Wednesday, February 27, 2013

that's a lot of zeros

This is my go to FREEEDOM picture. Circa 2009.

I will never be one of those crazies on the Dave Ramsey radio show who call in for the sole purpose of screaming at the top of their lungs about paying off debt. But, I am constantly amazed how sticking to a budget and debt payoff plan works.

In April, we paid off our second mortgage. We'd already been living without my entire paycheck so we decided to keep on living without it. Surprise, surprise it paid off.

Today we'll pay off the hubs' $28,000 student loan, something we accomplished in 10 months. And for kicks, we paid off another $7,000 student loan by pulling from our savings.

Add the $28,000 second mortgage, a $8,500 car loan and a $2,000 credit card (I made $25K after college. A girl has to eat.) paid off since 2010.

That's a lot of money, yo.

But all that allows me to work part time without having to contract for other jobs and actually spend time building trains and swinging at the park. It means we can refinance the condo to lock in a low interest rate and pay that sucker off in 15 years. Or sell it before then, which is now my candle-blowing-out wish.

We can start funding Shea's retirement and save for a house.

Plus, I finally got my MacBook. So I think it's all worth it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

reducing chaos

The last six weeks have been all about reducing chaos in this house, which also meant using the time before grad classes started again to accomplish the chaos reduction rather than blogging, Facebooking and all sorts of time wasting fun.

So if you recall, one of the Happiness Project rules I adopted was no one else should have to participate in my project and I would only focus on the things that I could actually control. The first project was getting rid of those things that had the ability to turn a good day bad.

First I unsubscribed from email lists. Opening my email inbox every morning to 40 emails of sales, deals and quotes for my day sucked up time and added annoyance. Especially when I never actually take advantage of the sales.

Next I moved stuff in the house where it made sense. We had Henry's bibs stored in his dresser on the other side of the house from the dining room. Now they are in our hutch steps away from his highchair.  I reorganized the kitchen with the same idea in mind, moving the double boiler I only use at Christmas time to a high shelf and cleared a place next to our plates for Henry's rather than stacking the on top of each other and having to move the whole tower each time.

I got rid of excess clothes taking a car load to Goodwill, threw away the old toiletries that had expired and recycled old magazines. Our Tupperware situation was dire and I had been wanting to switch away from plastic anyway, so we spent the money to get nice glass and stainless steel containers.

I bought Rubbermaid totes to replace our cardboard boxes for Christmas decorations. I got a new phone charger so I was no longer propping the cord up with books so it'd be at the right angle to actually charge. Serious happiness roadblock.

It's all the things I wanted to do but never actually got on the list. It's definitely taught me to take the extra five minutes to think more logically through my organization and be comfortable with spending money when it makes the small things easier.

When the small things are easier, the big things seem to feel less big.