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Adopting Strategies To Pay For Big Expenses

I like the idea of financial independence, and if I'd had my way, we would have started our family once we had college fully funded for each child. Plus, a healthy emergency fund, a do-I-want-to-be-a-working-mom-or-not fund, and a minivan fund.

But I didn't want to be 80 years old at my children's high school graduations either.

Ironically, as it turns out, we decided to build our family through international adoption, a notoriously expensive way to build a family. The expense, I'm ashamed to say, is one of the main reasons why I resisted adoption for years.

When we reviewed our first packet of information, the fees ranged from $18,000 to a jaw-dropping $60,000. Gulp. Not only did we not have any of the funds above (well, except for an emergency fund with three months of living expenses), we didn't have any money saved up for our adoption when we formally started the process in May of 2011.

Before I get too far into this, I know most of you probably aren't adopting internationally. Still, maybe our strategies can help you save for something important in your life.

How we are paying for it

First, we cut expenses as much as we could. We

  • raised deductibles
  • shopped around for insurance
  • slashed our vacation budget
  • bought second-hand clothes or wore the ones we had
  • cut our landline to the bare minimum
  • halted all projects on our fixer-upper

All the things that you already know. We didn't go crazy here.

We sold stuff. I consigned clothes and yard-saled kitchen stuff. My husband sold his tractor he'd painstakingly restored. He made the biggest sacrifice, but he said it was worth it. Unfortunately, it didn't sell for as much as we'd hoped, but the $4,500 boosted our adoption account.

And lastly, we made more money. He worked as a mechanic for years, so he repaired farm implements in the evenings. I taught a couple of extra classes, reviewed textbooks, and filled in a few days at a doctor's office while I was on break from school. I also started a significant side job, but we tried not to touch that money unless we got desperate. That money has another purpose, related to our adoption, but more on that another time.

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