Made a $7,025 payment!
We've been working our butts off here this past month in order to pay all of the regular bills and stay on track to pay off the mortgage by Andrew's 30th birthday in October. I am proud to announce that we were able to pull together enough money to make another payment over 7K for month #2, putting us ahead of our $6,400 average monthly goal over 10 months.
We've reduced the mortgage from $62,200.84 on Dec. 31 to $49,175.73 as of Feb. 1st. It feels amazing to finally see that mortgage number with a '4' in front of it!
What We've Been Doing
In order to make these massive mortgage payments, we've been carefully watching our food spending (our biggest money pit)- shopping at Aldi for the essentials and only going to the more expensive traditional grocery stores for whatever else is left on the list. That effort alone has reduced our grocery bills by about 30%.
We've also been prepping food and snacks ahead of time and making our own 'snack packs' for easy grab and go lunches while planning out every breakfast, lunch, and dinner so that nothing gets wasted. This helps us not spend $300 a month on food and drinks at work (which we were previously doing) and it allows us to shop smarter. In addition, we've had a much closer eye on our nutrition which has its own benefits; I've lost 4 ½ lbs this month and Andrew has gained some muscle and a ton of endurance from all of the healthy eating and exercising we've been doing!
We've also both been picking up overtime at every opportunity. It's super-painful to do, but working towards a common goal makes it easier. We figure that since it's winter and gross outside anyways, we're not missing much by spending a few extra hours at work here and there. The way we see it, the more we work now, the more sunny days we'll have off to enjoy together later in the year, and the less interest we'll have to pay the mortgage company by racking up some extra dough and paying as much as we can now.
We've been doing well on eBay; no large-ticket items have sold lately, but it's been steady. I'm hoping that my gorgeous diamond hoop earrings that were appraised for $1,200 sell for my asking price of $450 in time for Valentine's Day-that would help us tremendously this month to make another mortgage payment over 7K!
We've also been trying out some new side hustles that we highlighted in 50+ Ways to Make Extra Money, and we can't wait to share the results in future posts. We hope you'll find our experiences as funny and inspiring as we did!
What We Haven't Been Doing
Unfortunately, we haven't had enough free cash to take advantage of auctions like we've been accustomed to over the past few years. Some days we might spend upwards of $800 at an auction, and sell off the inventory over weeks or even months to realize the profits. If another great auction came along a few days later, we'd have to spend even more, and then again the next week and so on. If our stuff sold before the next auction, great, but if it didn't, we couldn't let that stop us and squander an opportunity. We'd have to keep a big bankroll of cash on hand to take advantage of these situations, but now that bankroll has all gone back into investment accounts because we're not investing new money right now-it's all going to the mortgage.
"You go after it and you give it all you have. If you lose it at least you tried. "I failed" is ten times more of a man than someone saying "what if?"" - Greg Plitt
Neither of us wants the stress of having to sell all of the auction inventory off by the end of every month to get our money out in time for the mortgage payments, so we've eased up on the frequent auction-going in favor of kicking the mortgage in its teeth for a few months. We'll get back into it in the spring, but we're not going to be tying up a bunch of money.
Another thing that we haven't been doing is turning up the heat past 65 during these cold months, which is helping to keep our heating bills significantly lower than last year. We installed a programmable thermostat a few months ago (which we wrote a handy DIY post about), and it's been working really well to keep us comfortable and keep our bills low. It's one thing to talk about and estimate numbers for money savings, but it's almost a surprise when your method actually works and you see it for yourself!
We've surprised ourselves in many ways lately with regards to how much money we can actually save and make when we get a little creative with our methods and stop making excuses! We still have a long way to go, but we're (hopefully) establishing good habits that should help carry us forward to reach our financial and personal goals.
What do you guys think? Any advice for making our food prep or any other aspect of our lives more streamlined?
Slaying The Mortgage Dragon. The Amount Left On Our Mortgage.
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