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The Luxury of Minimalism

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Minimalism with Kids | Toy Minimalist | Staying Sane as a Parent | Minimalism is a Luxury

I’m away from the online world this week, so here’s an awesome post from Revanche at A Gai Shan Life.  She and I have only met in real person once so far, but I consider her one of my closest friends.  If you don’t already read her blog, open it right now in another tab and check it out after you’re done here.  Revanche lives in constant pain, she lives supporting others, she lives for her family and friends…key word here…she LIVES.  And she’s been blogging about it all in heart-wrenching and uplifting detail for more than 10 years. Our Spring Culling I maintain a strict policy on JuggerBaby’s (JB’s) toys. I refuse to break my neck in an unintentionally hilarious pratfall dancing over the seemingly inevitable mountains of two-year-old appropriate possessions. The one challenge to this rule is one that I can’t, in good conscience, say no to. We see my aunt twice a year and without fail, she has a pile of used toys, books, and clothes, carefully cleaned and curated for JB’s health and education. She’s not wealthy, she’s the self-described “poorest of the whole family”, so she’s gotten good at rescuing abandoned things at the church and … Read more

How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Your Mortgage

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That's amazing! Just $10 extra a month would have saved me $3000+ on my mortgage!!! A little bit extra really can save me thousands of dollars on my mortgage!

Classic mortgages are pretty straight forward after you finally jump through all the hoops and complete all of the paperwork to get one.   You have a set amount to pay per month for the term of your loan, which is determined by the amount you need to borrow and the interest rate you agree to pay.  And little changes to those payments can save you to thousands of dollars! Just Round Up Your Monthly Payment!!! Did you know that just rounding up your payment to the nearest $100 could save you thousands of dollars during a 15-30 year mortgage term?!  I was blown away when I saw the calculations. To prove my point, I’m going to share my real numbers for our current mortgage (you can check out all the details of our current, 3750 sq. ft. house in this other post). Original loan amount – $207,448 Original loan term – 30 years / 360 monthly payments Interest Rate – 4% Our Monthly Payment – $990.39 That $990.39 is just our mortgage payment since I don’t escrow.  I put aside $1000 a month into a separate account to cover the property taxes on our current home and our rental home. For all … Read more

Blast from the Past – Our House and Mortgage

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About 5 years ago in April 2011, I blogged about our house and mortgage.  Here was our house at the time: Here Were Our April 2011 House Details: Built in 2004 2 Stories – Brick and Hardy Plank Attached 2 Car Garage 1750 square feet 3 bedrooms 2 1/2 baths The bedrooms and two full baths are upstairs The kitchen, living room, dining room, and half bath are downstairs (great for our potlucks!) Covered back patio Small front yard and smaller back yard It was listed by the bank at $119,500.  After nearly 6 weeks of very slow negotiations (a downside to buying a foreclosure), we settled at $114,000, had the place inspected, and closed the deal towards the end of April 2007. Here Were Our April 2011 Mortgage Details: We forked over a 20% downpayment – $22,800 We also paid all of the silly closing fees – about $3000 The mortgage came to $91,200 5.375% rate 15 year term We did not escrow 5 Years Later That was our first home, and it became our first rental property.  We ended up having our current home built in 2012 and paid off that first house in 2013.  Here are our 2016 details: Built in 2012 2 … Read more

Organizing for the Win!

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Yep, I got the organizational bug again. It comes in spurts. Last time it was my bedroom (which has been taken over a little again…next week’s project). This time around, I was tired of  wading through a complete mess every time I had to go into the closet under the stairs for the vacuum or a stack of plates for our board gaming potlucks. My Storage Closet   My husband offered to help me by making whatever storage system I desired. He measured out the closet for me, and we tracked down 4 shelves that would end up fitting perfectly. Two of them on top of each other and bracketed together formed the shelves at the back.  The other two are side by side to the left of the open door. There is less than an inch to spare on any side of where all the shelves are set up. Hubby Done Awesome!!! With his shelves installed and a couple of hours of work reorganizing everything, here is how it looks now. Fully functional and amazing.   Cost Other than the 6 hours of our time spent on measuring, putting together shelves, and reorganizing, it also cost about $100. The … Read more

Deck the Halls with Property Tax Payments…Falalalalalalala. Poop.

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I just sent out all of our property taxes for both homes and our current home’s home owner’s association dues. Poopers. Total Property Taxes Total hit to our property tax savings account? $11,221. OUCH. Expected but hurts anyway. Our 1750 square foot rental home is appraised for taxes at around $125,000. Our 3750 square foot current home is appraised at around $290,000 for taxes since they couldn’t go all the way up to its $306,000 in one 10% leap. To pay more than $11,000 means our property taxes are right around 2.9% with more than half of that going to our public school district. With this on top of the upcoming $570 a month health insurance and the January quarterly tax payment, I feel like money is just pouring away like water.  But that is how it is every December and January. It’s the price to be paid for not escrowing. I rather have a set mortgage payment and see the pain in writing every year for property taxes. This is why I am a cheap-ass ginger every February-March, LOL. Not Worried, Just Tired I’ll admit that in years past, I actually felt like we were taking huge hits and … Read more

Extended an Olive Branch and Hoping for the Best

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I had been having some neighbor drama on and off for 2-3 years.  I decided to try my best to get that behind us at the end of last week. The Bad Feelings Shortly after we moved into this neighborhood in late 2012, my friend backed into our neighbor’s son’s car and woke them up at 6am to let them know and give them her insurance info.  This was within the same week that our neighbor’s other child’s car had their window bashed in by unknown vandals that hit a lot of the cars in the neighborhood on the same night.  That neighbor has been frustrated with us ever since even though it was a small dent and the insurance paid out in full in less than a week.  I never went over and reached out even though I knew they had a bad week.  That was the start. Within the last year, the same neighbor has expressed great annoyance with people parking on a double-wide street behind her driveway.  Carpal tunnel surgery has made it difficult for her to park easily.  We have asked everyone we invite over to avoid parking there, but sometimes they forget or didn’t receive the email, so we ask them to move.  … Read more

Stop Whining, Start Doing, or SHUT UP!

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Yahoo wrote a post in 2013 about my husband and me paying off our first house in 6 years. The amount of whining in the comment section and sent to my email was ASTOUNDING and I still get messages once in a while NOW! Here’s my second attempt at vlogging, which I like more than my well-edited one last week.   As I wrote in the description area of the video, it’s just prioritization. Not magic. And whining about why I can do something that you can’t do is just silly. You can do everything I can do…even better…if you STOP WHINING ABOUT IT or figure something even better out! Also, yes, my online business income sped up the process in 2012…but we were on track to paying our first home off in 10 years or less anyway.  Honestly, it’s just a matter of spending less than you make. You may have noticed that I have been fully self-employed since July 2011. My income comes from blogging, rental income, and pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site, I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (cheap and 24/7 support). Or if blogging isn’t your schtick, check out any of … Read more