Friday, January 4, 2013
First, we learned it isn't easy. We had an A/C unit go out and ended up replacing a furnace while we were at it. We had a sewage pipe that needed to be replaced and other various out of pocket and unexpected expenses. So this took planning and reevaluating with very little wiggle room, but things worked out in the end.
Our refinance was a big part of the plan. It did cost us some dough and set us back slightly, but the long term benefits heavily outweighed the cost. We got rid of the pesky PMI each month, secured a fantastically lower interest rate, and into a 15yr loan. - leaving us with a payment of $50 less each month! While we were at it we shopped around for cheaper insurance as well.
The main thing we did that made the biggest impact, however, was to stick to our budget. And this is the hardest part at times. You feel you make enough money to spend $20 on this or that..."I deserve it," you might hear yourself say to yourself! But just saying no and being consistent each month will make the biggest impact. A huge help in our staying on budget and still having good food to eat and a surplus of supplies is Jennifer's coupon-ing capabilities and planning/cooking skills! Looking back, it doesn't feel like we've really had to go without too much (except a vacation here and there).
I think it also helps to listen to Dave Ramsey's show. I especially look forward to the Monday morning podcasts since it usually has some 'Debt Free Screams' from Friday. Listening to couple after couple telling their success story of getting out of debt makes me feel more normal for attempting it and validates that it is possible.
Year end result...mortgage is down to $156K - we made it! And we're well on our way to beat our original goal - should be able to get it done in a total of 3.5yrs now.
Our goal for this year - pay it down below $100K and get a little vacation to New York (that we've put off twice already) to hold us over to the end!