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Archive for April, 2014

Mortgage under $50k!

April 19th, 2014 at 01:13 pm

We did it! The mortgage is finally under $50,000.

We applied our $883 federal tax refund to the balance and it just hit today. We officially owe $49,573.69.

Why is it that getting just under the big number is so satisfying?

I can't WAIT to have this house paid off, and it looks like we might actually be able to do it within three years as planned.

Hazzah!

Spring!

April 17th, 2014 at 08:19 pm

I can't tell you how amped I am about spring. Sun on my face, hands in the garden = happy!

Apologies though for not posting for nearly two months. It's been one thing after another. I suppose that is life.

-We found and signed our son up for a new preschool. This one has a pre-K program that I was impressed with. He just misses the cut off for kindergarten next year, and is bored 'playing' all day at his current school. He wants to do letters and writing, so we're moving him. The big bonus is it will cost us about $300 less a month than his current school. I can't wait to have that extra money back!

-We did the taxes and as usual, I had my yearly bout of depression when I looked at how much freelance money I brought in vs how much I got to keep. So depressing, and making me think once again about cutting back and working on other projects.

-I have been in the garden a lot. I'm part of a new backyard homesteading mentor program in my city, and I've been matched with a couple who runs a for-profit organic farm in their tiny city backyard. I've done a lot of classes and workshops, so busy busy. But I am learning a lot and meeting interesting like-minded people!

In my own garden, I've planted spinach and all kinds of lettuce, as well as broccoli, and started many many seeds for the warm season crops. I've also been hauling a lot of compost.

-We also had to make some financial decisions. DH got his bonus so we had to decide how to divvy it up. We paid down the mortgage a bit, paid this year's escrow shortage of $400 (school tax increase), and used a lot of the rest to pay $4400 into my 2013 IRA, so I could meet the $5500 for the year. The mortgage is now under $51,000, which feels great. But still. I can't wait for it to be gone!

I've also been spending a lot of thought and time into right our financial ship, so to speak. We had simply been spending too much in recent months and were struggling to meet our goals, save, and pay all the bills without dipping into savings.

I altered some of our spending to deal with this. Cut back on eating out, and cut the grocery budget. Ironically, we cut the grocery budget by ordering very high quality grass fed family-farmed meat twice a month from a local farmer. It costs about the same as the lower-quality grocery store meat, thanks to recent price increases there. And, it's more filling, so each bit goes farther. I also switched the majority of our non farmers market spending to ALDI from Kroger and Giant Eagle.

I've had to remind myself that we'd rather have money to spend on what matters than to fritter it away on here and there stuff that doesn't matter. Thanks to these changes, we haven't dipped into savings to cover anything for about two months now, and I actually was able to put $1000 of a $1200 freelance check directly into my IRA for 2014.

I've also switched a lot of our spending from the CC to the debit card, which seems to have slowed spending and makes it so I know what we've got and don't have any surprise giant CC bills on payday.

That's pretty much it! Don't forget to track how much we're spending, harvesting and saving by having a food garden this year. The page in on the sidebar.

And for those of you who love garden stuff, I built potato towers this week and planted. Here are some pics!



The perennial 'walking' onions also survived our terrible winter.