It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I know, I know, it’s a Christmas song, but winter makes me miserable. Spring on the other hand, makes me ridiculously happy, and the upcoming return of daylight savings time just adds to the ridiculousness. With that being said:
Last month was a BIIIGGGG month. Our biggest month yet, in fact. $6,752.98 paid off in February!
It is a great feeling breaking into the $50,000s! I paid $100,000 even for my home, so seeing this amount is awesome. I’m hoping that we can pay it down to $45,000 by the end of this month, and since my original mortgage was $90,000, that will put us at the halfway point!
As a quick refresher if you have not been following my journey, this is how we’re doing it. All of my husband’s income is being used as principal payments. Every cent of it. Our monthly budget is being made strictly using my income, and the standard monthly mortgage payment comes from it each month. We have temporarily lowered our retirement contributions to receive our employers’ matches, which are 5% for my husband and 4% for me, and we have completely halted contributions to our daughter’s college savings.
Below is our financial snapshot for this month:
This month’s payoff amount includes our tax return that we applied to the mortgage as soon as it was received. It was $2,246.00, and yes, I know this is too much. We adjusted our withholdings in May last year, shortly after our wedding. We’ll see how it plays out next year and adjust them again if needed.
So, I’ve got to take a minute to hand it to my husband. He has willingly signed up for every minute of overtime that he could get his hands on. Last month, he became the first ever “Employee of the Quarter” at his police department, and the police chief commended him for stepping up without complaint. I don’t believe he had a full day off in February. He is asleep before his head hits the pillow every night and I miss him every day, and I am so proud of his temporary sacrifices. He knows that the sooner we pay off our final debt, the sooner we can start building wealth and achieve financial freedom. I feel so fortunate to have a husband who really gets it.
Speaking of Ron, let’s talk about Valentine’s Day. We did not really know how to handle this, since this was our first one as a married couple with joint accounts and a budget. We decided to budget for our Valentine’s tradition – a Knoxville Ice Bear’s game with hot dogs and Dunkin’ Donuts afterwards – and we left it at that. I admit that I wondered if he would get me flowers that day, and I was not disappointed. After watching the deliveries of flowers at my office all day, in walked my husband, uniform and all, with a beautiful arrangement and a card. Yes, he broke the budget for that category, but you will not hear this giddy wife complain.
Bringing the tone down a little, my great-grandmother passed away the following week after a long struggle with dementia. She was 91 and her death had been expected for a while, but it was a sad occasion nonetheless. I wore a black dress, black tights and black heels and arrived at the funeral to see, to my chagrin, the majority of my family and my great-grandmother’s friends dressed in jeans and boots with no hint of black at all. My dad walked up to me in jeans and brown boots and commented that I was showing off the fact that I’m rich. I laughed and responded sarcastically about the pot calling the kettle black (my dad lives a lifestyle of buying whatever he and his wife wake up and want that day). He said I act poor because I’m rich and he acts rich because he’s poor. I wanted to explain to him that I “act poor” to BECOME rich, but I might as well give that speech to a brick wall.
I estimate that about half of the funeral attendees were sick, and I ended up in bed as soon as I got home that night. I went to work for a couple hours the next day and slept for the rest of it, but back to work the next morning. I was worthless, but I was there, and I resented the fact that I felt that I HAD to be there. My employer does not offer PTO, so missing work without having a scheduled vacation day is kind of a big deal where I work. It’s more than that, though. Even if I did have PTO, there is still the feeling of obligation to be there, to abide by someone else’s rules, to know that I will lose my source of income if I miss too much time. The sooner our home is paid off, the sooner we can start investing to earn passive income, and the sooner we will be free from having to worry about such things.
That’s what this is about! The end goal – the big picture – is not to just be debt free. We’re aiming to be financially free. Paying off our home is only the last small step of the first large step to achieving this freedom.
Keeping up with my goal to read at least twelve books this year, I read The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason this past month. Read. This. Book. Seriously – it’s a super small, cheap, easy to read book. Like, click the link below and order it – it’s a staple for your collection.
I am fortunate in the fact that I am able to listen to podcasts all day long at work. The ones I listen to the past month are below:
Side note about the Passive Real Estate Investing podcast – the episode titled “Inflation, Debt and the Investment Landscape with David Stein” made me laugh a little. David Stein mentions writing an article recommending that you do NOT pay off your mortgage but starts the article with the fact that he did, in fact, choose TO pay off his mortgage because he does not like having debt and hates making payments. So, take what you will from that.
I’ll leave you, as always with a few questions to ask yourself:
If you’re on a journey to become debt free, what is your “why“?
Have you thought about how you will build wealth after becoming debt free?
Is the “security” that being debt-free brings enough, or do you want more?
Until next time! Follow me on Instagram and check back for the next update in My Quest for (Financial) Freedom!