The background image on this blog is from where I grew up.  It is beautiful there.  I grew roots into that earth, leaving the people was much easier for me than leaving the landscape.  In those woods I learned who I was.  I learned about contentment.  The birds sing thanks for what they receive.  The trees reach toward the heavens waving in a joyful chorus.  The streams babble and feed the earth which in turn feeds us physically of course, but spiritually too if we let it.  Being sure it is just as beautiful EACH TIME I go back is incredibly important to me.  Living debt free is also INCREDIBLY important to me.  I’m a lucky girl, because those two things go hand in hand.  Living green means living on less green.

I was once a High School Teacher.  During one of the many transitions in our married life, my family experienced true no-food-to-put-on-the-table poverty.  During that time we had to pick what bills NOT to pay, and which spouses credit to ruin.  Fun times.  I learned quite a bit during that time, and I want to share it with you in this blog.  In all honesty, the most important lesson I learned was that materialism is a sneaky little illness that can consume even the most well intentioned person.

My entire adult life I have shopped at thrift stores, and worked to save money.  In other words, I have always been frugal and never really cared to have a lot of money.  So needless to say I never expected to end up collecting cans and bottles to buy groceries.  No matter how frugal you think you are, you can still save money.  It is YOUR money, YOU work for it, and someday you may just need that 100 dollars a month you currently spend on cable to have been put in a savings account so you can feed your kids, or repair your car, or pay a hospital bill.

My husband and I live on his income.  He is in the U.S. Army, and is an Enlisted Soldier.  He makes roughly 40,000 a year including all extra duty pays.  In 2 years we have eradicated 28,000 in debt, bought a second car in cash, and put 1000 in savings.  I chose to ruin my own credit during our rough patch.  It’s fixed now!  We swore to build that savings so we’d never be in that position again!  Two college graduates.  You’d think we’d know better.  We did.  It didn’t matter.  Life happens.  Now we live better/smarter!  Being Debt free has allowed to us the freedom to do two very important things.

First, being debt free has allowed us to buy our dream home.  Well, our dream home for this period in our lives, the middle ages.  We bought a 6 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house in GREAT condition.  More importantly this house is in a GREAT neighborhood.  The fact that this house is in a well established, desirable, safe neighborhood means that it will retain it’s value, even in this economy.  The fact that it needed cosmetic updating means that we will be sure to gain some sweat equity out of this house!  The size of this house, and being free of excess debt means we can do that other important thing, ADOPT OUT OF FOSTER CARE!

My husband and I have always wanted to adopt out of foster care, but didn’t have the means or space to do so.  Previously, houses that were big enough were either in unsafe neighborhoods or out of our price range.  Post housing only allots bedrooms for existing children.  We knew we’d have to have great credit and save like fiends to afford a big enough house in a nice enough area, PLUS we’d have to save money to pay for the adoption itself!  WE DID IT!

Anyone can do this.  It comes down to prioritizing.  What commercials sell you as happiness is bondage.  It’s the truth.  I didn’t realize it for a long time.  Now that I have, we don’t have cable.  It saves me money, AND I feel perfectly content with what I have.  I have no desire for the newest this, or the nicest that.  I would say, if you want to have more money in your pocket the first thing you need to do is get rid of as much advertising out of your life as you can control.  No more cable, don’t listen to the radio in the car.  Opt for Netflix, Pandora, and your mp3 player.  BE your MOST AUTHENTIC you!  You will then discover what it is you NEED.

I am practical.  I am happiest when my life is simplest.  I love loving my 2 sons.  I love loving strangers.  I love loving God.  I am just an ordinary gal with a huge heart.  My heaven on earth is a green landscape, bluegrass, and laughing with my family.

Penny for your thoughts...

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