Today’s Thrifty & Nifty guest knows a thing or two about frequent moves, and she’s learned a few budget-friendly techniques for making a big move a little less painful and costly. Welcome writer and editor Alycia Morales to The Budget Maven!
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Waking up to happy children, sending them off to school, and heading for Starbucks to drink decaf coffee and do some writing, then enjoying a quiet evening at home with the family snuggled on the couch.
Do you like your own handwriting?
Yes. (Should I admit that?) I’ve been told it’s some of the nicest handwriting others have seen. I hope they’re telling me the truth!
What are you listening to these days?
I’ve created a “Quiet Times” station on Pandora. I plugged in Beethoven first, then added other classical composers and found myself adding Downton Abbey’s soundtrack and Carter Burwell to it. I’ve discovered a lot of great songs this week.
If they made a movie about your life, who would play you? What would the movie be titled?
Molly Ringwald. Whirlwind Moves
Who or what inspires you?
God’s Word, Creation’s Beauty, Life, My Family
What is your money philosophy, and how does it affect your daily living?
We move a lot for my husband’s job, so we have to be careful with our finances and our possessions. We are motivated to get out of debt and to save now that we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see various parts of the United States. Moving requires discipline in our budgeting. Because I have to pack once every two years or so, I try not to buy a lot of “stuff.” I also find myself whittling down what we have each time I start packing it up again. We donate a lot to local churches, Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or I sell things to earn money for gas toward our next move. I buy most of our stuff on sale and use coupons and gas points at the grocery store. I also love craigslist and yard sales on Facebook. Occasionally, we’ll give away our larger furniture pieces rather than haul them to the next state we’re heading for. Finding cheaper used items to replace them with is becoming a treasure hunt for deals for me.
What sacrifices have you made to create the life you live now? What benefits have come from making these sacrifices?
We’ve sacrificed quite a bit, but it’s been worth all of it. My husband was working as a union carpenter when the economy in NY went downhill. Just when we needed it most, God blessed him with a salaried position with one of the contractors he’d worked for. He became a field engineer (construction surveyor), and we started moving with the jobs. We left NY and all of our family and friends for Alabama. From there, we’ve lived in South Carolina, Indiana, and Georgia. The non-material things like visiting with our family have been our biggest sacrifices, but with the lack of space, we’ve chosen to keep our load light and avoid certain purchases. On the flipside, it’s kept us on track for our financial goals, and our debt is gradually reducing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, financial or otherwise? You don’t need credit cards to have credit. Pay with cash. Don’t spend over your income.
Any money-saving tips you’d like to share?
- Order your utilities first. Utilities and cable companies tend to run credit checks. Every time they run one, your score fluctuates. Utilities have a higher deposit requirement. The last time we moved, I found this out the hard way. I called Comcast first, then the electric company. Comcast didn’t charge me what would have been a $50 (or so) deposit. The electric company charged me $350. Because Comcast’s hit on my credit score cost me the five points the electric company was looking for…
- If you move as much as I do, space isn’t as important as money. We’re living in a 1970’s singlewide that has two additional rooms added onto it, saving over $300 per month in rent. It’s cozy living, but the extra money in our pocket each month outweighs the spacial limitations.
- Spend a few dollars to save time and energy. Instead of rounding up cardboard boxes (or spending money on them at packing stores), I buy plastic totes to pack in. They are (fairly) weatherproof, hold a bunch of stuff, and stack neatly in a corner or closet or outdoor shed in between moves. They also stack neatly inside a trailer or moving truck.
Alycia Morales spends 80 percent of her time living and 20 percent on the road again, packing or unpacking. She enjoys seeing the country with her husband and four children and has recently started blogging about it at http://frequentmoves.blogspot.com/. In her spare time, she’s a freelance writer and editor who loves decaf coffee, reading, taking pictures of God’s creation, and watching NCIS and Bones.