Focus Baby


Once upon a time we were dedicated to paying our house off early.  And then disaster of the v worst kind struck and all plans for everything were abandoned.  This is another one of those things that I knew Larry wanted for me and that is to have this house paid off.  With a normal salary it wasn't that hard to send extra money each month toward the principal balance.  But now it is a different story. 



But the other day I thought to myself why not?  Just do the best I can and see what happens.  The issue, for me at least, is the thought that I'm making the wrong decision and if I've learned anything this past year is that best laid plans.....

 


But I've made my decision and I'll do my best to let the worry go.  A little money applied consistently can make a big difference. Discipline will be required.  Signs have been placed around the house to keep me focused.  I wonder if I'll find them annoying after awhile?  Right now they feel good.  x

44 comments

  1. If anyone can do it, it's you! Can't wait to follow along for the ride! xo

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  2. It's a good decision, Janet! The less debt the better. We did that several
    years ago and it is a tremendous weight lifted. You can do it----we'll be cheering you on from the sidelines!

    Judy

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  3. Although it does feel great to pay off the house...it is even better to have passive income. Putting an extra $500 into an investment each month gives you compound growth and liquidity. You only unlock the house asset upon sale and then you pay the realtor and the attorney..
    An investment account will provide more opportunity and as you grow that have the account pay the mortgage.

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    1. Sorry, but I'm not buying this. Unless she can find an interest rate on an "investment" which exceeds the interest she is paying on her mortgage, something highly unlikely unless she plunks down a huge amount first, this is a losing proposition. Even Dave Ramsey, who is pretty conservative financially, would advise her to work on getting her mortgage down before serious investing. As to "unlocking" your mortgage asset upon sale, that is not the reason to pay off the house; rather, we do that for peace of mind, more security, and extra money each month.

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  4. I hope those cute signs don’t overwhelm you or cause you unnecessary concern...I am no financial advisor but paying down credit cards and a mortgage seem like the right thing to do.
    It’s surprising how even $100 a month on the principle can make over a few years.

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  5. I love motivational signs & have used little notes to myself often to keep focused. When my husband died 7 years ago unexpectedly, we were in retirement mode. Bought our cabin, had our big home & commercial property (1835 house & huge barn which we used for our small business) on the market. Simple plan...sell two properties & pay off mortgage with some left over. As you said, best laid plans & all that. He died just 3 weeks after we closed on the cabin...huge blow to me & everyone! I sold the house, making not one dime on it. The commercial property took 6 years to sell, sucking money every day it sat. I finally sold it last May, making no money on it either. But the mortgage was paid down to a somewhat small amount, which left me enough to pay off my cabin...at age 72. I sleep much better these days.

    Every small step you take toward your goal counts for something, so don't look at it as overwhelming. We used to ski & on hills that frightened me, I learned to ski just the few feet in front of me. The big picture was very scary. You can do this, as well as your other challenges of living alone. You will find yourself to be much stronger than you ever thought possible.

    Anita ~ the cabin on the creek
    ...all is grace!

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  6. This is a journey we all face, dealing with life on life's terms. It's always about managing my expectations and doing the next right thing...even though I may not be sure what the next right thing is! For me, I always find action is better than inaction and I can always change course if/when I change my mind. You're early days on this journey of one - good luck and keep moving. Be gentle with yourself and remember you're strong and brave.

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  7. If you can dream it, you can achieve it! It will feel so good to outright own it!

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  8. Hello Janet......I have loved your blog for years now, it has blessed my life tremendously....I also send my condolences, I prayed for you and Larry this past year and was so sad to hear of his passing, still praying for YOU. I think paying off your house is a wonderful goal...being debt free is amazing.........I too, had a major life change years ago, but it was a divorce....I did everything I could to pay off my house...when I could I paid more, every time I re-fied for a lower interest I applied the savings to my mortgage payment, I am happy to say I paid my house off this year...17 years early. You can do it...I know you, you are amazing with how you can stretch a dollar...I loved it when you used to show us how you shopped at Trader Joe's and the Dollar Store...a real inspiration. This next month I will be retiring and moving to Oregon....I plan on living very close to how you do and can't wait to go back to old blogs for shopping, recipes, etc. Please show us how you are saving, paying your mortgage down, etc. You can be (and already are) an inspiration to so many women,, whether married, single or widowed. I am so glad you are posting again...May God bless you, keep you and comfort you.

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  9. I'm impressed that you are willing to pup up with all the maintenance a house demands. Good for you. I would sell and move into a condo.

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  10. Do what you can do when you can do it - I think I probably have said that before :-) It is wonderful to be debt-free. It is also wonderful to have enough savings/investments. Sometimes it's a balancing act and we can't have both at the same time. I hope you are able to pay off your house early - I'm sure Larry wanting that for you is an extra motivator. We're all pulling for you. And please monetize your blog anyway you see fit, if that would help you.

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  11. Go for it! I live in a small bungalow with no mortgage. I can't put into words how freeing that is. Don't put too much pressure on yourself - just work toward your goal.

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  12. You've been through about the worst highs and lows that a person can endure. Do what you need to do, and be gentle on yourself. All the best to you.

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  13. I don't know how I feel about it. all I know is that we all have to live somewhere. and if that is where your heart is then it will work out. after seeing how you made a home for yourself and Larry right there within his dad's house while you took care of Dad was a TOTAL inspiration! you have the gift of giving love. and that is never wrong. xoxo

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  14. We were working on paying our house off when we recieved an insurance settlement. There were so many things we wanted to do with the money. It was $200 less than our mortgage payoff so we did it. Best decision ever! I swear i sleep better knowing my home is paid for.

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  15. If anyone can do it, it's you. I will keep good thoughts for you and your visual aids will help to keep you focused. You inspire me every time you tackle a challenge.
    xo,
    Karen

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  16. I wish you every success. Having a goal to focus on can be very motivating. Every little bit extra you can put towards your mortgage will ease the burden. Take it at your own pace and do what you can, when you can. I'm sure you'll be amazed at the results you achieve in doing this.

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  17. I love your posts. My husband has failing health and it is scarey! I may need to go back to nursing full time, which I do not want to do. I spent thirty five years giving my all and I am not wanting to start it again! He has a little over a year until retirement with no benefits. Aging is not easy! Your blog is comfort for me, thank you!
    Blessings

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  18. This has made the biggest difference in our finances. My husband is a big saver, and his first priority was to pay off our mortgage. It has made being "downsized" and subsequently taking early retirement possible. On our current income, we could never afford a house payment and still retained any semblance of our lifestyle. It's still difficult some months, but at least that's one BIG thing we don't have to worry about.

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  19. Wishing you all the luck with paying off your beautiful home!

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  20. We, too, paid our house off early and it has made our lives so much easier. We just set an amount above the mortgage that was reasonable and always paid it. We never considered it anything but the real amount and we kept our lifestyle within those means. You can do it, too! Your home is exquisite and so worth the discipline to make it entirely yours. I am sorry for your loss. I am a new reader to your blog and find it inspiring. I wish you peace and love.

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  21. Janet, see if the United Way in your area can direct you to a consumer credit counseling service. Normally, these services are free. They offer guidance regarding debt and payments and could possibly help you, even if your only debt is your mortgage; they might be able to give you the best idea of how to achieve your goal. If they don't end up helping you, you have lost nothing but the time you spent at the appointment. They are trained to work with people in matters of money and may have some ideas which haven't occurred to you yet.

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  22. You can do it ! We paid ours off early after I had quit work to stay home with kids. We just paid additional on principal every month. Sure was nice to not have a house payment when college costs came around.
    Do look into refinancing if interest rates are lower. That can lower your payment, enabling you to pay more on principal.
    Connie


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  23. you can so do this! i love your motivational signs to keep you on track. i am a dave ramsey fan and am debt free except for the house which is what my husband and i are working on paying off now. i set up a monthly budget for six different categories and we pay cash for everything. it's the best. you already live within your means which is evident from your amazingly motivational blog. make sure to have a category where you splurge a little on yourself - whatever it is that brings you joy - you have to have some mad money to make you feel like you are not going mad when you are focusing on paying down debt. especially now that you are doing everything on your own. all the best to you janet. i know your house means so much to you - it's your sanctuary - and owning it outright will give you peace of mind. xoxo

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    1. Great post, Rose. So agree that the little house is a sanctuary (I love it so much). I'd pay it off, little by little, however I could and live on a cash budget. Janet is so brilliant at this. Simplicity in all things brings calmness and clarity.

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  24. Good on you!!! It is the best feeling ever walking barefoot on your land knowing you own it - the feeling never gets old! I'm rooting for you! I listened to Dave Ramsey - love his rants and tangents he goes off on and his quote Live like no one else so you can live and give like no one else. You too might enjoy his podcasts - he is religious, I am not, but I still laughed many a time listening to him. Leanne - New Zealand.

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  25. Janet - you are the best. I love and respect your candor about money matters. I was raised never to bring up the topic. Seems from your previous post, you, too, have this reservation. But, good grief, it's on our minds frequently if not always. . . big decisions and small. What to do? I often wonder how other folks handle budgets, splurges, savings, debt, monthly necessities, long-term planning. If ever there could be a time to put your cards on the table, seek advice/encouragement, I expect that time is now . . . wish I were the sort of finance wizard that could be of help. There might be one at your local bank or perhaps event a volunteer at your church to provide a free consultation. I love mapping out dilemmas on paper - diagramming plans so-to-speak. This brings visual calm, control, order.
    Reaching out, especially now, is an inclination not easy for everyone and a gift which you are blessed to have. Thinking of you step by step, day by day, one post at a time.
    Linda

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    1. I agree with you completely Linda. I was raised in a family that talked about money...what little we had. And my husband & I have been very open with our son about it as well. When he was in high school we had him balance the family budget. He knew what we had & where it went.

      Now he's married & a father & we still talk numbers openly with each other.

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  26. I so admire your strength and sense of purpose.

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  27. My husband and I have been paying extra on our mortgage each month. It’s great to see that mortgage amount get smaller and smaller!

    Part time work may help accelerate paying off the house.
    Everlane has an opening for a part time job working from home as a customer experience agent. Just click on their Company and then Career tag near the bottom of their home page.

    Wishing you all the best, Judy

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  28. Dear Janet,

    Since you have been through so much lately and have given so much of yourself, maybe the universe will provide what you need. I believe since you have put paying off your home out there, it will happen as long as you think positive about it, do not allow any negative thoughts about it and do not listen to nay-sayers. After all, we are all connected. I wish that for you.

    Also, I loved that dress from your last post, it looked great on you.


    Sincerely,
    Debra of SENC

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  29. Before my husband passed we had been consistently paying down principal. So glad for that as we have shaved off years of the mortgage. So glad for that. I am not adding in as much as I did before, but every bit sure does help.
    All the best to you.

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  30. I have that TIN with the peacock!Think I have mentioned that before!
    JUST LIKE THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD YOU CAN DO THIS!
    XX

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  31. I think the smarter thing to do is invest the money in an IRA and keep house payments. Get a financial adviser, they usually do not charge for advice, asap. You need advice from a professional.



    in an

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  32. Pay off the house. I am 70 years old and retired. I paid off my house shortly before I retired. I always paid a little extra every chance I got. Every time I got a raise, I put it toward the house. I feel safe now. Nothing can take that feeling away from me. It is like Xanax, it calms me when I think of it. My life is good, it has always been good. I still had lots of fun, dressed well and traveled. I just didn't do it expensively. My friends thought I was cheap to shop in thrift stores and go camping for vacation. I was cheap, but they are having a hard time now and I am safe. Maddy

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  33. I'm late to this discussion. However, my 2 cents are to find a financial planner that you get along with. It has been worth its weight in gold for us. She has helped us invest wisely and helped us keep as much of our money as we can with her advice. A good financial planner will give you better advice than folks off the street, so to speak. It would be unlikely that you would have to pay for an interview as you are choosing a person. You would just need to be up front saying, I'm thinking of hiring a financial planner and would like to meet with you to see if we are compatible...

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  34. We too have paid off our cottage and it is one less thing I have to worry about and a huge relief as my husband's health declines due to Alzheimers. I feel sure you can achieve anything you set your mind to Janet. Maybe by the time those signs become annoying you will have developed the habit of paying down and will no longer need this encouragement. As someone else said, just keep a little fun money for yourself.

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  35. We too have paid off our cottage and it is one less thing I have to worry about and a huge relief as my husband's health declines due to Alzheimers. I feel sure you can achieve anything you set your mind to Janet. Maybe by the time those signs become annoying you will have developed the habit of paying down and will no longer need this encouragement. As someone else said, just keep a little fun money for yourself.

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  36. We paid off our house about 7 years ago. Best thing we ever did. It's a wonderful feeling to know that you own the roof over your head...not the bank.

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  37. I lived very carefully all my life. Invested in rental real estate in my 20's, let the tenants pay the mortgage and now I'm set. In looking back, I would not change a thing. It all worked to my advantage and being able to buy whatever I want now sure is a great payback for the years of care living. Good luck to you and I support paying off that mortgage. You will feel so strong afterwords. There is just nothing like personal discipline. It has taken me everyplace I ever wanted to go. Forget the silly little expenditures and concentrate on the important one. Cheers, Ann

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  38. I'm new to your blog & don't know your story but I do want to encourage you to pay whatever you can toward your balance. It really is worth it.

    We paid our house off in ten years on a factory workers salary. We bought in 1989 as newlywed, paid it off in 1999. In that decade we had a baby, bought one used car, my husband was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (& he earned our one paycheck) & did quite a few road trips because our families lived across country. I was 32 & he was 36 when we became mortgage free.

    This fall will mark 20 yrs without a house payment! We've never been tempted to move up. We raised our little family here & now we spend lots of time with our grandbaby here. A few other perks...we were able to take long prepaid vacations with our son. We were able to pay cash for our last car. (We've bought three cars in 32 yrs.)

    We also put notes around the house to encourage us to stick with it. And every month my husband would write the balance due on our calendar. Those last few years it seemed to shrink pretty fast.

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    1. fabulous story jenny. thank you for the encouragement. x

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  39. I'm very late to this, as I tend to check blogs only every few months. We're currently accelerating our mortgage payments, aggressively right now while we can (before sons transfer to 4 year universities and tuition increases significantly). I won't state an end goal because we all know we can plan but we can't guarantee anything. I should take your example and put signs up to remind me (including a sticky note on the computer). Of course the official advice we keep hearing is how it makes no sense to pay off a mortgage with a low interest rate when we could invest the money instead, that a mortgage is a "good" debt, etc., but my husband says he has been in debt one way or another since he was 18 years old, and we want to be free of what we now consider debt bondage. Your blog is such an inspiration to me, especially being neighbors in Redlands! Much peace and love to you!

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kindness is never out of style.

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