Many people look at Goat Milk Stuff and think our success was very fast. In a way it was, and in a way it wasn’t. While Jim was able to join the business full time within a year of Goat Milk Stuff’s inception, the foundation for being able to do that was laid years before and took a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
Because we worked for many years to pay down the mortgage, when it was time to launch Goat Milk Stuff, we were able to take out a home equity loan to build the soaproom as an addition onto the barn. With the poor economic climate of 2009, I doubt we could have gotten a business loan. Having equity in our home allowed us to expand the business once we outgrew the house. Without being able to expand, Jim would have needed to keep his day job.
Then when we outgrew that soaproom and made the decision to move and start over in Scottsburg, our ability to sacrifice and live below our means allowed us to build our dream home.
While my new home is beautiful and gorgeous, it is far from complete. We are missing the deck, so we can’t use our living room door. It is also pretty empty on the inside. We don’t have any window treatments (other than cheap paper blinds), we don’t have much furniture, and we don’t have any decorations.
I admit, it is tempting to go into extra debt to finish and decorate the house. But we’ve done a good job resisting. We lived in the house for over 4 months without purchasing any new furniture.
Why? Because we chose to spend our limited budget on features that mattered and needed to happen when the house was being built. The other stuff can be added later.
Does this require patience? Of course it does!
Is this easy? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
For example, we lived without living room furniture for over 4 months because I didn’t have any money in the budget allotted to furniture. So in our living room, we used bean bag chairs.
I’ve been content to be patient. Getting everything you want (or think you “need”) right away does not build character. And I want to build character into my children. I want them to know that even though they live in a big house, that does not mean that they get everything they want.
Since we’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, I’d been hoping and praying that we could get couches for people to sit on.
It didn’t seem likely though until we were approached by someone who wanted to purchase The Hulk. We weren’t really planning on getting rid of it, because it is paid off and we were all sort of attached to it. But since we have The Beast, we really don’t need it.
The family talked it over and in a split decision decided that we would exchange The Hulk for furniture. As a result, we now have living room couches!
I’m really glad that we got them, but I’m also really glad that we waited to get them. It was a good lesson for the children. And a good reminder for me. Just because we could have purchased the couches sooner (I do have credit cards), it was better for us to sacrifice for a while until we had the money that was earmarked for furniture.
We’ve entertained a lot of people in the four months we’ve lived here. Nobody has ever looked down on us for not having furniture. I haven’t been embarrassed about it, and nobody seemed to expect me to be.
I want the children to know that you should never go out and buy something you really don’t have the money for just to meet somebody else’s expectations. Just because people expect you to have furniture doesn’t mean you have to spend money you don’t have to buy furniture.
You can sacrifice for a while without things that many people would consider necessities. After all, most “necessities” are actually wants and not needs. We’ve always found that sacrificing, saving up, and waiting for something makes you appreciate it all the more in the end.
Have you ever gone without something for a while? What was it?