Learn to Sacrifice. It’s Important.

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.


Since having children, Jim and I have always lived WAY below our means. We used all that extra money to pay down all of our debt, purchase our vehicles debt free, and ultimately pay off our mortgage.

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. 


The bean bags weren’t terrible because we could toss them out of the way and play games or hula hoop in the living room. But they were less than ideal.

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.

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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?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • SixPackMommy

    Thank you for this reminder- it is so tempting to get caught up in the pressure to have all of the material things we think we “have” to have. But in the long run, it’s far better to live within your means than to add considerable financial stress to an already busy day-to-day life.

    • goatmilkstuff

      I agree with you completely! I think it’s so good when we moms can encourage each other that it is ok to do without. Because sometimes we all need a little support. 🙂 PJ

  • Great reminder to start off this week. We’ve gone without cable TV, smartphones, and a second car for years. I do get use of a smartphone for work, so I’m used to having one, but I can’t justify the cost on my own.

    We’ve tried to pay cash for most things as well and look forward to enjoying the benefits of our sacrifices later on in our businesses.

    Keep up the good work!

    • goatmilkstuff

      Good for you! I’m sure it will all pay off and you’ll be thrilled at the results. And we’ve never had cable tv either. 🙂 PJ

  • Bradey Kleman

    It’s not easy when one of the most marketed items are financial services such as credit cards, balance transfers, and home refinancing.

    I traded in my newer vehicle earlier this year to get a car with a smaller payment and shorter loan. It felt good to do that.

    • goatmilkstuff

      Good for you!! Baby steps made a huge difference for us. And knowledge. Knowledge was key. PJ

  • Beth

    I drove my very old Honda Civic for six years after I after graduated college, to the point where it was admittedly slightly embarrassing when the people around me were getting into their careers and upgrading. We recently bought my new (almost new – it’s still used) car in cash, no car payment. Just a simple example!

    • goatmilkstuff

      Yeah, Beth!! What a great example. Good for you!! PJ

  • Janet Kiessling

    Amen Jonas Family! We, too, are just about debt-free! Thanks to the Good Lord & Dave Ramsey! We were almost there – then we put 2 of our 9 children in braces…..oops! But we plan to have the ortho dr paid off in 5 to 6 mons – not 2 years like they have it all planned out…:D. But mortgage, cars, credit cards & one of our sons student loans….whew! Took 5 years! And you bet – it is hard work! And it is well worth it when it is done! We are teaching the kids that debt it DUMB! Cash is great! They are getting it….slowly!
    And, btw, I think that your house looks great w/o the extra furniture! looks fresh & clean. Before this story, I thought that this was how you all kept your house…..looks great!……makes our looks crowded….:D
    Have a blessed day
    Janet Kiessling

    • goatmilkstuff

      That’s so cool to hear! We did the same thing with braces – paid Brett’s off over several years, but already have Emery’s paid for. Progress! And I do keep the house very empty when it comes to decorating, but I do like a place to sit. LOL PJ

  • Tami Hauguel

    The house is gorgeous. Wonderful lesson for the the children. With patience comes the reward. I think it is better to get the house exactly how you want it as you build. After spending all that time & money, why end up with something less than you dreamed. Great job on saving money to live mostly debt free.

    • goatmilkstuff

      Thanks, Tami!! I agree with you totally and have found it is so important to not just say it, but to demonstrate it for the children. PJ

  • Carole Moore Ellenberg

    Planning is key! Budgeting is a must! We have a 4 yr plan for the house to be paid off but other than that we too are debt free. Thankful for Dave Ramsey!

    • goatmilkstuff

      Good for you Carole!! I can’t wait for you to get there! PJ

  • Celia Amadahy

    An absolute life lesson worth learning. I’ve learned to live without credit cards. Putting God in charge of my finances has saved me and built character I didn’t know I had.

    • goatmilkstuff

      Ain’t that the truth! LOL It definitely takes some inner strength to not succumb to outside pressure sometimes. 😉 PJ

  • Lauren Stoltz

    This is great. I kept looking at pictures of your house and didn’t see any furniture in the pictures. I figured I was looking at an area of the house set up for the children to be able to roll around. I really appreciate your perspective – it definitely gives me food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

    • goatmilkstuff

      Nope – it’s just me being frugal. Although I really don’t do much decorating. I like being able to push stuff out of the way. And I hate dusting knick knacks. LOL PJ

  • Carrie S.

    Definitely working to teach our children this same lesson. We also worked hard to become 100% debt free and we are teaching them that hard work and patience is worthwhile. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I feel very alone in a world where parents seem to only teach their kids instant gratification.

    • goatmilkstuff

      I agree, Carrie! It’s nice to know that there are other families out there that are likeminded. Good for you! 🙂

  • Vanessa

    I clicked on this post thinking it would share some parenting tips, and what better tip than to teach our children the foundation of character: patience, determination, sacrifice. Love this post!

    • goatmilkstuff

      What a great way to put it! You are absolutely right. Laying a foundation of character is where good parenting begins. 🙂 PJ

  • Brandy Wiser

    Appreciating what’s important in life – and not sweating the small stuff – and looking towards the bigger picture just seems to be lost now-a-days. It’s great to read stories like this that remind us that there are families out there that are living within their means and teaching that lesson to their kids. Like you said the wants are just wants, not usually needs!! We kept our eyes open for years looking for our forever home with acreage and are happy to say that 7 years after buying our first house we’ve moved into our dream home – little farm house on 4 acres!! Where we can have a large garden, chickens and maybe goats one day! 😉 Our choice is to take a 15 year mortgage and live within our means to pay off our loan quickly, save all that extra thousands on interest and be debt free in 1/2 the amount of time of a traditional loan (and feel VERY blessed that we are able to do so)! We took the time between the sale of our house and purchase of our farm house to pay off any small debt we had – being completely debt free when we signed for the loan on this house. I love your stories and the lessons you are teaching your family!

    • goatmilkstuff

      Yeah for you!!! That’s so exciting and so much more important than having the latest gadgets or cool clothes. Good job!