Thursday, July 15, 2010

Still amazed

I had NO idea SO many families lived credit card free! Could it be a blogger thing? Maybe people are too afraid to talk finances? Is it a goal that just doesn't stick? You could call it researching, but I am asking everybody about their finances. I hope I'm not stepping on toes, you guys. I can't believe how many moms live on one income without credit cards! How fantastic is that and why didn't anyone tell me before???? My competitive nature would have kicked into overdrive had I heard these stories years ago.

So, I decided to do some more financial research on paying your mortgage off early. I am going to write this as if those reading know nothing about money so forgive me if you are already ahead of the game. First, consider refinancing now. The rates are phenomenal dropping into the 3s. You won't see that again for a very long time people. This is your chance. You can have the cost of the refinance rolled over into your mortgage so it doesn't have to come out of pocket, but it is your money so shop wisely! Also, many people think you have to stick with your current bank. NO! You can shop around. Call multiple banks and find out what they are offering then take the best two offers and pin them against each other. They will fight for you. I promise.

Next, find out about bi-weekly payments. This has actually helped our family because splitting our mortgage payment up into two has allowed me to have a little more wiggle room with our smallest paycheck. Find out if your bank offers this for free. There are pay services, but I wouldn't invest in those. Your better off saving up the money in a savings account and making a lump sum payment at the end of December of said year. You want to make sure you write PRINCIPAL PAYMENT nice and big on your check otherwise your check will pay off the principal AND interest. You don't want to do that. You want to bring down the principal so that the overall amount you owe is lessened. You can use a mortgage calculator online like Bankrate's to see how much you'll save over time.

If you can, try living off of one income and use the other income to save and pay off the mortgage. I mean, think about it. If you could have enough savings to pay for things in cash AND have no mortgage... the possibilities are endless! My father was telling me that we would want our mortgage because of the interest deductions, but the money we get back from Uncle Sam is a lot less than the money we are losing to interest on the loan. For example, let's say we paid out $10,000 in interest last year. We may only get $2500 back, which is great, but we just lost $7500 in interest! Not cool. Once you are done with your mortgage, however, you can open a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit), which will allow you to continue having tax deductions. Just be sure to pay it off. Nice little tidbit there.

Don't forget to check out ING Direct here and sign up for a savings account. A lot of people share my philosophy on ING; it is a great place to stash money and it is "far" enough away where you won't tap into it, but "close" enough that you can access it in an emergency. The best part is that you can set up automatic withdrawals so you never miss your money because it is gone before you can mess around with it!

I know coupons are the thing right now, and I am all for it (I'll be trying out the Grocery Game and reporting back next week), but I think one of the easiest ways to save money starts at home. Do an energy audit on your home. How can you seal up the house even more? A sleeve on the water tank? A tankless water heater? Turn off the lights when leaving a room? Be efficient at the fridge? It may just be pennies at first, but they will eventually turn into dollars.

Good luck, ladies! We can do this. We just have to remain determined and set easily attainable goals. Let me know what your goals are and how you are working to get there. I love a good challenge!


  1. Love your blog. I'm a finance major so this is right up my alley! We refinanced and dropped our rate about six months ago and we do use cards but pay off balances every month. Love all those free points! Will keep reading. Have a good one!

  2. Wow, what you are doing is amazing. I wish i could be that organized with my money!

    Thanks for the comment and the visit, btw!:)

  3. Excellent post!

    I'm a new follower from Simply Follow on MBC! Love for you to come visit and follow me!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    ~Shelley @ Shelley's Swag

  4. Hi! Following you back from MBC. Thanks for stopping by A Little Book Nook!


  5. Following from MBC - Simply Follow. Great Blog, I finally have gotten the nerve to face our finances. We are apartment dwellers and need to save for a new house. We don't use credit cards, except for rare instances, but we pay the balances off very quickly.

    Great Stuff!

    Please check me out

  6. We are in the process of refinancing right now. We just locked in our interest rate of 3.875 on a 15 year mortgage. We were at a 30 year mortgage at 5.625. Since our rate went down so much, our payment is only going up $200 a month, but we will have it payed off in 15 years instead of the 28 years that we had left on our 30 year mortgage. This means we will save over $125,000 in interest payments that we would have had to make had we kept the 30-year mortgage. If that isn't an incentive, to refi for a shorter loan, I don't know what is. The best thing is that means the house will be paid off 3 years before my husband retires. He can retire at age 50 and he will not have to get another job because his retirement will be able to all the bills easily without us having to make a mortgage payment.

  7. We don't have a credit card. We have accidentally overdrawn one or twice on our debit cards, but we've either paid it off or had it cleared. I'm trying to get my husband and our roommate to recognize the importance of "energy auditing!" I want to save every little bit I can and our bill was twice what it normally is last month. So, obviously, someone is getting careless. I'm waiting this months, so I can evaluate if that was just a fluke or if we're really getting that careless with our energy use.

  8. Thanks for all of the great posts, ladies! Yes, refinancing is up there on the must-do list, but for those of us who have reasons for not wanting to refinance, energy and consumption are at the top of the list. I will be addressing those issues in an upcoming article. I will also be talking about what I've noticed after our first month CC free... stay tuned.