It seems like from the beginning of our marriage, we got paid on a monthly basis and not weekly.  I am not sure if that had anything to do with our money management overall theory, but it did aid in budgeting.  I was, up until meeting Barb the kind of guy that would deposit the pay checks and spend it until it was gone.  I would always pay the big bills first and then worry about the day to day stuff.  A lot of times I tried to carry a small amount of money and not get too carried away with the big stuff.

Being paid monthly was a way that made us aware that we could put in a lot of money in an account and if we were doing a good job, we could carry a balance so that at the end of the month we had money and not just month left.  Being at the bottom of the pay scale for the first few years didn't allow us to save up bunches, but we did manage to keep our debts low. 

When I was in Vietnam, Barbara bought an 8X38 mobile home.  She lived in it and attended San Diego State. The Army paid to haul that trailer to Colorado Springs, near Fort Carson and then on to Kansas.  During the moves, the hauler damaged the side of the trailer and knocked off the swamp cooler.  Between the two accidents, we managed to get paid the value of the trailer.  Had the swamp cooler not been knocked off the roof, I would have had to remove it as it would do nothing but add humidity to the already humid Kansas air.  We lived in that trailer for two years as we both went to WSU.  Finally when it was time to move to Leavenworth, we sold that trailer for what Barb had paid for it.  We lived on the cheap for three years and that was a good place to start.

In Leavenworth, the small house we were going to move into didn't materialize and we found a great apartment in a low income housing area.  For the next two years we lived about as cheap as anyone could.  When it was time for me to move out of school and into the real workday world, I ran into a friend that had been in the apartment next door.  He was a Soldier and his life had just crapped in his mess kit and he was a very unhappy guy.  He had re-enlisted and spent his bonus on a house in Lansing, KS.  They no more than moved in and he got orders for Germany.  He was in a bad way financially and needed some relief.  After listening to his tale of woe, I just made him and offer.  Basically we helped him pay off a couple of small loans he had and took over the payments to the house.  We moved into a nice house about as cheap as you could make it happen. 

When we moved to Ottawa, we sold that house for a nice profit and paid down the cost of the new house in Ottawa.  When we moved to Topeka five years later, we sold the Ottawa house and entered the league of real house costs.  Neither of our previous houses had cost much over $30,000 and that wouldn't buy a shack in Topeka.  We managed to swallow our pride and had to pay $55,000 for a place to live.  The saving grace in the whole thing was that Barbara was hired to Teach Special Education right after our arrival. The House we bought in 1980 was demolished by a tornado in 1983 and for the sake of not getting my blood pressure up, I won't get into the dealings with the Small Business loan and their emergency loan for a disaster.  What I can say is that we rebuilt that house much better and cheaper than it was originally was and sold it for a profit when we found Rabbit Run.  We bought the 18 acres here in Tecumseh and never looked back.

I like to listen to the financial talk shows and Dave Ramsey is on a lot.  I think his program is on three hours a day on talk radio here in Topeka and he makes a lot of sense to me.  One of his points is that your home is not really an investment, it is a place to live.  He does not believe you should buy a house as an investment in more than just a good place to raise a family.  He might not even list his house on his balance sheet.   I do and  now have it paid for.  He recommends that you buy a home with a fixed interest rate and a 15 year note.  We always paid extra and in little over 7 years paid for this house.  It will just knock your socks off once you get your house and your cars paid for.  

I guess the secret I would offer to you is to get an education, don't expect too much early in your life, work hard and save as much as often as you can.  I love Dave's comment, "Live today like no one else so tomorrow you can live like no one else."  


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