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Operation Mortgage Payoff is Starting to BLOW…

by J. Money on Monday, May 21, 2012

Still a mortgage killer?

That’s right, I said it – it sucks paying $2,000 extra every month to an underwater home :( The results have been sexy as hell so far – we’ve already  nixed $16,000 in 8 months which is incredible!! – but man, I’m starting to run out of steam… especially as our house starts to crumble and Baby J is getting closer and closer.

But what’s a debt hater to do?

One side keeps telling me “DON’T GIVE UP!!! You’ll lose all your motivation and you won’t wanna come back and kill it all!” while the other one is screaming, “Just be done with it already! Stash any extra money away and don’t be so damn hardcore all the time.” Both very VERY valid points. And honestly, I feel like I could be happy with either.

If I give up now, I go back to having more cash saved up and fortifying our reserves even more – which may or may not be needed this first year of baby-hood. On the other hand, though, I feel like if I do that now I really WILL just give up on the mission :( And we’ve come so far already!  $16,000 paid off in 8 months??? That’s crazy talk! And I realize this is all a GOOD problem to have here and all, but still – we all have our own issues.

In a small way it’s kinda like blogging every day. I tell all my clients that I’m SO scared to miss a day of  my M-F schedule cuz I know that if I do, there’s a good chance I’ll let it slide even more and more, until eventually I just pop in every now and then and have to re-introduce myself with every post, haha… And that wouldn’t be good, right? RIGHT?? (An interesting fact you may not know – I have yet to miss a day of blogging in over 4 & 1/2 years! :))

So I dunno.  I’m in one of those limbo states where I *know* what I truly want in the end (to rid ourselves of these stupid mortgages), but I’m also over that excited phase. And I keep dreaming of how nice it would be to keep all that extra money instead. And that’s IF, of course, we’re even fortunate enough to continue having that extra money after everything that’s been going on… If this is what it’s like to pay off huge amounts of credit card debt every month, it SUCKS! And I have a new appreciate for it all too.

What do YOU all do when you’re about to putter out?  Do you take a break and then get right back to it? Or do you just let it fade away, and then get upset with yourself cuz you (yet again) let it go by the wayside? I’m not gonna make any rash decisions quite yet I don’t think, but we def. need to figure out how to get rejuvenated again… I gotta shake this thing off as I REALLY don’t want any mortgages lingering around for the rest of my life :(

Tell me something good!

 


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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennydecki May 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Keep on keeping’ on. The first year Baby J will be expensive but s/he only gets more expensive as s/he gets older. Sticking it out now will help you have extra money later to spend on things the kid will remember!

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2 Jenn May 21, 2012 at 7:34 am

If current house is your “forever” house, I agree with Jenny above to keep paying more now – and maybe cool it once Baby J is a little older and has more expenses (I see what friends spend on sports/activities/tutors/etc – blows my mind!). BUT, if it’s not your forever house, I’d cool it.

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3 Matt May 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

I hear ya and I’m in the same boat. We usually put $3500 on top of the required payment and have done so for about a year. Now we’ve decided to take a different route and put that extra “payment” into a savings account and once or twice a year make one or two large payments. This way we have the cash liquid if A. something terrible happens that our normal savings and E-fund can’t cover or B. a unique opportunity pops up that requires cash.

This is a bit tricky because you now have to trust that the “you” in the future will be as committed as the “you” in the present and will follow through with the larger payment.

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4 SMB May 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

I’d say keep on going. If I was in your situation, I’d look at how much interest you’ve saved yourself by making the extra payments and that would be my motivation to keep on going. If necessary look at how much “extra” interest you will be paying if you don’t keep on with the higher payments.

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5 Marilyn May 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

I like Matt’s idea. Set aside 1 or 2 months each year. You could take a kick butt vacation. Have a great extra savings cushion. Blow it on a moped :) Or, you could always throw it at the mortgage at the end of the year too.

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6 Michelle May 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

Keep going! You’re doing great! This is what we plan on doing in a couple of years after my student loans are gone.

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7 #Mrbudgetguy May 21, 2012 at 8:40 am

J Money, I feel you! I’m in the same position, trying to bite off $180k that’s not taking me anywhere but just bringing me to the surface of a hole I already dug. I really rather take $5k, leave the country and try to figure it out later. The thing that helps me is only reviewing the plan 1/week and just making the payment on the 1st of every month. I watch as I get closer to my goal of being debt free and knowing 100% of my check each month will be free and clear. I won’t have to worry about my baby (I have 4 kids from 21 to 5 mos old) because I’ll hae $0 in debt. It keeps me going. I don’t like the idea of stopping and only doing 1 or 2 a year.

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8 #Mrbudgetguy May 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

On another note, stop telling yourself the $2,000 is extra and remember the bank set their “minimum monthly” payment based on their risk and profit goals. You set your own “minimum payment” based on your personal goals. Remember to live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow (D. Ramsey)

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9 Rachel211 May 21, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hmmm…. maybe change the goal up? Like instead of trying to pay it all off – pay off enough to cover what the interest over the life of the loan would have been? At least then you know your payment each time after that would be going towards a principal amount and not new interest.
I know technically it wouldn’t read like that on your statement – but if you figured that over the course of your scheduled loan you would end up paying $40,000 extra, then if you at least paid that much right away then you would be a lot closer to paying the actual amount you purchased the house for at the end. Right?

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10 Jon B May 21, 2012 at 8:51 am

I’d say keep going! It definitely gets tough though because we want things to come to fruition sooner than later and be able to move on to better things (like building up the cash reserve). To get recharged, I like spending some time in nature. Maybe sit under a tree and read a book, go for a walk through the wilderness, etc..just something to get away for a while. Then it’s right back at it!

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11 Money Beagle May 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

I would look at what percentage of your total debt you’ve paid off in those eight months. It’s probably a pretty nice looking number. Then go plug in what you would cover in the next eight months if you were to cut out the extra payments and watch what a puny little number comes up on your screen.

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12 Den May 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

Don’t stop!!! This is where you put on your “big boy pants” and just do it – ha ha!

We’re in the midst of a long haul debt repayment and certainly can relate to the doldrums of this middle ground – the first excitement has worn off and the end point still seems a long way off…..so what we do when we lose our motivation is pull out our “dream budget” of what our budget will look like when we’ve paid off all our debt – that $800 a month to debt plus $1200 a month to tuition payments will then be $2000 a month to do with as we please!!!

And maybe to keep the motivation – reward yourselves at the milestones – $20,000 paid off sounds like a nice time to celebrate!! Hang in there!

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13 Ginger May 21, 2012 at 9:37 am

Are you putting one percent of the cost of the house, divided by 12, aside for repairs every month? If you are then the repairs should not be as worrisome. Have you looked at how much sooner your mortgage will be paid off now that you paid down an additional $16K? That always helps me.

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14 Aaron May 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

Keep going with the mortgage payments! You’re essentially creating additional wealth for yourself in each and every payment from the interest you’re avoiding on the house. It’s probably thousands and thousands of dollars when you add it all up and that should provide some outstanding motivation.

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15 becca May 21, 2012 at 9:58 am

Based solely on the baby thing- if I were in your place, I’d plan to take a one month break from extra-savings a little before the baby comes, and go on a trip or to nice places that aren’t manageable with the baby. This type of ‘modest treat’ helps me stay focused over the long haul, and looking after a newborn is hugely draining (sleep deprivation can be brutal… if you can build up some psychological comfort reserve by spending a little bit, it’s a worthy investment).
Also, don’t expect your self-discipline to be at it’s usual place for the immediate time after the baby comes. Either set up your budget so as many decisions are automated as possible before you’re really sleep deprived, or be prepared to cut yourself a little slack (and know that you can get right back to where you need to be).

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16 Leigh May 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

Sounds to me that you are more product oriented than process oriented like me. I know that I want to own a condo, but the process of actually finding one to buy is starting to drive me nuts. I just want to find one already, lol. I have a feeling I will go through the same sentiment as you when I start Operation Mortgage Payoff. I have a crazy plan already to pay off my future mortgage on the to be found condo in four years.

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17 J. Money May 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

Thanks for all the tips so far guys, it’s helping me little by little today :) Even though I’m still quite not “there” yet…

@Jennydecki – Interesting way to think about it, thanks Jen :) I do tend to forget a baby is *forever*, haha…
@Jenn – Well, it’s definitely NOT our forever house that’s for sure. I’d like to have been out of it yesterday! haha…
@Matt – That’s not a bad idea at all though – cuz it satisfies both key elements here: Cash and payoff! I really really like that actually… might run it by the mrs ;) I don’t think it would be hard to part with it either once time comes if it’s dedicated to the mortgage pay off plan like that, but then again I didn’t think it would be all too had paying $2k every month either… good for you guys on throwing in $3,500 – that’s great!
@SMB – I’m def. saving some interest right now, that’s for sure. Probably not as much if I were to be investing it all instead of saving it, but then again that’s not one of the options on the plate anyways… I want more cash or no mortgage ;)
@Marilyn – Haha… already went the moped route once! :)
@Michelle – Oh yeah? Is the payment plan for all those loans going well so far? How do you stay so motivated?
@#Mrbudgetguy – Oooh look at you! Great quotage – I like that ;) And deep down I know you’re 100% right too – I just gotta get it back in my head and make sure it really is a top priority still right now. Which I’m 99.9% sure it is.
@Rachel211 – Yeah, that’s another way to do it. And if I weren’t so hardcore with going “all out” I’d probably consider it, haha…
@Jon B – I like that plan a LOT :) In fact, I think as soon as I post this up I’ll go for a quick walk in the rain right now. That’s always the most relaxing time of any part of my day!
@Money Beagle – Haha… well, it would def. go from “awesome” to “puny” in the mortgage department, but if I stopped the debt payments my SAVINGS dept would go from “puny” to “awesome!” Haha… guess it just depends on what’s more important in the end, eh?
@Den – YES!! That’s exactly what I need — to put on my big boy pants! Haha… I love it. “Suck it up” as they say, eh? I really like the idea of celebrating after $20,000 too – that would be two months from now if I kept going :)
@Ginger – No, I’m not! Never even heard that 1% rule before, but I kinda like it :) That would mean I’d have to set aside $250/mo towards this maintenance fund, interesting… I guess right now I just have an emergency fund along w/ other cash reserved stashed away for stuff, so whenever they pop up I just pull from there right away… but I know emotionally it would feel a helluva lot better just separating it out like that, since that’s what it should only be used for anyways… I’ll keep it in mind, thanks :)
@Aaron – I know. It “should” provide outstanding motivation, but I’m slowly getting LESS motivated as the months tick by :( My emotions are beating out the facts right about now, that’s the problem.
@becca – Thanks Becca :) That’s a great idea about taking a trip, and we actually do have a mini one planned at the end of the month (for our anniversary). I might need you to re-emphasise all this though once the baby is here as I’m sure I’ll be all kinds of loco! Haha…
@Leigh – WOW!!!! That’s great!!! Not many people plan on their mortgage payoff BEFORE they get the mortgage, haha… that is awesome :) And you’re right – I’d much rather go looking around at condos all day long and finding the perfect one than trying to pay it off, that’s the fun part!

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18 bogofdebt May 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

I’d say keep on going with how you are doing. Reward yourself at some intervals or take a break if you need to keep yourself focused. Maybe do a every other month thing–pay an extra payment one month and than put money into savings the next month.

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19 car May 21, 2012 at 11:08 am

Have you thought about concentrating how close you are to paying off the second smaller mortgage? Maybe take a reward month once you pay that sucker off to give you more motivation to tackle the second bigger one.

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20 LB May 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

It depends on the situation really… is this your forever home, because if it isn’t ditch it. At least that is what I would do, but I am not quite sure you should use my advice today. I don’t know your whole situation and have been up at 4am for 2 days with little sleep. Maybe take it all in and look at the advice over a week. You might just be freaking out over the new baby or feel stuck in a house that is getting under your skin. Either way I would wait and think about all of it. I guess even tired, cranky me can end on a good note of advice :)

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21 CDH May 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

I would not be doing this unless I was 100% sure I was staying in that house forever. Right now you’re just paying interest. What happens if you have a few more kids and need more space?

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22 stephanie May 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

Ginger is right on the money! I put $400 a month away in a self named “house repair account”. In fact all my accounts are names eg. vacation, kids, mgt payoff, fun$, savings etc etc in fact I have 10 accounts for all the different things in my life. So when my skylight leaks and the bill is $900, no emotion involved cuz the $$$ there, and when theres 2k in the vacation account Cuba here I come! (I’m Canadian =) Keep paying off your mgt, you can do it and you know you can, but a budget should be flexable and a baby is expensive.

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23 Matt May 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm

“@Matt – That’s not a bad idea at all though – cuz it satisfies both key elements here: Cash and payoff! I really really like that actually… might run it by the mrs ;) I don’t think it would be hard to part with it either once time comes if it’s dedicated to the mortgage pay off plan like that, but then again I didn’t think it would be all too had paying $2k every month either… good for you guys on throwing in $3,500 – that’s great!”

Also, I bet that that we end up saving even more than expected becasue of the safety net of moving the money to a cash account versus straight to the mortgage. I feel that we can really push our budget but was wary of transferring too much to the house for the “just-in-case” moments. Now with it going into a cash account we will have the stability of knowing its there and be able to be more aggresive knowing that it is accessible.

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24 Rich Uncle EL May 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

IF you see yourself living there for forever then keep going, but if not then I would not keep giving as much to the mortgage principle. Another thing to consider is if you don’t see yourself living their forever then maybe you can rent it out and have somebody else pay the mortgage for you. In my opinion I would put 1K towards mortgage and 1K towards your dividend stock portfolio. That way you can hedge against underwater property values and diversify yourself more.

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25 Kurt @ Money Counselor May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

J., it’s a tough spot. I might do this strategy, because I think it would have great psychological effects: Cut in half your extra mortgage payments until the value of your home is at last rising again. Then crank it back up to the $2000 (or more) extra your paying now. You’ll be motivated by the big increase in your equity every year: $24,000 in extra principal + $XXXX increase in your home’s value.

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26 Joe @ Retire By 40 May 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Keep pushing through it. I’m sure you’ll feel better after all the broken stuffs are repaired. We are paying $700 extra per month and yeah, I feel your pain. Someday the housing market will recover and you will have much better equity.

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27 Pasadena May 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Keep your eyes on the target, instead of looking at the path. Your house being underwater really don’t mean anything, as long as you’re not planning on selling it. And it’s not going to stay underwater that long IF you keep making those extra payments. Keep the big picture in mind, and while on that journey, keep looking at the whole numbers. Paying $2000 more every month, how many years will you gain on your mortgage ? How much time until your home is completely yours and you can get the cash flow back without feeling guilty ?

Do you have an excel sheet with those numbers ? A nice graph that keeps going in the right direction would help you when the nasty little evil of debt creeps up your shoulder.

What would you *really* do with $2000 a month ? Would you *really* save them or use them to build wealth ? Because that’s what you’re doing now.

Something that also usually help me is thinking of / talking to my future self. Ask yours. Ask him if he’d be happier with mortgage payments, or with a debt-free life AND $2000 a month to play with.

You could also give yourself a goal and a break : wait for, say, one or two month, see if the nasty little evil is gone. If he’s not, send only $1000 to your mortgage that month, and keep $1000. Might be that this month-long break will calm him down ;-)

Do NOT act on your emotions. Calm down, wait for a while, and reassess. Your suffered loss with your cat and fish, you’re likely on a emotional roller-caster right now that makes you loose momentum, and loose sight of your goals…

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28 J. Money May 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm

This is so good, guys! Keep it coming!!

@bogofdebt – Yeah, I’m now thinking of maybe hitting $20k in two months, and then taking a 1 month break and regrouping. Then maybe going again for 5 or 10 more months and doing the same?
@car – YUP! I’m *only* concentrating on that 2nd mortgage right now actually – all $2,000 goes right to its principal, which really helps out. Since THAT number goes down a lot faster than the damn 1st mortgage, haha…
@LB – Haha… well, I def. don’t want to be living here any longer than I don’t have to be, but either way I’ll still owe the money for it no matter what, eh? Only way not to is either have it paid off 100%, or sell it and start over again – something which I think about every single day, but not ready to do yet. Appreciate you stopping by even though you’re bleary eyed!
@CDH – The $2,000 is actually going to *principal* only, not interest :) But you’re right – we don’t want to live here forever, but we still owe the money no matter what :(
@stephanie – Oooh look at you go! I def. like that plan of splitting it all up that way for sure, but man – the idea of having so many accounts open also sucks :( I’m trying to minimalize everything – even my financial stuff – so that part of me says to stay still since emotionally that part helps a lot too… but I give you credit for being able to pull it off!
@Matt – That’s true! Or you end up slacking more and not being as frugal cuz you see so much money sitting in those accounts ;) I know I’ve certainly allowed myself to be less frigid now that we have money saved up like that, but I also like to relax every now and then too! Haha…
@Rich Uncle EL – Yeah, we’re gonna go that “renting out” method as soon as we figure out *where* we’d like to live instead (the main problem we’re having right now). But even then we still owe all that money :( Although if we bought or rent again I’d also need to preserve as much capital as possible to make sure we’re all smooth with two places we owe on now, which gives me the heebie jeebies even more… ugh.
@Kurt @ Money Counselor – Huh. Now that’s something I haven’t thought about yet! Even if we pay enough down until we at least break even, I think my motivation would get pumped up a lot more too – which in our case would mean an additional $32,000 left to go right now. Or 16 more months of $2k payments, hmmm… I’ll def. think about it!
@Joe @ Retire By 40 – Oh man, I can’t even imagine how much different that would be. In the 5+ years we’ve owned all we’ve known is a crap market! So that would be awesome :)
@Pasadena – Thanks so much – I need to hear this!!! You’re right – I’m totally an emotional basket case right now – too many (big) things happening at the same time and not enough positive to offset it all :( I like the idea of tracking it all more in a spreadsheet too – I have not done that yet, although I do know that if we keep pushing forward as we have been, we’ll be completley mortgage free in a little over 9 years :) It’s just still way too far off to really comprehend it all… I think I will be taking a 1-month break though once we hit $20k paid off – in two months. That might help give us a little more cushion, while also taking a break from being so hardcore too. Any more than that I may lose motivation, but we’ll see. Appreciate the help!

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29 Ron @ Fringe Village May 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Are you all in on this single goal? Maybe scaling back would make you feel better. Maybe something like $1,500 towards your mortgage and the remaining $500 in savings or towards a different goal.

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30 stephanie May 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Get the bank to auto transfer the funds every payday to each named account. When (not if) the balance in each account reaches my pre-set maximum, the excess gets tsf to my mgt principle. Its really a no brainer once you’ve set it up. My online “banking” takes 10 minutes a month. The safety net feels fantasic and so does the 16k I’ve put on the mgt this last year:)

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31 SavvyFinancialLatina May 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Keep going! It would be a great example for us youngsters!!!

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32 Michelle M. May 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Way back when you started this I think the majority of us said you should direct the extra to the higher rate loan. Maybe switch to that for a while? You will see more progress and it may make it feel fresh again.

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33 Andrea @ Smart Step Personal Finance May 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Keep going you can do it!

Don’t let yourself talk you out of reaching a goal you want. It can be too easy when we begin to see progress to talk ourselves out of what we want because it is new and unfamiliar territory.

When I am tackling a big project and hit the middle point I will allow myself a tiny break, to breath and then keep going. So in a weight loss setting this might be taking one day off of a workout or having an extra cocktail. But then the next day it is game on and back to the workout. I find that this helps me release a bit of the stress and pressure and come back at it refreshed. You could consider doing one month of $1,000 extra payment to take some pressure off and then go right back to the $2,000 next month.

Good Luck!

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34 Brian May 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Tell ya something good huh? I’ve got one…

In a little more than a month you’ll be a dad! That sounds pretty good to me!

And there is nothing better than teaching your baby that debt sucks (of course the baby won’t understand this for years, but maybe they will get some of it via osmosis).

I vote to keep dumping the extra 2K at the mortgage!

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35 Call Me What You Want Even Cheap May 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I know it gets hard, I went through something similar when I was paying off my mortgage. I broke my mortgage down into increments of $25k and celebrated once I payed down $25k.

Since you have a little one on the way. Let that be your motivation as well!

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36 Edward Antrobus III May 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm

What to do when running out of steam. That is a tough dillemma. I obviously wouldn’t use my primary tactic, which has worked so poorly for me: give up.
Maybe you could take the tao path? Split the difference. Instead of paying off $2k each month and watching your cash flow stagnate or stopping altogether, pay off $1k each month and save the rest for a rainy day (with a kid, there will be plenty of rainy days!)

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37 MoneySmartGuides May 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I take a break personally, but that works for me and may not work for you. Ideally, you have to know yourself and it sounds like you do. Therefore, you know what you should do!

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38 Lance@MoneyLife&More May 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Do what works for you! I’d say keep going because once you stop you’ll probably find good ways to spend the money. If you keep going you’ll stay used to your current cash flow. I think it would be a slippery slope if you skipped more than 1 payment.

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39 Fifi May 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I agree 100% with Matt at the top. I split my savings into three different accounts: Emergency (can’t touch it), savings (for trips and stuff), and loans/investment. Once a year, I take the loans/inv acct and pay extra towards my student loan or put it to investments, whichever gets me the most money historically.

You could do something similar and you would have the option of cash if you need it or big lump pay off if you don’t.

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40 DC May 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm

To be honest, trash the goal :0

Life is all about change. The reality is, Paying down $2k/month on your house is great but just paying the minimum and stashing the rest in a savings account is probably the right choice. Here’s 2 reasons why:

1) An opportunity might come along that requires some extra cash. You will miss that opportunity because u sunk extra $ into the mortgage.

2) If you really wanted to, you could take that extra $ in the savings account and just pay it all towards the mortgage one day. The only difference is that the $ will be liquid while your extra cash put into the mortgage is not.

Ultimately it’s your choice, I just know what I would do.

-DC

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41 Emily May 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Keep going! But don’t beat yourself if you don’t hit $2k each month. We set a hard number each month and got pissy with ourselves if something came up and we couldn’t meet that goal. Sometimes we sent less, sometimes we sent more, but we kept at it!

We actually just paid our house off a month ago, and while I’m nervous at how little savings we have compared to ‘mortgage days’ I’m thrilled to be mortgage free, and it was worth all the toiling away to make it happen!

Good luck!

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42 Erik May 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

@DC But if he ditches the goal to stash up money he is essentially losing money if the place he is stashing it is not giving him at least the same return as his current mortgage rate. With savings accounts returning less than 1% the only other place where he could get that kind of return would likely be the stock market which isn’t a sure think.

Stick with it J. Money! Just set it to automatically take it out and you’ll stop thinking about it every month. Your current budgets are likely based on the $2k a month being gone anyway, if you change it up you’re just going to end up using the money on something far less productive.

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43 Evan May 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Why all or nothing J? Why not do 1K one month and put 1K into a “Future Project Fund” Maybe that future project is another business or rental property…or maybe you build it up for 5 months and then dump it in…

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44 Shannon-ReadyForZero May 22, 2012 at 1:52 am

What about trying to balance more? You could take a little off the top that $2,000 you’re paying each month to put into savings. That way you’re paying down your mortgage quicker than if you just paid the minimum payment while also growing your savings account. P.S. Congrats on how much you’ve paid so far, that’s amazing! Don’t lose steam, you’re doing great!

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45 KS May 22, 2012 at 11:58 am

I’m surprised why no one has mentioned this. Why don’t you refinance? It would make a lot more sense and then continue with the mortgage payoff, since rates are below 4%. Conventional wisdom says that it would make sense for a financial guru such as yourself. Especially since your current rate is at 5.5% Maybe you should run the figures and show us if it is a good idea or not?

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46 J. Money May 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

@Ron @ Fringe Village – I am “all in,” but I also admit it’s not always the best route to take… I may end up tweaking it down the road, like you mentioned, if my motivation continues to wane.
@stephanie – I don’t like to automate it cuz then I don’t “feel” it enough ;) The goods, or the bads (ie savings or paying off debt). I like to xfer the money myself so I am fully invested, if that makes sense? I’m jealous of those who CAN do it though so smoothly, tha’s awesome!
@SavvyFinancialLatina – I’m trying!! :)
@Michelle M. – Hmm.. yes, more progress as far as interest saved, but less on the overall “chunk” I’m trying to pay off :( One of the reasons it took me so many years to start paying it off was I couldn’t imagine trying to knock away $290,000. But $70,000 was more manageable. So I think I still have to stay w/ the emotional route here, as the latter just deflates me entirely :( Good idea though! I’m impressed you remember all that :)
@Andrea @ Smart Step Personal Finance – That’s true! Instead of cold turkey one month, just split in half and then get right back out there? I could probably do that :)
@Brian – Haha, thanks bro.
@Call Me What You Want Even Cheap – I like that! $25k chunks is much better than $60k chunks – bleh.
@Edward Antrobus III – I think you’re right there. At least every now and then to maybe do that?
@MoneySmartGuides – Haha.. yes, in theory I do :)
@Lance@MoneyLife&More – Me too. I guess the risk is just trying to skip ONE, and then going right back into it and seeing if I indeed do that. I’d never try to skip more than one cuz then I KNOW I’d be a lost cause, haha…
@Fifi – Yeah, for sure. That idea is def. a cool one :) Although I guess you *do* end up paying more in interest in the long run I feel like? Rather than paying it down every month? Guess that’s the trade off.
@DC – Well, usually I agree with you, but that’s what I’d been doing for over 4 years and it got me to *never* pay down the mortgage ;) So I made the conscious choice to start diverting the money from savings to mortgage so I could work on it once and for all. But I will say the only way it makes me comfortable still doing that, even w/out the motivation, is because I DO have a nice stockpile of cash around in case any new opportunities arise. So unless that part dwindles a lot over time, it’s probably not enough to switch my mindset over completely. I do agree with that thinking overall though :)
@Emily – Wow!!! That’s so cool!!! And now you don’t even *need* that much income any more cuz you’ve got rid of the #1 expense – woohoo! Good for you guys :) I am thoroughly impressed, and a tad bit more motivated now – THANK YOU!
@Erik/b> – True true, though I do still like manually paying it off cuz it does put things in better perspective for me :) I probably will stick with this route for a little longer though unless I REALLY get pissed off, haha…
@
Evan – Cuz that’s how my mind works :( Sometimes it works well, and others not so much. I’ll agree it’s not the best mentality to have though, so we’ll see what happens.
@Shannon-ReadyForZero – Thanks! I’m trying not to! :)
@KS – Not an option – too underwater to be able to refi :( BUT, I did last year off a fluke (in my opinion) which got my rates down from 6.875% to 5.5% on that 1st mortgage! But it was from the same bank I had – which I guess is why I was able to do it? – and can’t do it again anytime soon…. if I can nix that 2nd mortgage completely though I can THEN go for a refi! Which is def. in the game plan :)

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47 Long May 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Sorry I’m kind of late to the game, but I’m sort of in the same shoes as you. We have a baby on the way and were in the process of paying down our debt. We recently paid off a car loan and were about to pay off one of my wife’s student loans in full. However, after having a discussion about the debt, reserves, and the upcoming delivery, we decided that it would be a good thing to keep that extra cash around for a couple of months. It’s just to make sure we’ll be solvent in case she needs to stay home a little longer than expected or if there is an unforeseen emergency with the newborn. I think you’re going to be fine if you skip a few months and have the discipline to restart later.

On a side note, I think it’s pretty awesome that you haven’t missed a day of blogging over the past few years. I’m just getting started and it is tough to find the motivation some days, so I really do applaud your drive.

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48 Bobbi May 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm

I must be misunderstanding something…don’t you have 70k in savings….9k in e fund plus all your investments and retirement accounts? The way you are talking it sounds like you have 5k in the bank instead of almost 100k….. I went back and double necked your may update and my numbers seem correct. Sure you have had a few house repairs but those honestly seem pretty normal to me and nothing to panic over. Hello home ownership. I understand the baby freak out as we have a two year old.. My advice isntomkeep plugging until the smaller mortgage is gone at least. Yes…babies are expensive but they don’t have to break the bank. A lot of that depend on you… Eventually your baby will be 5 and you will still owe on the mortgage….or a second one will be on the way and you will still owe on the mortgage. That is the time when you will be very happy to have the freedom. To me what is more important is freedom to make choices… And no debt gives you that freedom.

also, I am curious as to what level of savings you feel comfortable with? Almost 80k in cash and no other debt is pretty comforting to me.

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49 J. Money May 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm

@Long – Thanks man :) I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard sometimes! But what I do is tap my “reserves” of ideas in a draft email so anytime I’m clueless as to what to write about, usually looking in there for an idea to stand out helps. As well as checking out what other bloggers are writing about lately too. I’m sure you’ll find a way that works well for you over time :) Oh, and I agree that there’s no harm taking a break too from paying debt off in your situation, esp if you can stay motivated afterwards. We’ll see how our new babies treat us!

@Bobbi – You’re totally right :) We do have a lot of savings stashed away, which I’m personally pretty comfortable with, but the concoction of my wife’s worries, as well as having an incredibly unstable “job” here with making money online, def. gets us to slow down some times and keep making sure we’re on the right track. If I could look in a crystal ball and see that we wouldn’t need to tap our cash reserves that often over the next 10 years, then I’d gladly keep pushing forward to Operation No Mortgage land. There’s just too many things that can stop us on a dime that we have to be aware of.

All that being said though, I do agree with the entire outlook of financial freedom :) And I agree it’s better to just rip off the bandaid and keep on going so we can reach that point a lot sooner than later – just a matter of staying motivated and aware of everything at all times, so we’ll see.

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50 bobbi May 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Maybe an idea is to come up with a set level of savings… For example… say 65K…. and you commit to keeping it at that level. That way you have a ‘plan’. You continue to pay for repairs and pay down mortgage and whatever while your savings remain at that level. If it dips below that you stop the mortgage plan and throw everything back in savings until you get back to your original 70K. This way you have a PLAN. When x happens you do y. You know how you are going to deal with it. That may give you peace of mind. My opinion is that you could have a million dollars in the bank and all the ‘what ifs’ would still float thru your head freaking you out. No matter how much you have in the bank there is always some weird thing that can happen and wipe you out. All that being said I advocate planning and responsibility to a large degree – but not at the expense of paralyzing you from moving forward with other goals. If you push thru and pay off the smaller mortgage than that is a lot of cash flow you free up and will be amazing on its own.

Good Luck! Trying to figure out where to put an extra 2K a month is a wonderful problem to have!

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51 J. Money May 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

i like that!!! a lot!!!! and for some reason I kinda *thought* I was doing that already, but obviously not, haha… my “number” kept shifting around in my head ;) I’m gonna think about this for a bit and see if we want to go this route – thanks for the idea! I really REALLY like it. And if I end up blogging about it, I’m totally giving you a good shout out ;) Happy Memorial day!

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52 slinky June 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

When I have trouble keeping focused on something like this, I focus on the why. are you doing this because you “should” or because it gets you something you want? I’m saving for a house so that we can have our own place and my husband can start his business and do what he loves. So we have more room. So we can have a garden. So we can have quiet. So we can paint. So we can get a dog. So I can have a craft room. So I can play my piano at three in the morning if I want. A million reasons why that money needs to go where it goes. Why do you need to pay of that second mortgage? So you can refi and move and rent it out and get passive income? So you can move and have room for future children? To lower your expenses and spend more time with you’re kids? To refi and lower your expenses to go on a fabulous vacation?

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53 J. Money June 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

I like it!!

I want to pay off our 2nd mortgage so I can get closer to paying off the 1st one.
And so we can refi the 1st one.
And so we can have one less worry in the future
And so we don’t need to work as much down the road so we can spend more time with family and other things that are important to us :)

My ultimate goal is to have zero large expenses forever so we can spend our time exactly how we like it without any worry at all about money… perhaps I need to print this out and put it on my wall as a reminder! :)

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54 slinky June 12, 2012 at 11:42 am

Glad that helped! I noticed that this post was all about what you were doing, but never touched on the why, which meant you probably needed a reminder. :)

its worked so well for me i’ve had to come up with an anti house list of all the reasons I cannot yet buy a house. It mostly consists of I will not end up in so and so’s position. So many examples of how and when NOT to buy a house!

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55 J. Money June 14, 2012 at 9:33 am

Haha I KNOW!!! I have a mental list of the same thing but unfortunately I already fell for it! Haha… but at least I’ll know better for next time ;)

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