Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 9-3-12 |

Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 9-3-12

Like my husband and I, my 23-year-old brother Steve and his wife Shandy have a big ranching goal. They hope to run a commercial cattle herd and grow some hay and wheat.

To reach their goal, my brother and sister-in-law are more focused than any other young couple I’ve met. Here are some of the things that they are doing right now to help them get started. I wish I would have done these things when I was younger!

Live Near Ranching Family

My brother works and lives about an hour from my parents. Whenever they can, Steve and Shandy go to my parents’ place and help them with the cattle and farming. They’ve already bought a few cows and run them with my parents’ herd.

Keep Track of Finances in Excel

Steve does a great job at keeping track of his finances. He uses excel spreadsheet to chart expenses and track different savings scenarios.

Keep Track of Entertainment and Eating Out Expenses

Steve’s only been married a year, but he and Shandy quickly realized that extra expenses like eating out and doing things could really add up. They budget $80 a month for eating out and $80 a month for entertainment to make sure those expenses don’t get out of control.

Give Each Spouse Spending Money

When they first got married, Steve and Shandy had a few disagreements about Steve buying too many tools and Shandy buying clothes. They solved that problem by giving themselves a spending budget of $80 each a month. That way they can each buy what they want without criticism or breaking the budget.

Wait to Buy Until You Find a Good Deal

Steve says that it’s easy and convenient to just go to Wal-Mart or some other big store and buy things when you need them. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, they try to look around at yard sales or flea markets to find deals on things. This summer they found a cooler at a flea market for $10, which was $20 or $30 less than the price for a new one. They like to think that every little bit they save adds up and gets them a little closer to their dream.

Use Smartphone Apps

Steve and Shandy both have apps on their phone that allow them to update their check register and keep track of their budget. The apps sync with each phone, which allows each of them to know exactly what’s left in their budget to spend

Anyone who’s tried to ranch knows that good financial stewardship is the probably the biggest key to getting a start. Steve and Shandy admit that they don’t do it perfectly, but I think they have a great start. I’m excited to see how their ranching dreams turn out! ❖

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