Frugal teen buys house with 4-H winningsLindsay Binegar was 14 the first time she spent any winnings from years of showing hogs. She bought a purse. The second time, at 18, she splurged. She bought a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a two-car garage. And she paid in cash.
"I've never heard of a teenager buying a house," said Nikki Gasbarro, spokeswoman for the Ohio Association of Realtors. "Smart girl."
The Greenfield teenager has been saving money since she was 4 years old and won $100 showing a hog.
"I didn't get the money; it went to the bank," said Binegar, now a 19-year-old freshman at Ohio University's Chillicothe branch.
And so the pattern began. She'd raise a few hogs every year on the family farm in Highland County, show them at competitions and add any winnings or sales proceeds to her savings account.
"She's pretty tight," said Lindsay's dad, Gary. "She's always been big into 4-H, and every penny she made she just banked."
That included $15,540 for showing the reserve champion and grand champion hogs at the county fair in recent years.
By the time she graduated from Greenfield McClain High School last June, she had saved more than $40,000 for college.
But her parents had a proposition: They'd pay for college if she'd live at home and commute to Ohio University's Chillicothe campus.
The idea appealed to Lindsay's thrifty, practical side but left her wondering how to invest the money she'd saved.
Her dad, who runs Binegar Auction Service, had a suggestion.
"I said, 'You should buy a house,' " Gary Binegar said.
"I was like, 'Oh, Dad, that's a lot of money,' " she said.
But in August, Lindsay bought a house when her dad was auctioning one as part of an estate sale. She paid $40,000.
After painting the inside of the two-story frame house and adding new carpeting, Lindsay rented the house to a great aunt and uncle who wanted to relocate to Greenfield.
Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, said it's extremely unusual for a teenager to buy a house.
Lindsay's dad, it turns out, did something similar - but not as grandiose - when he got out of high school. He bought a house, too.
"I paid $7,000 and there was 3 feet of snow in the living room," he said.
He fixed it up, rented it, then sold it and bought the farm where he, his wife, Mandy, and Lindsay now live.
Mr. Binegar, 44, isn't sure why his daughter is so fiscally responsible at an age when many teens spend every cent they get.
Then again, it fits her personality. She's always been at the top of her class academically. She volunteers each Friday at an elementary school to further her dream of becoming a teacher. She has been involved in 4-H for 11 years, was a cheerleader and was crowned homecoming queen her senior year of high school.
"We tried to lead her in the right direction and make her know the value of a dollar," her father said.
Lindsay said she hopes to finish college in three years, get a teaching job and raise a family in her hometown.
"I would never move out of Greenfield," she said. "I just love everybody here."
She's saving the $450-a-month rent payments from the house so she and her 22-year-old fiance, Heath McNeal, can buy a small house when they get married in 2011.
Eventually, the couple wants to buy land and build their dream home on top of a hill.
Her father has no doubt that'll happen.
"She's got a really good head on her shoulders," he said. "She's the perfect girl."