Monthly Archives: February 2011

Mortgage Payoff Progress For February With Chart

In February of 2010 my wife and I purchased our very first home.  We have a conventional 15-year mortgage and our plan is to pay it off in less than 10 years.  Our stretch goal is to pay it off in less than 7.

As of February 28, 2011, we have made 12 regular mortgage payments – and several additional principal-only payments.

When I posted last month’s update, we had paid off 4.95% of our mortgage debt.

As of or most recent payment, we have now paid off 5.72% of our mortgage debt.

Here is our most recent chart –

The chart below shows two percentages.  The blue percentage is how much I still owe – the balance.  The red percentage is how much I have reduced – the paid.

This chart does not represent how much of my house I actually own – it simply reflects how much of our mortgage balance we have paid.  We actually “own” much more than 5% of the house, based on appraised value and initial down payment.

As of today, we have made 12 regular payments and have lived in the house for just over a year.  We now have right at 9 years to pay off our mortgage and reach our paid-in-10-years-or-less goal.

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How We Found Our House

Three years ago, right before the birth of our third child, my wife and I started looking for a new house.  After two years of saving, searching, and praying, last February, we purchased our new house.  We love the house – and couldn’t be happier with out decision.

Before we ever started looking, we made a list of what we wanted in the new house.  We have three kids, two girls and a boy, so we knew that we wanted a house with four bedrooms.  We also wanted at least two bathrooms, a two-car garage, and a nice yard.  We both wanted a newer home – and one located in a nice neighborhood.

For the first year or so, knowing that we needed to spend some time saving up for a decent down-payment, we spent our time driving through the neighborhoods that we liked, checking various real estate sites for prices.  We found several homes that we liked, but as I said, we were saving up for our down-payment, and were not quite ready to buy.

In mid-2009, we started to search in earnest.  At first, we concentrated our search in just one or two particular neighborhoods.  On three or four occasions, we found houses that looked (from the outside) to be right for us – but upon viewing, they just didn’t fit.  We kept looking.

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My First Raised Bed Garden – The Build

Over the past few weeks I have been gathering supplies in preparation for building my first raised bed garden.  The weather has been unusually cold this winter, so I was very pleased when I woke up this morning and it was nice outside.  Time to build the raised beds!

Before I get to the pictures of the actual build – a little back story.  Several years ago I stumbled across Mel Bartholomew’s awesome book Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work and have always wanted to give square foot gardening a shot.  Recently, I discovered Emily’s site – My Square Foot Garden – and I knew that the time had finally come.  I needed to stop procrastinating – and start planting.

Here are my first two raised beds –

Both beds are made from 2 x 8 x 4 boards, screwed together to make a box.  I also added some  braces across the bottom of both boxes, for a little extra support.

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How To Stock A Pantry

With grocery prices on the rise and the recent spate of bad weather, I have been busy stocking our pantry with nonperishable foods and household items.  Here’s how I stock out pantry and ensure that goods are in-date and readily accessible.

Find a location for pantry items -

Technically, a pantry is a small storeroom for foods, but you can use a large kitchen cabinet, a couple of shelves in the laundry room, or even a hallway closet.  The goal is to find a place where you can store items so that they are accessible, easy to reach, and easy to sort.  If you have a basement or finished attic, you might consider turning a space in one of those rooms into a pantry.

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