Monthly Archives: September 2011

Refinancing Our Mortgage

In an effort to both save money on interest and lower our monthly mortgage payment, we have decided to consider refinancing our mortgage.  I have spoken with several lenders and it looks like we can refinance our loan – and reduce or interest rate by more than a full percentage point.

When we purchased our home nearly two years ago, rates were already very low (historically speaking).  We happy with our rate and figured that we would just stick with it, pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible, and be happy.  However, since that time, rates have continued to drop – and are now at the point where, even if we have to pay a little in closing costs, the savings, over the life of the loan, will be rather substantial.

We are still crunching the numbers, trying to decide if we want to go back to a 15-year mortgage – or move to an even lower rate, on a 10-year.  More than likely, we’ll go with the 15-year.  With the rate reduction, even if we were to take the entire 15-year period to pay the loan off, we would still pay less interest than we would if we stayed with our current mortgage, and paid it off in 13 years.

Combining the lower rate with our aggressive payments, we should be able to hit our goal of owning our house – in less than 10 years.

I’ll let you guys know how the process is going, when and if we decide to move forward.  Right now, all sings point to “yes”.

 

Continue Reading

Mortgage Payoff Progress For August 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 September 16, 2011, we have made 18 regular mortgage payments – and several, additional, principal-only payments.

When I posted February’s update, we had paid off 5.72% of our mortgage debt.

When I posted March’s update, we had paid off 6.26% of our mortgage debt.

When I posted April’s update, we had paid off 6.90% of our mortgage debt.

When I posted May’s update, we had paid off 7.35% of our mortgage debt.

When I posted June’s update, we have paid off 7.79% of our mortgage debt.

As of the end of August, we have paid off 8.67% of our mortgage debt.

Here is our most recent chart -

The chart 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.

Each month, a little bit more of our regular monthly payment goes towards principal and a little less goes towards interest.  Right now, the split is roughly 55/45.  Seeing 45% of our payment going towards interest really stinks.  That’s why we are so committed to sending extra, principal-only micro-payments.  Our mortgage is reduced, dollar-for-dollar.

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 8.67% of the house, based on appraised value and initial down payment.

We have made 18 regular payments and have lived in the house for a year-and-a-half.  Our contractual remaining term is 13 years and 6 months, but our actual remaining term is 13 years and 3 months.

Now that I have a new job, we’re still ironing out the wrinkles in our monthly budget.  We’re unsure as to the exact amount we’ll have, each month, for debt reduction.  We know that we can’t be as aggressive this year as we were last year, but we are still focused on our goal.  Our steps may be smaller, but we’re still headed in the same direction.

Continue Reading

Buy 1 Photo Book And Get 2 Free From Snapfish

Between now and September 19, 2011 Snapfish is offering a Buy 1, Get 2 deal on  Photo Books with Code:LOVE8X11 Exp: 9/19.

Click the link and enter the code at checkout for the deal.

We have three kids – and two sets of grandparents. Each year, we design a photo book (or two, or three) – as Christmas or anniversary gifts for the grandparents.  This year, for the price of one book, I can can get three!

I am always looking for ways to decrease spending, while still being able to create awesome, memorable gifts.  Our kids love creating the books and our parents love them, too.

You can order 3 copies of the same book, or make 3 original books, as long as they have the same value. I’m going to make 3 copies – pictures of our kids – one for my parents, one for my wife’s parents  and one for my wife herself. (Hopefully, she’ll skip this post…)


Buy 1 Photo Book, Get 2 FREE - Exp: 9/19

From time to time, I’ll bring deals and offers to your attention. Whenever I do, rest assured, these are products or services that I actually use. Rock on.

Continue Reading

Opened An Online Savings Account For Our Child

My son has the awesome Digital Football Coin Bank.  He uses it to collect and count “spare change”.  A couple of months ago, he and his grandfather started a contest – to see who could be the first to collect $100.  My son won.  Handily.

So, building on his new found enthusiasm for saving money, I asked him if he wanted to open his own online savings account.  He’s seven – so you already know, his answer was, “YES!”

The account is super-simple to open.  All I had to do was log in to my account, click the link to open a new account, enter some basic information (my son’s name, social, etc.), and fund the new account.  In less than five minutes, he was set.

Our account is connected to our local bank for transfers.  When he needs to make a deposit into his account, he’ll simply give me cash.  I’ll then deposit it in my local checking account – and then transfer the amount to ING.

I created a simple spreadsheet to help him keep up with his cash, coins, and balance.  Explaining how “giving” me $20 didn’t mean that he was “losing” $20 took a few minutes.  I even created a little drawing, showing him, our local bank, and his bank.

Hopefully, watching the balance in his new account will encourage him to save even more.  (Our daughter was ten when we opened her savings account at a local bank.  I think having an older sister, who regularly makes deposits into her account, really served as a good example for our son.  Also, now that the online account is so easy to open, we’ll be moving my daughter’s money to a new account, too.)

Continue Reading