Everyone has a story about how they formed their relationship (positive or negative) with money. This is the short and sweet version of how we got to where we are today.
Public High School and Private College
Mr. Farmhouse Finance and I both come from comfortable middle-class families, with very supportive parents. We both had the privilege of attending excellent public schools (k-12), and went on to great private colleges. We each have a parent that works at a college, and were able to get Tuition Exchange to cover a large portion of our college tuition. In addition, our parents/family members helped pay for the remaining balance. When I graduated from college, I only had about $10,000 in student loans to pay back. Mr. Farmhouse Finance did not have any loans.
After college, I worked out west for a couple years doing an environmental education internship and saved as much of my tiny stipend/salary as I could. After two years I had over $15,000 saved, and used that to pay for grad school. I knew that I wanted to become a classroom teacher, and wanted to get my Master’s degree and certification in the fastest, cheapest way possible. I chose a public college that had the program I was looking for, and set out to get my Master’s in a year and a half. During that time I lived with family members, and worked at a restaurant and continued a summer camp job to make ends meet.
Mr. Farmhouse Finance chose to go to a private college with an excellent teaching program, and completed his Master’s in two years. He paid for grad school by working construction and with some help from his family.
We both completed our Master’s programs without taking on any more debt.
Falling in Love and Moving out West
After graduate school, I had a difficult time finding a teaching job in my area. I worked a frustrating year as a substitute teacher, and applied to hundreds of jobs. I had a couple interviews, and even flew out to Colorado to interview for a job (that I DIDN’T GET!). Finally I was offered a teaching job out west, and jumped on the opportunity. Right after I accepted this job, I met and fell in love with Mr. Farmhouse Finance.
Our courtship was fast and furious, as I was just about to move across the country. We lasted all of one month apart before he came out to visit me, and made the decision to move out the following month.
The Finances of my First Teaching Job
I was thrilled to accept a job, and to finally have my own classroom, but money was really tight in the beginning of our relationship. I had taken on some debt to buy a new-to-me used car to make the trip across country with, and borrowed some money from my mom to help with the move. On top of all that, I also bought a new computer that summer on a credit card, and had one year to pay it off before having to pay the interest.
Here is what my financial picture looked like when I met Mr. Farmhouse Finance:
- Close to $10,000 in student loans (yeah I know, I didn’t make much progress on that in the 5 years I had been out of school)
- $1,100 on a credit card to pay for computer
- $2,000 owed to my mom
- $7,500 owed on a car (I was only able to put $100 down – not surprising, my mom had to co-sign that loan)
I had over $20,000 in debt at the start of our relationship.
I started reading personal finance books and blogs, and got interested in taking control of my finances. Slowly, but surely, I began paying down my debt, and we began saving for the future.
Moving Back East
After living out west for three years, we decided to move back east to be closer to family and friends. We did not have teaching jobs lined up when we moved back, but knew in our hearts that everything would work out. We were lucky enough to live with family while we searched for jobs. Mr. Farmhouse Finance worked construction, and I subbed and worked at a restaurant for a year while we saved for our wedding, and continued to look for teaching jobs. I also made the decision to take four more graduate classes to get another teaching certification to make myself more marketable.
After subbing and tutoring for a year in two different school districts, and getting an additional teaching certification, I hit the jackpot and landed my dream job. We got married, and then Mr. Farmhouse Finance got hired at another great local school.
We were both hired making nearly double what we made out west.
Where We Are Today
We have been working at our new jobs for a year and a half, and have been saving like mad to build our first house. Financially, we are much better off than where we were almost 6 years ago when we met, but still have a ways to go to reach our goals. We are about to hit a very big milestone ($100,000 net worth), and will share about that very soon.
What’s your money story?
Illusion of Scarcity Worksheet (PDF)
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