DIY Projects – Fixing Stuff Around The House

Over the past several weeks, I’ve spent my evenings and weekends working on various projects around the house:

I replaced our dishwasher.  Our house is ten years old.  We have lived in it for five of those years.  Several months ago, our dishwasher stopped working properly.  I repaired it twice – changing out its pump and replacing the drain hose – but two weeks ago – it just died.  So, we purchased a newer, more energy efficient dishwasher.  We love the new one!  It’s much quieter and does a MUCH better job of washing the dishes.  This was a bit of a budget hit – thank goodness for the emergency fund!

While we are on the subject of appliances – I removed and replaced the heating element in our clothes dryer.  Over the past few years, we have had trouble with our dryer.  I’ve replaced the dryer belt – twice – and the pulley.  Last week, it stopped getting warm – and when I opened it up – the heating element was broken.  The heater duct assembly for the dryer was relatively inexpensive and the actual repair only took a few minutes.  Hopefully, the new element – and the dryer – will last for years.

tool-384740_1280I built a ramp for the kids’ playhouse.  Our kids are getting older – and rarely use the playhouse as a “play” house.  Instead, we use it as a place to store their bikes and other toys.  Adding the ramp makes it easier to get the stuff in and out of the playhouse.  For about $30, the ramp was more than worth it.

I changed out the locks and doorknobs for our exterior doors.  It was time.  The deadbolts were difficult to activate – even after lubrication – and the handles were scuffed.  Changing out the locks was a relatively simple process – but I DID have some trouble removing the old deadbolts.  They required a small hex wrench – in a size that I just didn’t have.  After a quick internet video search, I managed to find a way to remove the locks, without the hex wrench.

I pressure-washed the siding on our house.  Two sides of our house are in the shade, even during winter.  If I don’t routinely spray down the siding, mildew (mold?) will form on the vinyl siding.  So, when the first semi-warm day hit last week, I jumped at the chance to pressure-wash.  Once I have all of the necessary pressure-washing stuff dragged out – pressure washer, hose, pump sprayer, bleach, long-handled brush, safety glasses, etc. – I actually enjoy pressure washing.  While I was at it, I cleaned out the garage and pressure washed its walls and concrete.

By doing these projects myself, I hope I saved some money, and I know I’ve felt a sense of accomplishment.  As we move into spring, I’ll turn my focus to our lawn, our small garden, and other outside projects.  Blessings!

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5 Years In Our New House – Mortgage Update!

I was reminded by my son: As of today, we have lived in our new house for 5 years. So, it’s time for a mortgage update – with handy-dandy chart!

When my wife and I financed the purchase of our new home five years ago, our goal was to pay it off in less than ten years. We have a fixed, conventional, fifteen-year mortgage.

I use a simple pie-chart to track our progress. Having a visualization keeps us motivated and excited about the progress we are making.

We purchased our home in February of 2010. Hopefully, we’ll pay it off in less than 10 years – which is our stretch goal – but as of right now, we have shaved 7 months off of the length of the loan. Our progress was slowed, just a bit, when I changed jobs, but we are back – on-track – making principal-only payments on a regular basis.

Here’s a chart with details for our current progress –

215

The percentages above represent the amount of our mortgage we have paid – 28.28% – and the amount we still owe – 71.72%.

Click here to check out our method for reducing our debt and paying off our mortgage.

Each month, we make our scheduled mortgage payment, plus an additional principal-only payment. (Some months, we make more than one principal-only payment.)

Keep in mind, this chart doesn’t represent our equity – it represents that amount we owe on our mortgage.

Here’s more on how we found the perfect house for our family and decided how much to pay for our new home.

We have reduced the length of our 15-year mortgage by 7 months. Each month, the amount of money going towards principal increases, and the amount for interest decreases. Things should really begin to progress, as we ramp up our efforts in 2015. Blessings.

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Top 10 Ways To Save Money

Looking for some ways to save money?  How about ten ways?  Cool.  Check out my Top 10 Ways To Save Money – Click the links to read individual articles about each tip!

Number 10 – Cook and Eat at Home

Eating out is expensive, especially for families.  Shop wisely for groceries and eat at home.

Number 9 – Give Up Hobbies

This can be a tough one, but giving up hobbies (at least temporarily) can save some serious cash.

Number 8 – Purchase Fresh Produce

Shopping locally, in-season, can result in some real savings.

Number 7 – Get Fit

This one is tough for me.  I work hard to lose weight – and maintain my weight loss – because I know being healthy helps my waist line and my wallet!

Number 6 – Work Together

If you have a family, it’s extremely important to cooperate when it comes time to create – and implement – a budget.  Working together benefits the entire family and each individual in it.

Number 5 – Follow Through

You have the plan, but you have to actually follow it.  Take the next step.  Today!

Number 4 – Shop Smart

Use available technology and old fashioned sources to become a smarter consumer.

Number 3 – Avoid Paying Credit Card Interest

If you have credit card debt, pay it off.  If you have a credit card, pay it off each month.

Number 2 – Live on a Budget

Give every penny a purpose and every dollar a destination.

Number 1 – Understand What You Are Doing Before You Do It

This is my number one money saving tip- Before you do anything with your money, understand what you are doing.

These are my Top Ten Ways to Save Money.  Please leave a comment with your ideas for saving money – and use the buttons below to share this post.  Blessings!

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Paying Off Our Mortgage Early – Update With Chart

My wife and I financed the purchase of our new home five years ago.  We are working hard and paying off our mortgage early.  Our goal is to own our home in less than ten years.

I use a simple pie-chart to track our progress. Having a visualization keeps us motivated and excited about the progress we are making.

We purchased our home in February of 2010. Hopefully, we’ll pay it off in less than 10 years – which is our stretch goal – but as of right now, we have shaved 6 months off of the length of the loan. Our progress was slowed, just a bit, when I changed jobs, but we are back – on-track – making principal-only payments on a regular basis.

Here’s a chart with details for our current progress –

1214mortgage

The percentages above represent the amount of our mortgage we have paid – 27.76% – and the amount we still owe – 72.24%.

Click here to check out our method for reducing our debt and paying off our mortgage.

Each month, we make our scheduled mortgage payment, plus an additional principal-only payment. (Some months, we make more than one principal-only payment.)

Keep in mind, this chart doesn’t represent our equity – it represents that amount we owe on our mortgage.

Here’s more on how we found the perfect house for our family and decided how much to pay for our new home.

We have reduced the length of our 15-year mortgage by 6 months.  Blessings.

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