by Texas Homesteader ~
How do we keep our monthly income requirement LOW to be able to live this blissful life without a corporate paycheck? We’re often asked, “How in the world do you DO IT?” I’m sharing it all.
Part 1 of a 2-part series!
Financial times are tough these days… for all of us.
RancherMan & I both live and work together right here on our Homestead. While this self-employed lifestyle is blissful & absolutely amazing for us, it also means there’s no regularly-scheduled corporate paycheck for either of us.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE SELF EMPLOYED?
We decided instead of having corporate jobs we wanted to work for ourselves. To be our own boss.
It’s true, as any self-employed person will tell you – there are many more hours of work necessary for often much less income. That means working sunup to sundown most days.
And it’s also true that now that we work for ourselves we don’t have near the disposable income we used to have when we worked in the corporate world.
But that corporate world just didn’t work for either of us, we needed a change.
LONGING FOR A SIMPLE LIFE
We were both weary of the concrete jungle and hustle & bustle of the city. That busy, crowded, citified world is not what spoke to our hearts.
We longed to live away from the rush and the noise. Both of us longed to slow our lives down and enjoy life.
And most importantly we longed for our work to be personally meaningful for us. WE wanted to be the ones who called the shots for our jobs.
But how? How can we possibly make it without that regularly-scheduled corporate salary infusion? HOW??!
There are many ways we’re able to make this life financially feasible for us.
PLAN FOR OUR FUTURE WHILE GETTING SALARY:
First and most importantly is PLANNING for the future life you want. We planned this transition to self employment many years before we actually made the leap.
In those early years we paid off our debts while we were still living in the big city working at our often unfulfilling career jobs.
Even then we were very focused on setting up our future lives on the Homestead in a way that would require as little monthly income possible.
Our land was obtained and paid off, ponds were dug and fences built. Pastures were planted and cattle & equipment purchased.
All while we had the benefit of a regular incoming salary.
Financial Security – RECOGNIZE WANTS VS NEEDS :
When our debts were finally paid off we pumped as much money as we could possibly afford into our savings accounts.
Now mind you we were raising our four children at that time. So it was sometimes a challenge teaching them to recognize “wants” versus “needs“.
Of course we gave in to some of their wants because, well, they’re our children and we love them and it’s important to have a little fun in life.
But we resisted the constant barrage of confusion between wants & needs. And we continued to add all we could to our savings account.
That nest egg sure helped us to get acclimated to a life without a scheduled paycheck.
STAY OUT OF DEBT, PAY CASH :
Of course now that we’re actually living and working here on the homestead we shun debt like the plague.
Our cattle operation is small so there’s no need to get a bank lender involved with expensive equipment payments, and all those interest additions.
I’ll admit I get antsy sometimes when I have to hold off on a purchase until we have the cash in the bank to pay for it. But by doing so we’re eliminating any additional interest payments on those things.
Those interest payments are not adding to our monthly income requirement because interest expense is NOT THERE.
Money not spent is even more important to our financial security than money saved.
Especially in this case since it never makes sense to me to pay for something I never wanted in the first place (interest).
LITTLE SAVINGS TURN INTO BIG SAVINGS :
RancherMan is great at price comparisons. And he’s especially careful to thoroughly research all of our monthly obligations. This step is doubly important since those expenses will be paid over & over again.
He’s spent hours honing down the least expensive cell phone plan or the most effective and economical health insurance plan.
There’s been tireless research for the most reliable and lowest cost electric company, and much more.
Because of his extensive research each of those obligations slices just a little bit less of our monthly income requirement than it normally would. Stack them all together and there’s a real monthly savings here!
And check this out! Once when we tried to cancel a service on our cell plan that we weren’t using the salesman said “Yeah, but it’s ONLY $5 each month, it’s probably not worth canceling”.
OK the most important point is that we weren’t USING that $5 item! So it was money spent for nothing to start with.
Secondly by losing that tiny $5 monthly charge (plus taxes) we were saving over $60 a year.
The lesson here – and it’s important – is that small things repeated over & over again add up to bigger things, whether it’s saving or spending.
REPAIR INSTEAD OF REPLACE :
RancherMan is also very good at repairing things. We don’t throw away that whatsit because it quit working. I’ve lost count of the number of things he’s repaired!
He’s replaced cords and thermostats on our vintage percolator coffee pot.
Plus he’s repaired many of our larger appliances over the years.
And once when the Apple “genius” said it couldn’t be done, RancherMan took our Mac computer home & repaired it himself. (Who’s the GENIUS now??)
Heck he even replaced a defective gas tank on our tractor! The gas tank was under warranty but they wanted us to pay for installation labor. Pffft!
When something quits working around the Homestead it’s often RancherMan to the rescue. This makes a pretty dramatic impact on the level of income that’s required to allow us to live & work here.
And since we’ve purchased quality to begin with, repair parts are often found easily. That’s because they’re usually from a high-quality name.
By repairing items instead of replacing we’ve saved literally thousands of dollars over the years.
But it’s a mindset – you have to think REPAIR first when the need arises instead of instinctively grabbing that credit card & going shopping for a replacement.
BUY USED WHEN POSSIBLE:
Now we’ve focused so far on NOT buying things but ya know, sometimes things just need to be bought.
When we have to buy we always first consider buying used. Although to be perfectly honest, for me this is mostly for environmental impact. But it packs a nice little financial punch as well.
We’ve used thrift stores to purchase clothes, dishes and even my beloved mirror that RancherMan further embellished with old weathered wood from our 1880’s barn.
Then we used that same old wood when we made a unique weathered barnwood headboard and also a nice Photo Wall Feature for our guest bedroom.
When you think outside the box for your purchases it’s easy to save bunches.
Large Reclaimed Barn wood Mirror
Take that mirror for instance – I wanted a large mirror in our dining room. Of course we could have just bought a large mirror in the rustic weathered-wood style I love. But it cost almost $400 dollars!
But by purchasing this inexpensive used mirror at a thrift store for less than $10 & having RancherMan embellish it with repurposed wood saved from our very own beloved homestead barn, I’ve gotten a large mirror that is beautiful, functional and JUST what I wanted for very little money.
BUY ONLY HIGHER QUALITY ITEMS :
When we do have to buy we make sure to buy high quality.
It’s not a cheaper price if you pay less for a flimsy product that won’t perform well and will need to be replaced much too soon.
When we’re comparing two items for potential purchase, price isn’t the first thing we consider.
We’re looking at customer satisfaction for that item first. Then item features, manufacturer reputation and FINALLY price.
Each and every purchase we make is researched thoroughly for quality, longevity and affordability. RancherMan is the king of research. He makes sure our money is well spent.
OK there are still LOTS of ways you can easily and painlessly save money to keep your income requirements low. You can finish the 2-part series by reading part 2 here:
Living Without A Corporate Paycheck – PART 2
Links In This Post:
Living w/o a Corporate Paycheck – PART 2
- Our Favorite Personal Finance Books
- Don’t Throw It Away – Repair It
- Thrift Stores: Closing The Loop In Charitable Giving
- Reclaimed 1880’s Barn Wood Mirror
- Photo Tour Of Our 1880’s barn
- Our Homemade Barnwood Headboard
- Higher Quality Can Be Inexpensive & Sustainable
Other Frugal Tips
- When Financial Times Turn Tough Unexpectedly
- Build Financial Security With Less Effort
- A Financial Hit On The Homestead
- Simplify Your Estate – Document These Numbers NOW!
- Thriving Financially Without A Corporate Paycheck
- Make Your Slow Cooker More Efficient
- Is Food Past The Expiration Date Safe To Eat?
- Make A Cute Gift Box With A Repurposed Greeting Card
- MYO Minty Mouthwash
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Canisters
- Keep That Broccoli Fresh
- Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings
- Cleaner Vegetable Chopping
- Using Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen
- Don’t Waste It – Free Vegetable Broth
- Make A Cute Dish Carrier From Old Jeans
- MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Use ALL Of Your Spray Cleaner
- Easiest Self-Sufficiency Steps To Take NOW
…and many MORE!
See ALL Our Frugality Articles
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Excellent information. It reminds me very much of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. I love how you mention – don’t spend until you have the cash. Yes – cut up those credit cards.
Lots of good information for those wanting to live with out working for the man. TMH
After working for my self for the last 36 years it hasn’t been easy by any means and the last hit in 2008 just about took me out to lunch. Back on my feet and working harder than ever I wouldn’t have changed for nothing. I like being my own boss, come and go as I please, do what I want to do and continue the American dream of being independent to make it happen. If it doesn’t then I’m the only one to blame.
Most of all God is a good partner and never let me down.
Looking forward to your next chapter….
Great advice! So many will find this helpful!
Once again…..A fantastic post with important information. I hope you realize how important you are to many of us because you truly do inspire and encourage others to at least TRY. Trying is your first step to succeeding. From what I’ve read on your beautiful and fun blog, I can tell you are very organized. I can truly appreciate organization and how much time we waste when we are not. HE! HE! I’m married to the most loving man I’ve every known but he’s the most UN-organized man I have ever met. Oh well, they say opposites attract! LOL
As always – THANK YOU for posting this valuable information and sharing it with others.
Thanks so much for stopping by!!
I was so pleasantly surprised when I came by to return your comment when i saw this wonderfully informative post. This post can also be used for someone planning to retire and for some one like me who was the major bread winner but recently had to go part time because of health issues. Almost all the points you speak of in this post is what my hubby and i have been working on , planning for his early retirement next year and my part time status! Thanks so much for sharing!!
I can be done with some careful planning and you are living proof! I left my corporate job for good over a year ago and have not looked back. We have had to make some changes but it was the best thing we have ever done.
Thanks for sharing at this week’s Blog Hop!
I love this! We used to think we were saving money by buying the cheaper versions of things, but after a while we realized how much more frugal it is to spend your money on quality items.
As a side note, I think it’s hilarious how often I will click on a random interesting looking post from a linky party (this time it was Motivation Monday) and find myself on your blog. I think it’s obvious that I really enjoy your blog! 🙂
Great tips! I especially love that you buy higher quality. This is a big one if you want to save money in the long run.
Great post! I l love the way you worked hard together to meet your financial goals and keep focused! Thanks for sharing your tips and strategies.
Another excellent post and you have some great points and ideas in it. We especially go for the no debt one. We run a few monthly accounts in town but we don’t agree with debt, it can be crippling especially when your income is low or spasmodic. I agree about making a purchase a good one and only doing it once. Buying cheap doesn’t always pay especially if cheap falls apart and can’t be fixed. We seem to life in a throw away society and no one fixes things any more, but we think it is important to fix all that we can. Thanks for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
These are some wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing your story. Right now my husband and I are working on the getting out (and staying out!) of debt so that we can have more financial freedom.
Thanks for joining us at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again next week 🙂
How do you handle the big expenses like twice annual dental visits with exams and Xrays, root canals or dental bridges, eye exams and glasses, health insurance, property insurances, new roof or septic system or well and/or the eventual vehicle replacement? How will you handle aging in your retirement?
Well Donna, as I said everyone’s different. RancherMan & I have done our homework & very careful financial planning in preparation for our big leap. Remember when I said we were popping as much as we possibly could into our savings/investment accounts while we still had corporate salaries. That money was put back for emergencies and unexpected surprises such as my breast cancer diagnosis in 2013. Praise the Lord I’m cancer free now, but since we had a high deductible insurance policy an astronomical amount came right out of our pockets. It had already been tucked away so we didn’t have to worry about it, and now that money is being replaced little by little in anticipation of the next big thing. It’s obviously important to plan for your future, whether unexpected illness or retirement plans, but those are questions better asked your own financial planner. ~TxH~
What a great read, very good advice, we are not quite there yet hubby still works full time and we are not debt free but certainly a lot better off in many ways then more are, but each time we make a choice, its a step in the right direction. Look forward to reading the second half tomorrow.
We want to get there. To clarify – we aren’t interested in a homestead but we want to be able to both be self-employed. These are great points. Right now my husband is still working and we are striving to get out of debt this year. Like you said it’s a bit less work for more money, but some day….
I’ve often said not everyone is interested in churning their own butter or spinning their own yarn (myself included) Kudos to those that do, but I think it’s important to stick to those things that you ENJOY doing, things that give you fulfillment. I enjoy making yogurt because it’s so darn less expensive than the store-bought stuff and it’s SO EASY TO DO. I enjoy gardening because it’s just in my blood, and I hate to waste food so I like to preserve overages from the garden. But each family has their own likes and their own reasons for doing so. We’re all in different places in life on this big wonderful world of ours, and each has their own path to reach a place of fulfillment. Good for you for reaching for your dream & taking steps to get there. ~TxH~
Great ideas… we do many of these and they are helpful…. there are others we could add. Thank you . 🙂
We left the outside jobs in 1979 and I in1980. Started milking and building to purchase a farm, never once looking back. We raised 3 children on the farm and have since started beef farming. God has blessed beyond our hopes and dreams, but it has been through careful management and frugality, not always easy, but always rewarding. It all about needs and wants, but farming as some other professions is a way of life, you have to love it.
Your story sounds so much like ours. We left the city life to live our dream of the country life. It can be quite challenging to live without a corporate salary and all of the benefits that brings, but once your mindset is changed, it can be done. LOVE the mirror! I think it is so much special using your wood and knowing that your hubby did that for you. That’s something a fancy store-bought mirror could never give you. I love the little stars in the corners. Did you ever think about making more and selling them? Just a thought….Thanks for the post! Heading over to read Part 2 now.
Kudos to the two of you for living your dreams. I think telling your story can help others realize that they too can live their dreams. I know many people who think that all homesteaders/ranchers/farmers inherited their land and were raised learning & practicing their trade. I hope your story goes viral.
I am very much looking forward to Part 2.
Oh how I would love and appreciate getting a regular post. However I can’t seam to find the follow button via my phone. Help.
I feel like this is our story you wrote about! I have been able to leave corporate world and hopefully within the next five years my hubby can as well. Life on our farm is just about perfect in our eyes and we are just now building things up to a point where we can both work it full time. Thanks for the great post!
That’s awesome Tracy, so you already know the financial commitment you must make to live your dream. It’s not hard, but it is a commitment. Congrats to you for being able to follow your heart! ~TxH~