Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How We Paid Cash To Remodel Our Bathroom AND Go On A Dream Vacation!

In 2006 we took a class that changed our lives. The class taught us how to pay off our car loan, pay for grad school without going into debt, save for the future, give freely and live in financial freedom. It also planted something inside of us that convinced us that even if we wanted to live off of one income (so that I could be a stay at home mom)...we could still save for things that we had always dreamed about doing!

My DREAM was to travel to Europe someday.

dream trip to Europe

We decided to create a category in our budget that we called our "5 year anniversary trip."

We began saving a designated amount each month and setting it aside for our trip...our trip to Europe. At some point we realized that going on a BIG trip for our 5 year anniversary might be a little over the top for our lifestyle and soon to be growing family (not to mention that it would put a LOT of pressure on future anniversaries!) 

We decided to change Europe to our "10 year anniversary trip."

Each year we would create our budget and adjust the monthly amount that we would save to reach our end goal of a trip to Europe in 2014! Some years we saved $60 per month...some years we could only afford $30 per month. However, little by little we saved.

In 2013 we reached our goal for how much we thought it would take to travel on our dream trip.

Conversations started shifting...did we really want to spend that much money on a trip that would come and go in 10 days? Did we want to spend that many hours on a plane? Did we want to spend days cramming in popular sights and destinations...traveling from one thing to the next to get the "full experience"...or were we maybe at a stage in life where we personally just wanted to rest and lay on the beach and do...nothing? (Important to note: our five children are currently 3, 5, 5, 8 & 9...so you see my point about wanting to rest.)  :-)

This was also about the time that we had the unexpected help, time, and opportunity to remodel our main level bathroom. However the materials weren't going to pay for themselves and we hadn't exactly been saving for a "bathroom remodel project." 


That is when we made the joint decision to put half of the money we had saved towards a couple of days on the beach and a 5 day cruise to celebrate our ten year anniversary (and do nothing but lay in the sun!) and the other half of the money towards something that we could enjoy the other days of the year. Our bathroom was completed this past fall and now I find any reason I can to walk into our new bathroom.

I share all of this hoping that this little story will inspire you. 

What are your dreams? Have you always wanted to travel but feel like it is out of reach? Do you have a kitchen that you dream of remodeling some day? What would motivate you to stay financially on track if you knew that down the road there was something special waiting?

To help you on your journey...here are a few tips that helped us.

dream vacation and remodeling bathroom

1) We took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. The man is funny & entertaining, he knows his stuff, the steps are simple and we loved taking the class with other people we could interact with after watching the videos. You can go here to search for classes in your area.

2) We had real conversations about the real money that was coming into our house and stuck to a real budget. It is not easy y'all! Sam and I had to schedule "money meetings." In order to save for a dream vacation we've never had cable tv (also a great motivator for me to go to the gym and workout because they DO have cable and more importantly...hgtv :-) We talked about what was most important to us and what we could live without. We still have these conversations.

3) We opened up a savings account through Capital One 360 (in 2006, all the way back when it was ING Direct.) Each month I would transfer out the monthly amount to this savings account. It collected a small amount of interest along the way but more importantly it wasn't sticking around our checking account where I might "accidentally" use it for something else. You can go here to open up a savings account through Capital One. (The Capital One link is a referral link, if someone clicks on it and opens up an account and deposits $250 I get $20 for referring them, it's open to all Capitol One customers, you can refer your friends too! And there are also bonuses available for you just for opening an account!) By pretending that the money was already gone (and into a savings account) it was much easier to not spend it on extra trips to Starbucks (my kryptonite!)

4) Remember that it takes time. It can feel like such a battle at times...our culture tries to tell us that we can have anything, whenever and however...even if our checking account says otherwise. It is SO easy to get caught up in the "must haves" of life...but are they really must haves? The feeling that comes with giving, saving, and spending your hard earned money, in the best ways you know how, over time is PRICELESS!

5) Contentment is more important than all of your dreams coming true! It really struck me what Kelly from View Along The Way shared in a post recently about paying off their house. She said, "I'm not happier now." In reality if we are living life just for these big moments (like going on a cruise for the first time ever!) then there is a great chance that we could be royally disappointed if the trip isn't perfect. The truth is...my happiness is wrapped up in knowing a God who loves me just as I am and His love is where I get my daily joy from. Being able to save for eight years to go on a dream vacation is just icing on the cake!


The best part...in a few hours we are leaving on a jet plane and going on our DREAM vacation! We are hitting the beaches of Florida and then experiencing our very first cruise...to the Caribbean (the Bonine is packed!) Have you seen the stories in the news about the cruise ships that had to turn back because of sickness spreading?!? (Yeah, so did I...a few days AFTER we booked our cruise...pray for us!) The children have been kissed a million times and we are off to celebrate this crazy amazing marriage and the moments that started it all!

I'll be back posting to the blog on March 10th. Until then tell me...what do you dream about? What would your dream fund be called?

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19 comments:

  1. Sarah, we also took a financial peace class in about 2006 or 2007. It showed us how to be intentional with our money instead of letting our money run us around. It was so freeing! I'm so glad that it is paying dividends in your life too! (See what I did there?) Have a great trip! And your bathroom is a dream.... good choice on splitting your "dream money" between something that lasts and something you are working on making last. -Melissa

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    1. Great way to put it Melissa!
      "Something that lasts and something you are working on making last."
      -Sam

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  2. Wonderful post! Have an awesome time!!! I'm thinking about starting a "10 year anniversary" fund too ;) Thanks!

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    1. Awesome...it will be SO worth it! :-)

      ~Sarah

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  3. Awesome post!! Have a blast on your well-earned vacation! So excited for you guys!

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  4. I am a silent reader of your blog. This is first time I am commenting! I could not resist to thank you. I talked to my husband about saving for our 10 year anniversary. Thanks for the wonderful tip.

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    1. Latha,

      Your comment made my day! Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

      ~Sarah

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  5. Woo-Hoo! Congrats to you and your family! Have a super fantastic time and make sand castles. :)

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    1. Thanks Julie! :-) The sand was incredible!

      ~Sarah

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  6. What great ideas. I have been trying to learn to save more lately. I would love to save for a vacation! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Tanya,

      You can do it! It is so much fun to save for things that bring YOU joy! :-)

      ~Sarah

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  7. Sarah,

    Did you call up Dave and say....We're debt FREEEEEEE? I love that show and you are such an inspiration to so many! Congratulations!

    Happy day friend!
    karianne

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    1. Karianne,

      We never called in but I do follow along with Dave on Instagram and love watching the Friday posts and seeing families rejoicing as they yell out! So inspiring!

      ~Sarah

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  8. Sarah, that is awesome! I love how you made your dreams happen without being the least bit reckless. Definitely inspiring.

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  9. This was an AWESOME compromise! We have also taken FPU (even got FP Jr for our 4 yr old) and it has changed our interaction with money and our interaction with each other with money. We have REASONABLE ADULT conversations, instead of knock-down-drag-out-door-slamming fights. We tell our money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Good for you guys and your bathroom looks AWESOME!

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    1. Heather,

      That is wonderful that you guys have taken the class...SO helpful and such valuable information!

      ~Sarah

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