Last week I ranted about some friends that we visited when we were on vacation. Today I want to rave about another couple of friends that we also visited while we were on vacation.
This couple seems to be doing everything right, financially speaking. Not only do they both work and earn good incomes, they live below their means, bank some (which has allowed them to go on some amazing vacations at the drop of a hat, because they had the cash to do it), and spend the rest, step by step, to reach their goals.
One of their main goals is to have a beautiful home and share it with friends and family. The way they have accomplished this is by taking small steps, which over the course of 25+ years, has resulted in an amazing home, a wonderful family, and friends that tend to "just show up" from all over the world to enjoy (even temporarily) a part of their dream. Here's how this came about:
They bought a small ranch house that was built in the '50s about 25 years ago. The house was not much to look at but it was in a good location, on a nice piece of land, and they could easily afford the payments. Since that day so long ago, they have set about turning their humble, little house into a showplace. As their kids will attest, the "family project" has been an ongoing renovation of this home that is still going on 25 years later (at the dinner party they invited us to, the topic of conversation was getting everyone's input on wallpaper for the downstairs office which opened up a spirited and lively discussion). Their house is, hands down, the most amazing place I have ever seen. I wanted to take pictures but there was people everywhere so I couldn't get any photos of the home without people in them. They have literally redone every part of their house. A once hand-dug basement is now completely finished with beautiful wood floors, a family game room, an office, and walk-out guest quarters. The back yard has been turned into a beautiful Japanese garden complete with rock gardens, waterfalls, an amazing deck, and quaint foot bridges. The kitchen is a work of art with marble counter tops, top of the line appliances, and cabinets that are to-die-for. Then there is the huge master bedroom that is an oasis of tranquility with a huge master bath (the stone shower rocks!), and a walk in closet that you could get lost in.
As impressed as I am with the "wow" factor of their home, I am even more impressed with the way they accomplished this goal. They made a plan (to renovate the house) then approached the plan with a cash-only outlook. As they had the cash, they would buy the paint for a room, the stones for the floor, the lumber for the deck. They didn't take out loans to speed up the project and they didn't spend more money than they had. If they wanted a higher quality product (imported marble) they would work on a more labor intensive project (the garden) while they saved up for the purchase of the marble. The result is that they have created a wonderful, welcoming home that is always filled with family and friends, and best of all, they are able to thoroughly enjoy themselves with the people they want to fill their life with because they are not stressed out about money, they aren't in debt or living beyond their means, they take genuine pride in their hard work and accomplishments, and people can actually feel the positive energy of this family as they, step by step, reach their goals.
This is an excellent example of how anyone can take their goal, break it down, then move forward with little steps (and with cash only) to create amazing things in their life.