Tag Archives: budget

Our Journey to Debt Freedom

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Conquering Debt

If you’ve visited my blog before, you might have noticed that my husband and I have been striving for debt freedom. We have never acquired credit card debt, but did have student loan and home debts that we feverishly began working to untangle from. I’ve detailed our 5 steps to conquering debt awhile ago on the blog. Those 5 basics we used in our journey were:
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life in a fixer – the floors

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Replacing the floors became one of the first major tasks that captured our attention on the interior of the fixer, after painting the walls and exterior. The original materials included laminate flooring from the 70s (dirty and falling apart), and shag carpeting that smelled of pet urine. Some of the sub-flooring needed to be cut out and replaced due to water damage. Brian was able to tackle this situation full force during his unemployment.

We knew that our budget required that we carefully choose the new materials. Brian discovered a recycled building supply store a few hours from us, and after two trips with my mom and a friend (we did not have a truck ourselves) we hauled stacks of leftover douglas fir wood flooring at less than $1 a square foot.

In keeping with our other non-toxic finishes (we used Yolo Colorhouse paint on the interior), we decided to use pure tung oil for the wood flooring rather than the usual wood floor finishes. This allowed us to move in while the oil was still drying, and avoid inhaling any harmful fumes as we finished up the project.

During this transformation, glimpses of hope and renewal spurred us on. As the walls were washed and painted and the floor planks wedged and pounded in place, we started to realize that this place could become a cozy home. As soon as enough of the flooring was installed, we moved in. It took another couple of weeks for the rest of the floors to be completed.

Our unfinished wood floors have held up beautifully over the past year and a half. With two children and a dog we have the occasional dent or mark, but it tells a story much more eloquently than stains on carpeting would. It was a cost-effective and lasting choice for our home.

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Keep reading!

Part One    the beginning

Part Two    jobless, but not homeless

Part Three    buckets and bugs

Part Four    kitchen remodel

Part Five    the floors

Part Six    the stairway

More coming soon…

Epilogue    life after a fixer

Life Without Debt – 5 Ways to Conquer Debt

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Our family has felt the bondage of debt. We have determined to wipe out the existing balance and never allow it to return. While we have not experienced or accumulated credit card debt or a mortgage on our house, our family has inherited the school loans I adopted for college. I did pay for some of my schooling upfront, and worked throughout my college years to save and pay as much as possible once the loans came due. This allowed me to pay the majority of my 4 years, plus some summer classes in Italy, off within a year of graduating (my parents have helped with some of these). We still have a little less than a year’s worth of university expenses to go. Our goal is to pay this off by the end of the year (using some of our current savings along with what we can spare in the coming months), even though we are currently living on one part-time salary.

**UPDATE: As of 2014 we became DEBT-FREE and purchased land for our homestead with cash using the following principles! Read more on that here.
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