Trent, over at the Simple Dollar, recently wrote a post that quickly received many comments. The blog, Small Steps to Buying a House (and More), was about a friend of Trent’s who recently paid cash for a house. Trent contends that his friend’s little cuts in expenses allowed him to save enough to pay cash for a fixer-upper. Eliminating his home internet, not buying coffee or meals out and opting for free entertainment were examples of his small steps.
Instead of providing his readers with hope (as I sure he intended), the story seemed to reinforce for many of them the reasons they can’t pay cash for a house, get out of debt, or achieve financial freedom. Some of the comments left:
For those of us who live in cities this is not possible, no matter how many “small steps” we take.
Maybe for one of those war-torn Detroit homes you see in the news
Something tells me the friend is single and earns a whopping salary while living on practically nothing with Mom and Dad.
extremely high salary in an area with a relatively low cost of living
incredible deal on the house
A feat like this is just so completely geographically dependent as to render the message virtually useless
It is mathematically true that eliminating your morning latte in most areas of this country will not yield enough savings in a lifetime to buy a house.
It is also statistically true that no matter where in this country he lives, or how much he makes, or how much he paid for the home – Trent’s friend is remarkable. Very few pay cash for their first home.
I have written how the small budget cuts we made were instrumental in our ability to pay off our home. These small cuts provide you with an opportunity to re-commit daily.
Anyone that has turned off his internet at home and refuses to buy an occasional soda at the gas station probably pays significantly less than average rent. I bet they turn off the lights, keep the thermostat high in the summer and low in the winter. Their clothing budget is probably very small, as is their budget for personal care.
This is someone who has made a decision not to incur debt, even for the purchase of a home, and now tries to align ALL his choices with that decision.
If you choose to live in an area where housing costs are very high, it will be difficult to be mortgage free unless your income is also very high.
If you choose to have children, you will have expenses that childless people do not.
If you choose to be content with a low paying job you will have less to spend, less to give and less to save than someone who constantly works to upgrade his or her skills and value.
Get what you want. If it is a paid-off house then make the choices that will lead to that. If its 7 kids in San Francisco on a low paying job, make it happen; but don’t begrudge the small family living debt-free in Iowa .
Very few people really choose what they want and then commit to that choice.
We should openly and enthusiastically celebrate someone who actually does the work to achieve their goal.
Way to go, Trent’s friend!