August 19, 2017, was a momentous day for our family. On that Saturday, my husband took me along to our bank to make the last payment on our house. While we have been home “owners” for three decades, we have never been without one and sometimes two monthly payments due – until now. Anticipating this goal being achieved, I prepared a gift for Dave to commemorate our house history.
We began our married life by renting half of a duplex and then moved into the big blue house pictured at the top when Dave began his newspaper career on August 19, 1985. That is where our family grew from two to four. Choosing to live closer to the school our boys would attend, we moved across town to the house in the 3:00 position in 1990. Less than two years later, Dave’s career took us to North Dakota, where we lived at 1618 Elmwood Drive in Minot for four years. I included three photos (7:00, 9:00, 10:00) of that home, with the last one showing its makeover after a hail storm.
When our kids were in 1st and 5th grade, we returned to Ohio so Dave could run the newspaper in Tiffin and spent eight years in the tan house pictured at the bottom. While we were living there, a teenager from our church visited during a youth event. He noted that I wasn’t working and asked how we could afford such a nice home and two nice cars on a “9 to 5 job.” I gave his question some thought, discussed it with my husband, and then sent him this letter:
I enjoyed the video scavenger hunt with the YF on Sunday. We had a great team even if we didn’t score the highest! You asked me a question about how we can afford our house and cars on a “9 to 5 job”, and I didn’t answer because there isn’t a short answer, and I had to think about it a little. I do want to let you know how this is possible.
First of all, you should know that God has been very good to us and we realize that all the good things we have come from Him. There are some “success strategies” that we have used and would like to share.
Dave and I both worked very hard in school and both went to college. He has a degree in accounting from Tiffin University, and I have a secretarial degree from Bowling Green. When we got married, we both worked. We only missed work when absolutely necessary and did our very best to do a good job and earn our pay. That often included working extra hours for no extra pay.
When Eric was born, we decided that it was very important for me to be at home, so Dave looked for a job that paid more and had good benefits. That job was at the Advertiser-Tribune. We were careful with our money, spending some, savings some, and sharing some (with the church, etc.). We use credit cards, but only charge as much as we can pay off each month. That way, we pay no interest.
We moved to North Dakota when Dave’s company wanted him to take a job out there. It paid a lot more, and we saw it as an opportunity to better our family’s financial position as well as live in a new and exciting place. It wasn’t easy to leave our friends and families, though. Several years ago, the company moved us back to Tiffin where our parents are. Dave is now the Publisher of the A-T.
You should know that Dave does not work a “9 to 5” job. He is in charge of all of the employees at the newspaper and responsible to the owner in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is his job to see that the paper makes money and serves the community. Since his first job at the A-T when he was business manager, he has worked extra hours when needed and covered for other people when they were unable to do their jobs. For the last few months, that has meant that he gets up at 4:30 and delivers papers until 6:00, then gets ready to go to work by 8:00 and gets home at about 5:30.
He has also had to do some traveling to work at other papers owned by his company. There is no extra pay for these things, however, when he really goes above and beyond what is expected, he sometimes is given a “bonus”.
We have owned some new and some used cars. However, we usually keep a vehicle for a long time until it is no longer useful to us, but can still be traded in toward a new one. We try to have one car paid off before we purchase another one.
Another way that we can afford nice things is to prioritize. Everyone has their own priorities, and we probably spend money on things that someone else might think is wasteful. However, there are a few things such as alcohol, tobacco, and gambling that we do not spend on. These are very expensive and harmful habits!
So… good education, hard work, careful spending, and the grace of God! That’s how we have come to own a nice home and other things. See you at church!
In 2005, Dave accepted a position in the newspaper company’s corporate office in Wheeling. Our home is a few miles east of there in Ohio. Here is the house that we have lived in long enough to pay it off.
In 2007, I wrote an expanded explanation of our physical and financial journey to each of our five homes. If you are interested in reading more about 32 Years and 5 Houses, you may open it here: On a Nine to Five