Paid Our First $2,000 Towards The Mortgage Payoff Plan!

And it feels GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! But also – SCARYYY!!!!!! Haha… Not only to have $2,000 disappear from your account so fast, but to not be able to GET IT BACK if we change our minds later! It really feels against everything I’ve been running with over the past 5 years ;) Which is pretty much SAVE everything cuz you can always pay off debt/buy stuff later. It doesn’t work the other way around though (well okay, it does if you have *equity* in your home and can snag a line of credit, but in our case it’s a no go… not that we want that anyways (I just want the *option*)).

It’s funny because my mind is torn between two places right now, and yet we still have 119 more payments to go ;) Though I am proud of myself for going ALL IN and at least trying it out. I’m hoping I just get used to it over time and this $2,000 because just like every other bill I’ve gotten fine with paying each month (like my iPhone and cable package). What I wasn’t expecting was dreaming about all the stuff I could be buying INSTEAD now w/ that money, haha… esp since I’m not much of a “things” buyer anyways these days. Crazy how the mind works.

I actually made a list of everything we could do to improve our house if we were to send the money that way instead. And some of these we could do EVERY SINGLE MONTH if we wanted to! (Like the fridge) Freaky!!

  1. Hardwood floors — It’s been a dream of mine for a while to live in a place with all hardwood floors, I absolutely love it. Especially old worn-in floors ;) These cats of ours tear the crap out of our carpet, drives me bonkers.
  2. New fridge — While our stove has been upgraded to stainless steel, our fridge remains old and yellowish a la the 1980’s. We’d love to swap in a newer energy-saving stainless one in a heartbeat.  And with the $2k we’ll be spending every month on the mortgages, we could get one or two of these bad boys every MONTH! Haha…
  3. Sexy kitchen cabinets — That’s right.  Not modern cabinets, or “nice” cabinets, but SEXY ones ;)  Nice cherry grain w/ nickel brushed hardware – that would be  hot.  And an incredible difference from our laminate compressed fake-wood ours are currently made with, bleh.
  4. Matching counter tops — To go with our new sexy cabinets!
  5. New Dishwasher — To go along w/ the stainless steel everything else. And also to have one where the little prongs to break off every other week!
  6. Walk-out patio – To get me to come out of my new basement office more regularly ;)  Would much rather walk out to a nice chill-out area than grass and rocks that I need to clean up every now and then… but this one’s on the lower list of stuff we want.
  7. New mattress — Cuz the one we sleep in is STILL hundreds of years old. (I know, so bad for us!)
  8. New bathroom tiles — Our master bathroom was not tiled so well back in the day… It desperately needs some love and attention.
  9. New sliding glass door — Going on 30 years old now (ack!)
  10. And the wifey wants an expanded pantry :)  And by default, I do too.

Now of course we’re not gonna let this push us off track just yet – how embarrassing would it be to fail your big plan after month 1?? – BUT, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t thinking of applying some of the *extra extra* towards these home goals later.  If we’re gonna be stuck in this house for a few more years (cuz it doesn’t look like that’s changing), we may as well make it sexier and ENJOY it while we’re here before offloading it, right?  Especially if it adds value to the place?  I don’t wanna be one of those people who upgrades their entire kitchen or living room or whatever just to sell the place higher and never get any fun out of it themselves.  I’d rather spend the money earlier and get some good use out of all the upgrades before handing it off.  But of course that’s Perfect Perfect Land, and right now we’re still struggling to hit the main Perfect Land first ;)

The point is that now that we’re actually putting Operation Mortgage Payoff into effect, our minds are starting to wander and REALLY testing our willpower – something we honestly didn’t see coming. But while we’re playing pretend-land over here w/ our imaginative house upgrades, we’re also crazy EXCITED we owe $2,000 less money too!  A feeling we haven’t had for quite some time as we’ve been good about not taking on much debt over the years.  So I’m hoping *that* feeling sticks around with us and continues to grow as time passes, so we’ll be more and more confident that we’re making the right decisions with all this.

We may not be able to get any of that money back we’re putting into our mortgages, but we sure are getting a taste of what the Good Life’s gonna be one day!  And sometimes you become home-free (ba dum ching!) once you start knowing the difference ;) So that’s the final report after month 1, my friends – we’ll be back again later to see how these feelings keep morphing.

If you’re still thinking of putting a game plan into action yourself, hurry up and just START!  It doesn’t matter what kind it is, take advantage of how FAST these months go by and ride the momentum!

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  1. laura @ no more spending October 31, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    I totally understand how you’re feeling. We’re about to put our plan into action, starting in December, and I keep thinking of ALL the things we could do with the money. But then I imagine mortgage freedom in 4 years (fingers crossed) and the possibilities that will bring.

  2. tom October 31, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    The most awesome part of this list… is you can do it all yourself and save thousands!

  3. Jeremy October 31, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Not be a naysayer or anything, but when I first read your plan, my first thought was “no way; not realistic.” This is based solely on my own experience trying to pay down ridiculously high student loans and trying to stay motivated and focused on the prize. With that said, however, I was able to knock out a big chuck by doing essentially what you are doing–putting lots of discretionary income on the loan. What I did differently was put all that money into an interest bearing account each month instead of paying it on the loan month after month. I know it didn’t help with interest, etc., but at least this way I could still see the $ growing, and knew in the back of my mind, I could use it for something else if need be. This gave me peace of mind, yet helped me stay motivated. Then when I got a big pile of $ saved up, I’d take a substantial chunk and plunk it down on the loan. Rinse and repeat. It’s just another way of accomplishing the same thing, but still maintaining flexibility. No good way to do it fast I learned. Good luck. Keep trucking and keep posting–great blog!

  4. J. Money October 31, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    @laura @ no more spending – Oh nice! Yeah, 4 years of being 100% debt-free is crazy – I could put up with a lot for that ;) I can’t even imagine how no mortgage payments would feel!
    @tom – Orrrrrr, I can invite YOU over to help me and I’ll pay YOU to do it while I learn ;)
    @Jeremy – Haha… as soon as it becomes habit I’ll hopefully be better w/ nixing the “wants” ;) Your plan is pretty good too actually, and the old me would have TOTALLY gone that route instead. Only problem for me is that I’ve put it off for over 5 years now that I had to do something drastic to get me kick started. So now we see what happens! :) Thanks for sharing your own plans, I think it’ll help others coming to the site as well.

  5. Dr Dean October 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Great job. The less you think about the money the better.
    And will your food be any colder in a new fridge? The cabinets continue to hold dishes and food, yes??

    The Mattress though, that is bad for your back to have a bad mattress-so maybe put that on the sexy to-buy list.

  6. SMB October 31, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    I actually think the fridge might be worth it. If yours is as old as you are saying then a new, energy efficient one might save you a good bit in electric bills and pay for itself in the long run.

  7. Paula @ Afford Anything October 31, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I’m with Dr. Dean — go get yourself a new mattress!! The TempurPedic ROCKS, and no one’s paying me to say that. Get the cheapest baseline model — the Tempur Advantage or Classic or whatever the cheapest type is called — but definitely strongly consider that brand. I love it as much as you love TJ Maxx.

  8. Stephanie October 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Hey, no one says it has to be all or nothing!! The way I see it, it’s all about balance. That’s a long wish list, but if you prioritize it and maybe once or twice a year take part of that extra mortgage payment to do a project you REALLY want around the house, you’d still be paying down your mortgage at a MUCH faster rate, AND you’d being treating yourself here and there so you don’t feel deprived.

    And I find it rather amusing that you want to replace your fridge and dishwasher because you have a nice, shiny new stove – we’re the exact opposite. We have really a nice, top-of-the-line fridge and dishwasher, but our stove is a MESS. So new stove is on our wish list, along with a laundry room remodel and converting the side porch into a sunroom. One thing at a time, though. ;-)

  9. iwantmyhdbflat October 31, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    nice one J. Money! It sounds incredulous but I’m just waiting for another 5 years when I can start to make mortgage payments… it will finally mean I am a homeowner!

  10. tom October 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    @J$ – Deal – Have tools, will travel! Teach a man to fish…

  11. HighOrderGuiltComplex October 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    why don’t you try rewarding yourself with something on your list when you reach a certain point in your mortgage paydown? i.e. after we total $10k in extra payments toward the mortgage we will buy a new refridgerator.

  12. Jessica October 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    While paying down the mortgage is great, I think you also have to make sure that your house is a comforting home. A few things on that list stick out as places where short term gain could mean long term loss. In looking at replacing the fridge and the sliding glass door these can help with energy costs, depending on how old/leaky they are in addition to helping with resell on the house. On the bathroom tile front, you mention that they are poorly installed. If they are that poorly installed, not recently grouted or sealed, or falling off the wall; I would seriously worried that they are causing damage to backer board, mold behind the walls, or leaking problems. This one I have seen all too well when my parents put off a bathroom remodel and ended up having to gut the bathroom due to mold damage from the leaking. Maybe try to think 2k tile job versus 10K gut job while balancing out that long term outlook. And lastly that old mattress, dont forget that they are breeding ground for dust mites and bed bugs in addition to them losing support as the springs start to break down. For your health and comfort, I would look at replacing this one quickly.

  13. retirebyforty October 31, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    $2,000 is a lot of money toward the principle every month! We have been paying $500 extra and it’s working pretty well. It’ll take a lot longer then 119 month though. I’m taking a break from paying extra this month because the property tax bill is here. :( I’ll continue next month.

  14. Maria Nedeva October 31, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Well done, J. Here is to many more. As I said before, we are getting rid of the ‘negative wealth’ first (this is my name for our loan; this way it doesn’t get me down as much as it used to; and it technically correct to call it that). and then starting on the mortgage big time. We are in somewhat different position though – large mortgage but also substantial equity.

    As to the wish list – doable, I say.

  15. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager October 31, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Love the wishlist! Christmas presents anyone?

  16. LB October 31, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Good luck on the mortgage payoff plan! I am sure you will do fine.

    I spend a whole lot less when I have wish lists, even if it is for stuff I need. Makes me think about saving money and what I actually want, instead of just going out and plunking the money down.

  17. J. Money October 31, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    GREAT idea with rewarding ourselves after certain benchmarks, guys… I think we’ll do that. Maybe after every $10k or $15k? So after 6-8 months we give ourselves a treat? Could be doable :)

    @Dr Dean – Haha… of course the fridge & cabinets etc still hold their function properly, but I’m a very VERY visual person, and when you mix that with the idea that you could potentially upgrade something EVERY SINGLE MONTH instead of pay down debt, it tends to turn you on ;) And I reckon the buyers of the house later too. We’ll continue sitting tight as along as we can though!
    @SMB – If I can prove that 100% I’ll be out the door tomorrow getting one! Haha… that reminds me — I also think it would be rad to have solar panels on the roof for free electricity! :)
    @Paula @ Afford Anything – Really??? I entered a few contests recently from other bloggers giving them away, but so far no luck… I think I just need to FEEL the difference to really light the fire under me. Our mattress is SO OLD at this point that we’ve just gotten used to it – which is bad :(
    @Stephanie – HAH! We are opposites – I like it :) And your idea too, we could schedule them in after benchmarks maybe? That would be fun AND motivating!
    @iwantmyhdbflat – I hear that! Right now we’re “bank owned” :)
    @tom – Heck yeah! I have another dream of building a home from scratch one day… will need a whole team teaching me on that one ;)
    @HighOrderGuiltComplex – YES! I’m thinking that is most def. the way to go… and it’ll get me through these suck-ass months too, haha… thanks for commenting on that, sometimes I need more than 1 person to say it to really get me going ;)
    @Jessica – Acccck!!! That is so freaky about the dust mites and bugs!! OMG I hope the wife doesn’t see that, haha… or if she does (hi honey!) maybe it’ll get us to act faster? :) Now everything on me seems like it’s starting to itch!!!
    @retirebyforty – Hey, $500 was WAY MORE than I ever did up to today! And way more than 98% of the population too, I’m sure. Keep rockin’ it yo! :)
    @Maria Nedeva – Thanks friend :) I have nothing but faith in you too! Though I must admit I’m jealous of that equity you’ve got going on… every time we apply $2,000 it flies away in the wind, *sigh*… Once our 2nd mortgage is out of the way though, THEN we’ll be gaining ground! :)
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager/b> – Are you feeling generous? ;)
    LB – That’s how I usually am too! Except when we’re throwing $2,000 “away” every month now, haha… all of a sudden all those wish list items are looking sexier! ;)

  18. Ashley @ Everything Finance October 31, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    It is a weird feeling. We pay a little extra every month and it doesn’t bother me, but we also try to send one lump sum per year and letting go of that money is tough! I don’t think you will regret it at all though! Keep it up!

  19. Morgan Polotan October 31, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Congrats on paying your first mortgage payment, but I have a question! You mention in your blog post:

    “It really feels against everything I’ve been running with over the past 5 years ;) Which is pretty much SAVE everything cuz you can always pay off debt/buy stuff later.”

    Does this mean you save before paying off ALL debt? Or just low-interest debt like student loans? I’m assuming you pay off high-interest credit card debt before building up a massive emergency fund?

  20. Jeff @mymultiplestreams October 31, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    I think when we get to that point it will be done like ashley up there. little bit each month then at end of year a big chunk of left over cash. There are so many little projects around this house. (I really want my bathroom back) when the other debts are paid off I think it will be half to the mortgage and half to the projects.

  21. J. Money November 1, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    @Ashley @ Everything Finance – Thanks! I can DEF see how hard it would be to do one large chunk at the end of the year! I’m gonna stick to my monthly ones – that’s too hardcore ;)
    @Morgan Polotan – I just mean that I’ve been much more of a saver in general than I have paying off things (like my mortgage). I carried some credit card debt here and there, but the % was only ever 5 or 6% or less – and only for like a few months. If I had high interest or large debts other than mortgage, I’d most DEF be paying those off first for sure. If I had the choice of having a LOT of savings and a LOT of debt, the old me would have chose that over being $0.00 across boards, if that makes any sense? Basically I like having lots of money in the bank – makes me feel better, even w/ debt ;)
    @Jeff @mymultiplestreams – That’s a good way to do it. Esp w/ the projects – best of both worlds? The one thing I need to work on (possibly?) is going all-in one way or the other :) I rarely do things down the middle, haha… but the decade’s still young!

  22. Laura in ATL November 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    FYI about hardwood floors and cats . . .

    Your kitties will slippy-slide all over the place! Poor little knuckleheads, there is nothing for them to ‘hold onto’ so when they run and stop, so they just slide and crash into stuff. Make sure you have some area rugs around for them!

    (And for you of course, but we all know that the cats are really the most important thing.)


    ~who has kitties that slippy-slide every day when they play chase each other through the living room and hallways. ;-)

  23. Jerret November 1, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Serious, dude, get the Tempurpedic. Wife and i went through 3 mattresses in 5 years before we finally bought one. Have had it now for 8 years. Now my problem is that i CAN’T sleep on anything else.

    So i guess nevermind. Don’t get it :-)

  24. Happy Homeowner November 1, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Go with the hardwood and enjoy good looks and great laughs–I’m w/ Laura on this one; my 2 kittens go wild across my floors then can’t stop (unless they bounce off the wall, which is pretty standard). It can be quite entertaining.

    So this is my 2nd post where I’m on the same wavelength as you–I’ve also been paying down my mortgage as fast as possible, but now I’m beginning to think of some home improvements I want to do. I have an empty wall in my kitchen that is just screaming for some sexy, matching cabinets and a nice granite workspace to be added to it (plus a wine fridge, yes!). I’ve also been lusting after crown molding.

    As someone here suggested, I’m “rewarding” myself with these projects each time I hit a milestone in my mortgage payoff frenzy. I just hit $7,500 extra paid off today, so I’m tackling some of the molding projects.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck! And get that badge up, eh? Haha!

  25. Ms. S November 1, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    I know exactly what you mean. When I think of how PHAT my emergency fund could be if I’d put all this money I’ve been using to pay these stinking student loans there instead, it makes me a little, no a lot angry. But ah well. I want them to get as little interest from me as possible, so to SLs it is.

  26. Mrs. Green November 1, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    I’m with @SMB, and I have a tool for you to prove it- The Energy Star’s “Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator”!

    When we bought our new home, the only kitchen appliance that was working was a circa 1980s fridge, when we used the calculator we realized it was using $1/day to operate. Our payback on a new fridge will be less than 3 years, not to mention the environmental savings… and it’s pretty sweet lookin’…

  27. J. Money November 2, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    @Laura in ATL – HAH! That is too funny – I would have never thought of that ;) Fortunately (unfortunately?) one of our cats is way too old to run anymore anyways, haha… the other one? Well, she’ll just have to deal with it. And I’ll be ready w/ my camera on hand ;)
    @Jerret – Man, I’m sooooo tempted!! All I hear is GREAT things about that thing — when is someone gonna hate on Tempurpedics?? Like, about how expensive they are or something? :)
    @Happy Homeowner – Haha, roger that! The badge is on my list to make – as soon as I’m back from all this traveling :) I guess I kinda reward myself w/ that, even though it’s technnically “work” eh? I could do me some crown molding action too though, good one! Always a pleasure seeing you here, my friend. Come back again :)
    @Ms. S – YUP! Gotta nix it all at some point, right? Might as well go all out and then pump up that E. Fund as sexily as you can! :) Or maybe do a little of each? (not as fun, I know, but always a possibility?)
    @Mrs. Green – Ooooh now we’re talking!!! I can get jiggy w/ those facts! Clicking away now, thanks! :)

  28. Ms. S November 2, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    LOL, “as sexily as you can!” LOVE IT!! You are da bomb!

    Well I was paying just above my minimum payments to SLs until I got a decent EF that I was comfortable with. Once that was done it was time to throw everything the SLs’ way. So essentially I’m attempting to quadrouple my montly payments and it will still take me til 2014. Imagine that. Effing perturbed. LOL… but I’ll get to the end sooner than soon. Beats 2040 or whatever stupid plan they had me on. While I have a sexy stash in my EF, it could still be sexier.

  29. J. Money November 2, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Hey, we’re always working toward that “next step” no matter what it is :) And we all start out at the bottom! Once you’re there, you’ll be rushing to meet the next challenge – keep going strong!