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  • FIRST POST
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 17th Jan 19, 3:38 PM
    • 77Posts
    • 181Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Cottage Countdown
    • #1
    • 17th Jan 19, 3:38 PM
    Cottage Countdown 17th Jan 19 at 3:38 PM
    I stumbled upon this forum a while back and was so excited to read about other people's mortgage-free journeys. Strangely enough, I haven't been able to find a similar forum based in the US no matter how much I've searched. I'm not sure if that's a sad commentary on the state of affairs of my fellow Americans, but I digress. So, I am a 41-year-old American. It's just me and my OH, my best half, living in the Southeast United States in a very low cost of living area. We bought our last house three years ago and have decided since it was so cheap, to just knock it out so we can be mortgage free by the time I'm 45 and he's 60. We have no debt. Our only child moved out last year so we are also new to the whole empty nest thing and fixing up our adorable little cottage/bungalow as we go along. It's the perfect size for us, 3 beds, 2 baths, but no garage which we may build something in the future to appease OH. Not too big, not too small. It's perfectly functional. Things that need taking care of are typical in a home built in 1945. Roof will need replacing soon. HVAC was just replaced. Carpets in the 3 bedrooms need taking up and just cosmetic paint. Kitchen could do with a redo of cabinets and countertops, but works for now. We bought it for 67K and received a mortgage of 64,655.00. I know we do things slightly differently here in the US. Our 30-year mortgage is fixed at 4.25% so with property taxes and insurance, the monthly payment comes in right under $500.00. That's absolutely crazy cheap for almost anywhere. We got really aggressive last year and paid $10,000 off principal and our balance now stands at $50,470.00. I hope to break into the 49K bracket by early February. I OP every single Thursday. I've taken inspiration from several diaries that have recommended paying to get the numbers to 0.00 so if I don't have a full P&I payment, I would make an OP of $70.00 and then my balance would be $50,400.00, etc. I really like doing it that way and marking my progress on my amortization schedule. Right now, we are 7.5 years ahead of where we're supposed to be on payment 127 out of 360 when we should be on payment 38. I'm very proud of our momentum and hope we can keep it up.
    So with that said, I made an overpayment today of $79.00. Looking forward to knocking out this mortgage in the next 4 to 5 years. Thanks for reading.
Page 2
    • ShineALight
    • By ShineALight 9th Mar 19, 8:04 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    ShineALight
    Hi Leigh, thanks for taking the time to post on my diary, thought I'd come over and say hi on yours too.

    Have subscribed and will be cheering you on! Our plan will take us to age 45 in four years and we'll be trying to pay our mortgage down by a similar amount.

    I'm a big fan of the way you're numbering the payments, although we're at 5/300 and it feels like we're looking up from the bottom of a mountain...
    • gallygirl
    • By gallygirl 9th Mar 19, 8:30 AM
    • 16,777 Posts
    • 110,543 Thanks
    gallygirl
    You're going great, a like how you are using the amortization chart to monitor progress. There's always a milestone lurking, whether it's capital exceeding interest, balance dropping below x, daily interest dropping below y etc.



    I completely understand why you're prioritising the mortgage over retirement plans, a paid for roof over your head is so important!
    A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort
    Mortgage Balance = 0
    "Do what others won't early in life so you can do what others can't later in life"
    • Kat78MFW
    • By Kat78MFW 9th Mar 19, 9:15 AM
    • 87 Posts
    • 131 Thanks
    Kat78MFW
    Hi Leigh - I found your diary and it answered my question about your retirement plan v mortgage payments. Seems you have the same mindset as I do about that. You are making such fab progress, well done.
    Current mortgage (March 19) 54 943 (5yr fix since Jan 18 Interest Only 1.99%)
    Current monthly payment 799 (109 interest and 690 repayment)
    Current Mortgage Free Date March 2025
    Opening mortgage balance June 2002 - 114 000
    Re-mortgage May 2007 118 000 (borrowed extra 14 000 to pay loan back to BIL+SIL)
    Agreed repayment date May 2027
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 9th Mar 19, 12:14 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    We are self-employed and have an employer provided retirement set up for us. Our company pays 25% of our income into the account. It sounds impressive but since we pay ourselves modestly in order to keep investing in the business, its not a huge amount. However, I am able to max it out these days and as long as one or both of us still have our faculties, we will always have our business to provide some income even during retirement. So at least we have that and then of course being mortgage free is the icing on the cake. Can't wait.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 14th Mar 19, 5:44 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    OP of 81.40 today. Balance is now 49,200.00. We are now 8 years ahead of where we should be. It looks good for us to be at 49,000.00 by the end of March.

    I was right that this month is shaping up to be expensive. Parents anniversary present is a patio set for 425.00. We want to take our little travel trailer out for the first trip of the year. 4 nights are reasonable to be right on the river at only 42.00 a night. But of course the expenses come with exploring the area. We are going to the pinball museum nonnegotiable and thats 15.00 each but you can play for 1.5 hours all the pinball machines. Heaven! After that I hope to do cheap and free things like just checking out downtown or hanging out in the campground. Food is not an issue as I have to make my own food anyway and the little travel trailer has a kitchenette.

    Forgot we will need a bike rack though Definitely an expensive month but I hope to have everything paid with April's 3 check month.

    This is what it looks like to OP the mortgage, buy presents for special occasions and travel/live life while we can. Its expensive but worth it.
    • ShineALight
    • By ShineALight 15th Mar 19, 9:32 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    ShineALight
    Congrats on the OP!
    Your camping trip sounds wonderful. Am absolutely with you on the pinball museum, we've got a retro games arcade nearby, 30 entry for the four of us and you can Pac-man, Mario or Donkey Kong to your heart's content. Our two devoted little gamers love it!
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 15th Mar 19, 11:09 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Ooh that arcade sounds like heaven. Id definitely be playing Pacman and Donkey Kong until my savings account was empty, lol. We are looking forward to the trip. Itll be a great way to start the traveling season. Until then, I guess we'll keep working so we can afford to go
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 21st Mar 19, 1:58 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    It's the last payday of the month so off the mortgage payment went with an additional $110.00 as an OP. My goal was to be at $49,000 by the end of this month, and we beat that with the balance being $48,946.19 and still one week left in this month to overpay. Needless to say, I'm stoked!

    Getting ready for vacation. Bike rack came and is already paid off. Parents' present hasn't come yet, but I should be able to pay that off in the next two weeks so not too bad there. I have a little spending cash for the trip but will mainly use the cc for ease of use and points. I have now started adding back to the other savings accounts now that the big debt has been paid off. House fund received $100.00 today. Long-term savings received $32.50 and emergency savings received $200.00. We also received a reimbursement check from husband's health care plan for over $1000.00, but if any of you know how screwy healthcare is here in the States, we put it in savings and are forgetting about it in case sometime this year, they want it back. We are not even counting on it.

    When we get back, I'll need to pay the business taxes, $3900.00, but should be able to pay that from the business account without having to dip too much into the business savings. Then there needs to be a work van repair and a contribution to our retirement accounts for this month. Lord, money is flying all over the place this month both professionally and personally, but I'm sure once we get back, it'll all be settled.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 21st Mar 19, 3:07 PM
    • 433 Posts
    • 2,352 Thanks
    squirrelgirl
    You're doing brilliantly!! Hope you have a fabulous holiday!!
    12 Month Challenge:[COLOR=]"Red"Mortgage - 4920/16000 ; MFW 2019 No. 58 GC 587.26/3600 Jan 270/Feb 50/ March 87.26/April 180
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 2nd Apr 19, 2:06 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Going back to work after vacation is the pits. But it was fantastic even though our departure kept getting interrupted. We had to stop to adjust the sway bar of our travel trailer, then a back brake started burning and we had to unhitch and take off the tire in a parking lot to adjust it, but it was all worth it. The town was beautiful. The pinball museum is our new Mecca now. We had a blast. Did some sightseeing, bike riding, and window shopping downtown. And the best part is, it didn't cost an arm and a leg.
    Campsite for 4 nights - $200.00.
    Pinball museum - $30.00
    Arboretum - $14.00
    Dining out - $25.00
    Gasoline - $141.00 but that was paid by the gas card of our company so not too bad.

    Managed to pay $45.65 to the mortgage while we were gone so balance is now $48,900.00. Now to get back in the swing of things. Came back to the chaos of an office when you leave for a week. Had to pay for business taxes $3000.00 and still need to pay $800.00 more to state. Then deal with payroll, retirement contributions, and more repair into the work van but I suppose it's the cost of doing business. Besides, it allows us the flexibility of schedule to go away when we want even if we have to work a little on the road, so I guess I can't complain too much. Can't wait to plan our next trip already.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 5th Apr 19, 2:41 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    A nice OP day today. 318.60 went to the mortgage. New balance is 48, 581.40. We are on payment 140/360 and are 8 years and 3 months ahead of where we should be. Without OPs, we would be on payment 41 and owe 60,833.00. Hubby was looking over my shoulder as I marked the amortization schedule and he was impressed so I'm in a good motivated mood today.

    In other news, I paid off my parents present of patio furniture 425.00 and now just have to put it together and deliver it to them 100 miles away, no pressure lol. I would like to surprise them so I might see how to coax them out of the house so I can get in there and set it up. Havent worked out those details yet.

    Everything else is just boring bills, but at least I was able to add 100.00 to the house fund and 80.00 to the savings so making progress on those pots for future projects. Hope everyone has a nice weekend.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 13th Apr 19, 4:14 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    A quick OP of 81.40 and we are at $48,500.00 payment 141/360. Business taxes are paid. Work van is almost done and paid. Now just have to make it through payroll next week and retirement contributions.

    On the fun side, the weather has been so nice so I have been working more and more in my gardens and my flowers are in full bloom and attracting butterflies. DH is putting some beams in our master bedroom and DS came for a visit which was nice. We went to lunch and had a nice time. Now to kick back and relax this weekend.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 18th Apr 19, 4:37 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Pleased with my OP today. 318.60 to the mortgage. Balance is now 48,181.40 payment 143/360. We are 8 years and 6 months ahead of where we should be and inching closer and cloaer to payment 165 which is when the principal starts being more than interest. And right on time too as I just received a letter from the bank saying I will have an escrow shortage and need to pay that in full. And even with paying it in full, my mortgage payment is going up 12.00 . I know its not a lot, but its so annoying when I' m focusing on paying off the house early.

    I am appreciating the 3 paycheck month. Emergency fund, house fund, and long term savings were all added to. Paid off my trip today, but I have done some recent spring clothes shopping. Work van repair came under budget which was nice. And retirement contributions for last month were made today, a little late but better than never. Possible new clients are around the corner so looking forward to summer and seeing what this year holds.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 30th Apr 19, 1:20 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Adding up this month's OPs and it comes to a nice $910.00. I'm very happy with that. When I send off the mortgage payment plus 110.00 tomorrow, we will have broken into the 47K range. Super stoked. Everything else went well. My husband delivered the patio furniture I bought for my parents anniversary and set it up while they were out. it was a nice surprise for them, and they absolutely love it. I've paid off my spring shopping. Yesterday, we received a quote for a swale in our backyard due to water intrusion in the crawlspace. It will be anywhere from 2500-3500.00 The joys of homeownership. But it has to be done, so I will look into a line of credit, which will be cheaper than putting it on the credit card. I would rather see how fast I can pay it off than touch our long-term savings. I know this pay period will be tight as the first of the month always is with mortgage and healthcare set to go out the same day. But I still have budgeted for savings and our weekend spending, so it shouldn't be too bad. In two to three weeks, we also want to install a picket fence in the front. Hopefully, that won't be more than $300.00 total as it's just the front run and we will design/add to it a run at a time.
    We applied to be service and repair for the public housing authority, and they accepted us, so now we are just waiting on our first call. It will be so nice to have the majority of our business being local business where OH can dip out and still be home by lunch and for the rest of the day. We are working hard to put our semi-retirement plans into action where OH does the work he wants to do more than what he would have to do. It's exciting times.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 1st May 19, 1:48 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Mortgage payment sent. We are now officially in the 47K bracket with a balance of $47,843.00. Amortization schedule shows us at payment 145 dated 12/27. We should be only at payment 42 with a balance still over $60,000, so we are super motivated being this far ahead. Depending how this month goes, it would be nice to be at $47,000 even when the month ends, but I won't be too disappointed if we're not. I will have to try to budget the groceries for the next two weeks as best I can for any extra wiggle room but even if it's tighter, the house fund received an extra $100.00, the emergency fund $16.00 and the big savings $34.00 plus almost $20.00 in interest on the 11th. All in all I hope to have at least $50.00 left in checking before we get paid again on the 16th.
    We are waiting on a check from a client so I can make April's contribution to our retirement accounts and pay back our investment/flip fund. We hope to buy some investment property through our business soon, restore it and sell it. That's been a dream for a long time, and it looks like it's finally on the horizon.
    I will still need to apply for the line of credit for some house projects. I do love owning rather than renting, but sometimes it just drives you crazy on the stuff you have to spend for things that no one ever sees or notices. I know so many of you here can commiserate. Let's say $3000.00 for the swale, possibly $6000.00 to remove two trees, $2500-$4000 for a new roof, around $700 to reinsulate the attic to help with the hot southeast summers here in the US. Whenever they talk of home improvement on the commercials, it's always nice landscaping, a nice deck, furniture, light fixtures, cute stuff that everyone can see. The reality is so different, lol. Oh well, I don't have to do everything at once so we will just concentrate on one project at a time. And after the swale is done, I'll treat us to some nice outdoor furniture
    • jodles16
    • By jodles16 2nd May 19, 10:17 AM
    • 1,439 Posts
    • 4,357 Thanks
    jodles16
    Hooray to getting into the 47's! Always exciting!


    You are spot on, it is so frustrating all the costs that add up when you own a home, and not even on the good, fun stuff that you can see and use!


    Jodles
    MFW2017 #29 1200.24/4524
    MFiT #66
    Overall aim 10,124.20/21,743 (156,000)
    2016- Jan-177,472, Apr-173,195.04, July- 171,417.47 Oct- 169,366
    2017- Jan- 167,347.80 Apr- July- Oct-

    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 2nd May 19, 12:26 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Hooray to getting into the 47's! Always exciting!


    You are spot on, it is so frustrating all the costs that add up when you own a home, and not even on the good, fun stuff that you can see and use!


    Jodles
    Originally posted by jodles16
    So true Jodles. I'm now looking at pictures on how to decorate a swale/dry creek bed with attractive landscaping. Because my God, if I'm going to pay all this money for this kind of stuff, it's going to look cute
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 5th May 19, 10:03 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Blasted dishwasher broke. Hubby went to get one and they delivered it next day. Its beautiful and super quiet but its 500.00 we were not expecting to pay. Its fine though. OH suggested we do the French drain in the back instead of the swale and that way we are still spending the amount we would have anyway. May is already shaping up to be a spendy month. I will see where I can pinch pennies so we dont feel it too badly.
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 9th May 19, 12:32 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    Small OP today of $41.75 brings the balance to $47,800.00. I have so many expenses coming up this month that I have to be content with this. We got a second quote from a landscaper regarding the French drains/swale for the backyard. He should give us a price this week, but I'm not expecting it to be lower than what we received from the first guy. We did get approved for the line of credit though for home improvements, so that will be nice to just write a check for the full amount and then hopefully pay that back as quickly as possible. This allows me not to touch my savings and keep letting that grow. It's purely psychological I know, but I absolutely hate draining my savings and then having to slog to pay it back. I'd much rather cash flow the repairs/house projects and let my savings keep growing. Next week when we get paid, I have to pay $275.00 into the mortgage escrow account because of a shortage Not happy about that at all. Mortgage payment will now rise to $502.00 so future first of the month OPs will be $98.00 instead of the $110.00 I had been making all this time. Annoying, but the good news is we are so close to the point where the principal will start outpacing the interest, so I can't wait to see how that affects our momentum.
    I have been procrastinating getting an oil change on my vehicle for 3 months and hubby's getting annoyed, so I must get that done next week as well. Although since he's the one so annoyed about it, he can take the truck to get it done for me
    I found a great recipe roundup for some Whole 30 meals, so I will try some of them in next week's dinner rotations. So far what's sounding good is avocado lime tuna salad, bbq chicken casserole and egg roll in a bowl with homemade sweet and sour. Should be interesting.
    Nothing but rain to look forward to this weekend so will need to find a home project for my husband before he drives me batty. He gets stir crazy very easily. I can exist between my house and garden very nicely and do everything to survive online. He can't so I better find something for him to do quickly
    • LeighofMar
    • By LeighofMar 17th May 19, 9:34 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    LeighofMar
    OP of 318.60 today and paid the 272.69 for the escrow shortage. This OP put us 3 payments ahead and we are now on payment 148/360. Balance is 47,481.60 and 8 years and 6 months ahead.
    OH took the truck to our mechanic for the oil change and brakes. While he was there, the mechanic showed him a 2006 honda pilot that he changed the motor out and asked him if we wanted it. Heck yeah, so we gave him the truck plus 2K and we took the car. Its wonderful, fully loaded and we are just thrilled that it has a new engine. Won't have to worry about buying a car now in the future and can continue being debt free. We havent paid a car note in 10 years and want to continue that
    Will pay off the dishwasher in June and then the registration for the car was 375. Ouch. But its all officially ours and I will work on paying that.
    Still havent gotten the 2nd quote for the swale so maybe we will just go with the first guy. The weather will allow us to do some projects outside. Either we will expand the deck a little bit or pressure wash the outside and pretty up the facade. The front yard desperately needs a shade tree because it gets so hot in the front so maybe we will find a teenage tree that will work and grow quickly. They are usually pretty cheap, maybe 30.00. We will see.
    Enjoy the weekend.
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