Some people are shy about finances. They are weary of discussing their bank account, savings, and expenses. I'm not. In my opinion, we're in a great place financially for a young couple who got married with student loans and not-so-great jobs.
I don't like debt. I grew up with a mortgage broker for a father, and my family experienced the worst of the 2008 housing crisis. At the time, I was 18 and graduating high school. I filled out FAFSA, and saw that my family fell below the poverty line that year. I attended community college and lived at home for 2 years, but I still graduated college with almost $20,000 in debt. Because I had only gotten federal loans, I believed that I had the "good" type of debt. I deferred my payments, travelled overseas, bought a used car in cash, and 2 years after graduating, landed my "grown up" job.
When Alex and I got married, we debating between spending all of our savings on my debt (He had none.) or on a tiny house. We chose a tiny house, and figured the $1000 we would have been spending on rent would go towards loans. And that rate, we knew we could pay them off in 20 months, maximum, but hoped to do it sooner. If we lived in the tiny house long enough to pay back our loans, we would be satisfied with our commitment.
That was in November 2014. Our goal was to pay off our debt by August 2015, paying $2000 each month. We had no other payments, low rent for the land, and two incomes. We also owed Alex's parents $8000, as they fronted the cost for part of the wedding, moving the tiny house, and hooking up utilities. We paid them first with the very generous gifts we received at our wedding. We stuck to a strict budget, and achieved our goal of paying off our loans by August 2015. By August 2016, we hope to have our savings account build back up to where it was when we got married.
As much as I would like to pat myself on the back for doing so well with our money, I also know that this wouldn't have been possible without the family and friends who supported us. Both of our parents let us live at home as young adults, rent free. Alex and I had our wedding almost entirely paid for. One friend donated decorations and put them up. Another bought my ($200) dress for me. A family member gifted us our honeymoon. Our friends and family continued their generosity through gifts and cards. Alex's parents allow us to park on their land and pay only a small amount in rent. They share their laundry, deep freezer, water, and electricity with us. Now that we have Abel, both grandma's watch him one day a week so we can go out. Alex's brother and sister who live at the Big House next door love the little guy and Abel's auntie babysits him so we can go out on dates. Almost all of Abel's things we handed down or gifted to us. We are truly blessed.
Staying on a budget played a big part, too. Next, I am going to share about tiny house budgeting and money saving!