Let’s see, when last I wrote, it was late September. At that point I owed $161,840 on my mortgage and was discussing the heart-tugging advantages of paying it down vs. the cold reality of earning better via investments (I use Lending Tree for the most part to invest these days). I’m proud to say now that my current mortgage is $148,078, a reduction of $13,762 in less than 5 months.
There is a disclaimer in here, though. I’ve been having my bathroom renovated and this is the first big renovation on my home that has killed me financially. Normally I let my contractor just do it and am quite happy. But this has sucked so much more money than I thought it would! So in the last couple of months I’ve pulled back from paying extra on the mortgage and just tried to stay afloat.
So here’s where I am. I’m still adding money to my younger son’s 529. Older son’s 529 (college) is pretty healthy because of an insurance payout from when he was hit by a truck last April. I invest about $300 a month via Lending Club. My adjusted return is right above 14% these days. Love that.
I am trying to replenish my savings account so I have about 3 months of savings. I err on the lower side of that because I have stocks that are liquid if I needed them in a pinch and lines of credit of about $50,000 waiting if needed.
This year may prove to be interesting. I own part of a restaurant. Some of you may remember that my late husband was an executive chef and we were within 5 days of our grand opening when he died. I lost well over $100,000 because of the restaurant, but that’s behind me. Looks like the current owners may be selling (it’s in escrow). If so, I may get a check for $85,000 this year. Depending upon the tax hit, I will have some portion of that. (Still waiting for my tax person to get back to me with any implications.)
So what’s the plan? I could take the easy way out and just dump it towards my mortgage. But with my mortgage rate and the fact that I’ve paid down so much of the interest rate, I’m exploring other options. I must replenish my savings account. I also am going to have my contractor do hard estimates on the remaining big jobs left on the house – installing hardwood floors and fencing (I already have most of the supplies sitting here) and repairing the stucco on the house and repainting it. I will set aside money for those. Then with him, I would like to be at the point where I’m spending only up to $500 a month on maintenance and small jobs. Some of those things I can do myself, but I’d rather pay for them and cut my budget in other areas.
I also am going to set aside a bit of money for some elective surgery in about a year. Then honestly, I think I’m going to up my Lending Club investments.
Monthly, because of home savings, I’ll then be able to throw an extra of about $1000-$1500 per month towards the mortgage principal. I love the idea of my home being paid off before son #1 starts college. (Note – I live in a college town and the plan is that the boys will live here while attending college, I want them to graduate debt free.)
I continue to make some extra money on the side by boarding dogs via Rover.com and Dogvacay.com. I may be renting one of my rooms to a college student next school year.
So, overall things look good (particularly if the restaurant sells). I still read every message that goes through this group to keep being inspired by the journey everyone is taking.