaller place I love how we all spend time together in the living room. And the added bonus of having a home that is 1700 sqft- the utility bills are smaller.
6) How do you fund Christmas?
Christmas for us is expensive considering we have 6 children and 2 grandkids plus other family members but we manage to cash flow it. We do spend a lot on gifts, more than the average household but I figure what the heck that’s what money is for. Don’t get me wrong we still have to put a limit on gifts or it would cost us more than a new car, lol.
7) Let’s talk home improvements?
I am pretty handy and do almost everything myself. I get a kick out of my wife Lisa when she says to me “are you sure you know what you are doing?” I learned a long time ago that if I do not know what to do in the long run it is cheaper and smarter to hire someone than to try to do the project myself and mess it up. That’s my rule and I stick to it.
8) Do you save for school clothes?
No but we do save for clothing which school uniforms are included in that. Anything that has to do with clothing comes from the clothing budget and yes we cash flow it.
9) Do you deal with college debt?
I did not attend college long enough to accumulate debt but my wife did have school debt which she acquired (before we married) for her nursing degree. We recently attacked that debt and paid it off. I actually wrote about the process on my blog.
10) Is your emergency fund where it should be?
No, because when we married we decided to pay off the school debt so we took the emergency fund down to $3,000 and used the rest of the fund to help pay down the student debt. Now that the debt is paid off we are back to funding the emergency fund to the 6 month mark. By the end of the year or sooner if things go well we should have the $18,000 minimum we require in this fund.
11) Do you carry credit card debt?
No. we do not have credit cards. None, zero, do not want one.
12) How often do you eat out?
We take the family out to eat maybe once a month. Sometimes on rare occasions we may go out to eat twice a month. It can be expensive, especially when at a minimum you have two adults with two kids who eat like their stomachs have no bottoms.
13) Do you mow your own lawn and clean your own house?
Absolutely! I love doing yard work most days and it has the added bonus of exercise. I also enjoy tending to my gardens. It gives me peace of mind and helps with my stress levels. My wife does clean our house and of course I help tremendously in this area. You see I am a veteran and have a bit of OCD thanks to the Marine Corps. So I go above and beyond with the cleaning. Most times I drive my wife batty with my cleaning habits. You should check out my yard scaping- perfect. lol
14) Name a Frugal Fail?
Can’t think of any.
15) Your Question: Do you get an allowance?
Yes, but we call it blow money. My wife gets $200 per month and I receive $50 per month. This is for spending in whatever manner we each see fit. Yes my wife gets more but I am okay with that. I really don’t require much and what I need is covered through our budget.
Thank you so much for sharing, Michael! Negative To Positive Net Worth is devoted to create positive change in this world by helping good people learn personal finance so they too can live, prosper, give and leave a legacy.
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