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 –

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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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A Super Simple System To Organize Bills And Paperwork

I have been using this super simple system to organize bills and paperwork for years.  I like this system because it only takes me a few minutes to either file or find bills or paperwork.

I can file an entire month’s worth of bills and paperwork in less than five minutes.  Like I said, this system is super simple.

Some our bills arrive via email, but a number of them still arrive via regular mail.  Here’s how we manage our bills, paperwork, and receipts –

The Setup -

I use one letter tray and one expanding file box. That’s it.

I’ll create a label for each tab in the expanding file box, one tab for each month, January through December.

The System

When our mail arrives, I open each piece.  Bills to be paid are placed on the top shelf of the letter tray and paperwork to be filed is placed on the bottom shelf.

At the end of each week, I’ll pay the bills from the top shelf, using online bill pay or the occasional paper check.

I’ll then move those bills to the bottom shelf.

At the end of each month, I’ll take all of the bills and paperwork from the bottom shelf, and place them in the expanding file box, under that month’s tab.

I do not take the time to alphabetize or sort the bills.  All of the paperwork for January goes into the tab labeled January.  This takes seconds.

If I ever need to take a find a bill from January, I’ll simply open the expanding file box, find the January tab, remove the bills from January, and find what I need.  As long as I know the month associated with a particular bill, finding it takes just a few minutes.

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For tax-related receipts, I keep those paper-clipped together on the middle shelf of the letter tray.  At the end of each month, I place them in the expanding file folder, in one of the unused tabs at the back of the box.  This keeps tax-related receipts separate from day-to-day bills and paperwork.

Withe a 19-tab file box, there a extra tabs available for sorting and storing specific documents, bills, or other papers.  I usually reserve the back two tabs for paycheck stubs and information about our insurance policies.

The Storage

At the end of each year, I place the entire expanding file folder on the top shelf our our closet.  The entire system takes up less space than a large shoe box.  Each January, I purchase a new expanding file folder and start over.

This system works for me.  I should note, we have simplified our finances and automated much of our bill paying.  Rather than creating an elaborate filing system, I use this system to quickly file, find, and store our bills, receipts, and paperwork.  Extremely important documents (wills, cart titles, etc.) are kept in a fire-proof safe.

Please share your thoughts in the comments – and check out No Credit Needed via Facebook and Twitter.  Blessings.

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Organizing Our House For The New Year

Taking a lesson from the list-making Mrs. NCN, here’s what I want to get done, this week, before the kids head back to school –

Organize Large Storage Spaces

We have four large storage spaces – our shed, our attic, our garage, and our laundry room.  The shed serves as a mini-workshop and storage space.  We like to keep our garage nice and neat, with a small area dedicated for storing kids’ bikes and outdoor toys.  The attic has room for storing items like our Christmas tree.  The laundry room has a large, tw0-door storage cabinet, for keeping items like detergent, paper towels, napkins, etc.  We’ll organize these spaces first, in an effort to free-up storage space and remove clutter.

Organize Living Spaces: Room-by-room

Let’s see – we have our den, our kitchen, four bedrooms (with closets), two bathrooms (plus a half-bath), and a linen closet.  Our goal is to go room-by-room, cleaning and organizing.  This should be a relatively painless process.  My wife is an extremely organized person (and I try to be), so our house is always neat and tidy.  We just need to free-up some space for the things the kiddos received for Christmas, and get rid of anything we haven’t used in a while.

Clean Outside

I need to – pressure wash the house, check the gutters, clean out the flower beds, and inspect the lawn mower’s fluids and battery.

Clean Inside

I need to – replace air conditioner and water filters, spot-clean the carpets, touch-up the paint in a few areas, and hang two pictures.

Backup Our Devices

We have cellphones, computers, laptops, and touchscreens – and they all have a variety of media stored on them.  I need to go through each one, backing up data, installing updates, and removing unused apps.

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We’ll work in the evenings, taking our time to sort through the things we need an the things we want to sell or give away.  Our goal is to set a foundation for an organized New Year.

What about you?  Are you getting ready for the New Year?  If so, please share your thoughts in the comments – and you can always connect via Facebook and Twitter.  Blessings.

Click here to learn how to keep up to date with No Credit Needed and to connect via social media.

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Getting Ready For A New Financial Year

I’ve taken the time today to do a little financial housekeeping, getting ready for a new financial year.

I reconciled the balances in our various checking and savings accounts.  All checks written have cleared and transactions have posted.  If you are a financial nerd like me, you know that’s awesome.

I then updated our inventory of financial accounts - taking the time to update account passwords and website information.  The inventory is designed for my wife, so that she would have a snapshot of our finances, should something happen to me.

After that, I took a peek at our retirement and college savings accounts.  I really need to do some more research before I touch our current investments, but I’m pretty happy with the progress we are making.

Our final mortgage payment for this year posted last week.  I made a note of just how much interest we paid last year.  We’ll receive a year-end statement in a few weeks, but I was curious.  I’ll stat working on our taxes in a few weeks and having this information on hand will be, well, handy.  I can’t wait until we have paid off our mortgage – in full!

Our insurance premiums are due twice a year.  Our next payment is due in June and I can now add that payment, divided by six, to our monthly budget.  I also did a quick review of our insurance coverage and I’m satisfied we are in good shape.

I have several apps on my phone that I use to manage our finances.  I took a few minutes and made sure that these apps were up-to-date and functioning properly.  I think I’ll write a post this week about the apps that help us save money!  Stay tuned.

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Finally, I reviewed our credit reports – checking for any errors.

It feels good to be organized.  With these simple tasks behind me, I think I’m ready for next year.

What about you?  Are you getting ready for a new financial year?  Leave a comment below and share.  Blessings.

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