Week In Review Aug 15-20

week in review

I just realized that this never got posted! Oops! I had it ready to go on Saturday, but oh well. So here is how last week went:

The good:

-We received some free lawn chairs form a friend. I spent $13 on spray paint and they look new again.

-We attended a free concert in the park

-We ate a bunch of veggies from our garden

-We made our monthly college contributions (for the 2 oldest)

-We visited the library and got 2 movies to watch.

-We spent Saturday at the Grandparents with a bunch of family. Potluck meal, fun and movies for the kids.

The bad:

-The kids and I got McDonalds after a busy morning out. We ate it while watching the Olympics.

 

Accepting Responsibility

*This post will most likely make people angry. It is a rant on my part about something that frustrates me and is COMPLETELY my opinion. This is my blog where I get to voice those opinions. I do not expect you to agree.*

I decided that I wanted to buy a house. I found the one that I wanted in a nice neighborhood close to where all of my friends were also buying houses. I went to the bank and got a loan for the most they would allow. I signed my name saying that I agreed to pay the full amount back plus interest. I understood that I was responsible for this because my name was on the loan. I understood that no matter what happened in my life circumstances I would need to figure out a way to pay my mortgage payment. Five years later my job wasn’t paying as much as I had hoped and all my friends were moving away. I decided that I no longer wanted to live in this house, but I also wasn’t able to sell it. I started bemoaning the fact that I had taken out such a large mortgage and ‘ruined’ my life by not being able to see the end of these mortgage payments. I blamed the job market in America because they don’t pay enough. I blamed the neighborhood for costing so much. I blamed the bank for allowing me to borrow so much money to start with. I began to see that the big problem was really the government. Isn’t it their job to make sure that I get to live ‘the American Dream’ without it causing any type of financial burden to me? It was the government’s fault that they even allow banks to loan people like me money when I can’t really afford it. Housing should be free for everyone!!!

Does this sound ridiculous? Crazy! Absurd! Why would anyone expect that?

Change the scenario to college and the above is true.

I recently saw this cover of a magazine while I was in the grocery store.

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I later found the article online so that I could read it. Here are my thoughts on the subject. Notice I said my thoughts. I am not expecting you to agree.

I understand that college is expensive. Quite frankly everything is more expensive than it was 10 years ago. I understand that many parents are not able to pay for their kids’ college and many aren’t able to help at all.

What frustrates me is the mentality that our culture seems to have… ‘I had no choice, but to take out a loan.’ ‘Jobs just don’t pay enough to cover the high cost of school.’ ‘College ruined my life!’

I hate to tell you this, but college did not ruin your life. Yes, you have a mess of debt to clean up. Yes, it is going to take lots of time and effort but don’t play the victim. You had a choice. You signed on the line to take out the student loans. You agreed to taking on a large amount of debt, no one forced you to do it! There is no shame in waiting a year to go to college so that you can save up some money. There is no shame in starting your degree at a local tech school and transferring later. There is also nothing wrong with working while going to school.

Articles like these make me realize how entitled people now feel. They feel they deserve to get a degree at whatever school they want, in whatever state, despite the costs. Then when they realize that they made a bad choice they think others should accept some blame and help them fix it.

To put it bluntly: Grow up and take responsibility! It is your problem and you need to take care of it!

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Our Plan To Be Mortgage Free.

A good way to keep yourself accountable is to put your goal in writing and to tell others. If other people know what you are striving for they can help keep you in line and encourage you along the way. I know many people feel that money is a taboo subject but that is one of the main points I even started this blog. To be REAL about money. So I am sharing one of our goals. I don’t expect this to be your goal and I don’t want anyone to feel badly about where you are on your financial journey.

This is what we have decided we want for our family.

Our (BIG!) goal: Be Mortgage FREE in 10 years, or less!

mortgage free

The first place I read about someone paying off their house was here. It was a BIG motivator!

Yikes! Even writing it down doesn’t make it seems and more possible but I’ve crunched the numbers and I know we can do it in 10 years. The ‘or less’ part will be a stretch but that is what we are ultimately trying for!

So here are our real numbers. We bought our house in March 2016 for $142,900 and were able to put down 30%. This was because we got a great price for our other house and we have lived debt free for the last 3.5 years. We got a 15 year mortgage at 2.875% and our payment is $890 each month including taxes. We round that up and pay an even $900 a month just because it’s easier math 🙂  By adding a measly $10 we are shaving 3 months off of our mortgage length. I know, it’s barely worth even mentioning but every little bit helps!

I am a nerd and I am visual so I like to make little charts that I can color in to show our progress. For every $10,000 we pay off we want to celebrate in some way…which will be decided when we get closer to that goal 🙂

mortgage

I wanted to know how much extra we would need to pay to hit our goal. I used an online mortgage calculator and these are the numbers that it gave me.

If we pay an extra:

$100 every month it will save us 2.5 years

$150 every month it will save us 3.5 years

$200 every month it will save us 4 years

So what is our plan to get to the 10 year mark?

1) Consistently pay at least $100 extra each month. This is an attainable number for us. There are months that we will be able to do more, but $100 is our base number.

2) Any ‘extra’ money will got towards the mortgage. There are times when we are under budget and have ‘leftover’ money. Every so often we find things to sell. Sometimes we are able to do small side jobs. Instead of spending that money on something or rolling it over to the next budget we will put it on the mortgage.

3) We have been fortunate enough to get a Christmas bonus from J’s employer each year. This is not guaranteed. IF we get a bonus again this year we will add it to our tax refund money and the cost of living raise J  receives to add a once yearly payment of $1,000 to our mortgage. That yearly payment will save us another 2 years.

These 3 things should bring us to the 10 year mark! #2 will be the real game changer for us and is really what we are focusing on. We really, really, REALLY want to get our house paid off ! 🙂

In the meantime, we continue to budget and keep our expenses low. We aim to be content with what we have and try to not compare ourselves with others. We still have a life. We still eat out. My kids are not in rags. We are even able to help others. We are just determined to be COMPLETELY free of debt.

What about you? Do you think you will be able to pay off your mortgage early?

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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14- Day Money Finder Challenge (Day 14)!

If you want to start Rachel Cruze’s challenge sign up here.

Follow me from Day 1.

 

This is it! The final Day!

Day 14: How much money did you save?

My answer….NONE!

With that being said, this challenge was definitely geared toward someone who has never budgeted before or is new at it. We have been budgeting for almost 4 years and feel that we have it down pretty well 😉

As we looked back over our numbers for each challenge we did re-evaluate our spending. We found areas where we could certainly cut back, if the need arose, but are ok with having for now.

This just goes to show that a budget is not stagnant. It is something that will change depending on what your current goals are. Our budget looked different when we were focused on getting out of debt than it does now that we are trying to pay off our house. This is why we make a new budget every.single.paycheck.

Did you go through the whole challenge? If so what was your experience?

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

14-Day Money Finder Challenge (Day 13)

Sign up for Rachel Cruze’s challenge here.

You can follow me through the challenge starting on Day 1.

Day 13: Review Insurance

Ah, the dreaded insurance! It is a necessary evil. Today we are supposed to write down what we paid for insurance last month.

We set aside $220 each month. This amount covers all of our insurance (home, auto, life and ID theft) which are paid on a yearly basis.

We are also supposed to shop around to see if we can find ways to save money on said insurance. J and I look over our policies each year to see if we need to change anything. (last month we added collision to our newer vehicle so our car insurance went up) Every few years we shop around to see if we are getting the best rate. In all honesty, we have been with the same home/auto company for all 11 years of our marriage…we have yet to find a better rate!

This is a category we took a long hard look at 4 years ago and made quite a few adjustments. Now we do a yearly ‘check-up’ to maintain 🙂 We’re feeling good about this category, but know that it can be a HUGE money saver for many people!

Did you take the time to shop for better rates? Did you save any money with those phone calls?

Read Day 14!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”