Learning about money 

Our Ellie girl is 4 years old, and has never really shown interest in money. However, recently, she and her daddy were at Sam’s club, and she spotted something.   

 “DADDY! LET’S GET THAT CLUBHOUSE! I LOVE IT!”

Never one to miss an opportunity for teaching, Andrew offered her a deal. If she worked to earn money for the clubhouse, we would match it. The one they saw was only about $600, so if she earned a dollar a day, she’d have it in a year. 

Ever since then, we have been offering her opportunities to earn money by doing chores around the house. We never pressure her to do the work, but we always say that she can choose whether she wants to play, or do the chore and earn a money for her clubhouse. We have a big glass container for the cash, and Andrew taped a picture of the wooden play structure to the outside. Every time Ellie chooses to clean up, or help with the laundry, or volunteers to help with something, we reward her with some money. Then we talk about what the money is going to buy! It’s a fun way for us to help teach her many different lessons, like delayed gratification, working toward a goal, and the concept of intrinsic motivation.

 

Today they asked to help with the laundry, so they each got a nickel when all the laundry was in the dryer!

Plus, now when Andrew and I go to work, we can explain to Ellie that we are also working so that we can save up and buy things that we are excited about, like chickens or a tractor. Or a septic system. Maybe not as glamourous or fun as a clubhouse, but another step on the way to our dream!  

Full time trailer living

Welllll….remember how I said I didn’t want to live in a travel trailer?

We are going to live in a fifth wheel travel trailer. (and build the steel building too)

And now the Reasons! So, right now we live in an apartment. We moved here in September 2014 knowing it was temporary, so we signed a 10 month lease, figuring we would know better what our financial situation was by July 2015, and when we could buy land. Here we are in March and we know that we can afford payments on the kind of property we’d like to have, and we’re also reallllly close to having 20% down. However, we knew we couldn’t afford both the monthly payments on our new land and our current apartment. We needed a place to live while building the house, a place that wasn’t in an expensive area, was close to the land so Andrew could build the house, etc. Lots of requirements. Andrew brought up the idea of the travel trailer again, and this time I wasn’t so resistant to the idea. Mainly because we would be building the house during our trailer stay, and the trailer would not be permanent.

Where will the trailer live? Excellent question. Don’t know exactly. If we have our land by July, and if the land has electric and water, and if we can get a septic system installed quickly, we will put the trailer on the land. If the land isn’t ready when the trailer is done, we will probably live in a nearby RV park.

I’m glad we decided this now, because we are buying the trailer new and ordering it custom built, which takes 8-12 weeks. Not everything in the trailer will be customized, but we have some options. We are getting double pane windows, for instance, and a bigger refrigerator rather than an extra cupboard. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Want to see some pictures?

Above is the floor plan. Starting on the left, there is a full second bathroom with a tiny tub to wash small people. It has a door to the outside, which I think will be great for messy little girls who need to run in to use the toilet in the midst of their outdoor adventures. Then there is the girls’ room. It’s a bunkhouse. Ellie will have the bunk above the outdoor kitchen. On the opposite side, we will put a bed for Emily where the optional sofabed is pictured. Above that there is an additional bunk which we will turn into toy and clothing storage.

Then you have the kitchen/dining room/living area. We’ll get a table with four chairs and a love seat with storage underneath.

The master bath has a nice size shower, and we will get the king bed in the master bedroom. There are laundry hookups in the master closet. We already have a full size washer and dryer, so we will probably not be buying a smaller washer to fit the space; we have a couple different options we would like to pursue before buying an appliance we already have.

The kitchen, with the optional bigger refrigerator, which we will get. It’s tiny! But it’s awfully nice for a trailer! We won’t have a TV in the trailer at all; that space above the cupboards would be much better used as pantry space than for a TV. And we have plenty of mobile devices for whatever TV watching we will want to do out in the country. Which will probably not be much!

Living area. Our sofa will have the storage under as pictured here. There’s also that little bench for sitting and reading. We’ll get the same swirly design in the upholstery, but lighter leather.

Master bedroom! My favorite part, besides the king bed, is the little windows on either side of the bed.

Ellie’s side of the bunk room. We won’t have a TV there. You can see the wardrobe to the left; that’ll be nice to have for their clothing.

Here’s the full bunk room; Emily’s bed will be where the sofabed currently is, and above will be storage of toys. The door leads to the bathroom.

Lots of light! And it looks huge with the wide-angle lens!

Regarding paying for it: We will be financing this for 15 years, and paying a very small monthly payment on it. If we get to the end of our lease and need to live in an RV park, the cost of the loan plus the cost of the RV park is far less what we pay for the apartment. This option is really the best one all around. It’s going to be weird living in about 600 square feet, but it will be SO worth it to take the next step toward our dream!

Now I have four months to purge a whole LOT of our belongings!!!