I just couldn't stand it, I had to make a mortgage chip! I decided to pay an extra $35.28, just to make the balance a nice round number. Yes, I need to be saving cash. But, it made me happy, so I did it!
Things have been going very well with BF and I. I enjoy his company so very much. I know getting his mom's house ready to sell has been so hard for him, but he is powering through. Of course, when you gut the kitchen all the way down to the studs in the walls, it often takes longer than expected to get everything done. But, the house is almost there. I will take pics this weekend and post them.
My mother is considering booking a cruise for 4. This particular trip sails from LA and visits Cabo, Puerta Vallarta, and Mazatlan. It is a 7 day trip. My mother wants to do this trip with J, yours truly, nephew, and herself. The price is quite reasonable at $499 + port tax of $95, per person. I know I said no more vacations until after my next car is paid for, but I'm not going to turn down a trip someone else is offering to me. I will have some costs of course. I told her I would pay for the gratuity and to park my car for a week. I will also probably pay for our gas down and back. I may pay for J to do a fun excursion or two, depending on what is offered.
Viewing the 'Mortgage' Category
I just couldn't stand it, I had to make a mortgage chip! I decided to pay an extra $35.28, just to make the balance a nice round number. Yes, I need to be saving cash. But, it made me happy, so I did it!
Cash is down.
Debt is down.
Investments are down.
Home value estimate is up.
Car Fund Update:
I received $4.25 from HauserNet and added that to car fund. With that deposit plus yesterday's interest, it is up to $383.72
Credit Card Rewards Update:
My Wells Fargo Home Rewards Visa still gets some use. It automatically redeems in increments of $25. When the billing cycle closed last week, sufficient rewards were available and so $25 was applied to my mortgage balance. So, I made another mortgage chip despite myself.
In chippy news, I have recently received:
1. $160 from my part-time job.
2. $8.67 from Bill Me Later*
3. $1.00 found on the sidewalk.
I have sent all of that off to my mortgage, bringing the balance down to $173,000.43.
*I opened a "Bill Me Later" account through PayPal at some point. A couple of months ago, I bought a dress via Bill Me Later. I paid the bill in full, but never received the dress. Eventually, the store cancelled my order as the dress was out of stock. They promptly refunded me in full to my PayPal account. PayPal immediately sent my money off to Bill Me Later, resulting in a credit balance. I decided I didn't want to have the account if that is how it automatically works. So, I bought a few CDs on Second Spin, then asked Bill Me Later to close my account and send me a refund of my remaining credit balance.
I am off on a road trip on Saturday. Yay! I love a good road trip. The itinerary includes Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Little Bighorn, Arches, Great Basin, and Bryce Canyon. If we run out of time, we will skip one or both of the Utah parks.
Redeemed another $19.12 in credit card rewards this morning from Capital One Quicksilver, and sent that off to my mortgage.
I did apply for that Wells Fargo Amex, but my application status is "pending". If I am approved, that will be a sweet mortgage chip.
Since my PITI payment changes as of June 1, I changed my automatic payment. I increased it from $1130 to $1135, so with the TI decrease, there will be an additional $54.36 going to principal each month.
I received $160 from my part-time job yesterday, and have sent that off to E Fund. E Fund is pushing 7k now, and will go over when my automatic deposit of $100 hits later this month.
Last weekend, a pool repair guy fixed the heat pump on BF's hot tub. On Saturday night, I got to enjoy a nice soak. It was the first time I had ever been in that hot tub, after nearly 5 years of dating! It was so lovely. I did not want to get out!
Three weeks ago, the plumber got the bathtub in the master bath all connected. That bathtub is a big L, built for two. So, I have enjoyed a few nice long soaks in the bathtub as well. There is a floor to ceiling window next to the bathtub, and outside is a nice walled garden. It is a bathtub fit for a Calgon commercial! I have been salivating over that bathtub since I first saw it, lol.
The kitchen was completely gutted the week before last, so the new stuff should have been going in this week. I guess I will see in a few days.
I am about to lend BF a little more money. His HOA dues are very delinquent, to the point foreclosure is a possibility. Hopefully, it will only be a few months until the house sale closes. He will be out from under that expensive house which he cannot afford, and I will get all of my money back.
Here is a pic I took last weekend of the pool room. The sliding glass doors on the right separate the pool room from the master bedroom. The sliding glass doors on the end lead to the back yard. The living room and kitchen also have large sliding glass doors to the pool room, so that the pool room can be viewed throughout the house. In the left foreground, you can see the top of the wall separating the pool from the hot tub. Further left out of view, are more sliding glass doors leading out to the patio. In the right foreground, you can see the bar. It is a horseshoe shape, with one side extending into the pool, complete with underwater barstools. The other side extends into a small pit, you walk down stairs into the pit and sit at the counter. The bartender then has access to both sides, so s/he can serve swimmers and non-swimmers alike. You cannot see the guest suite, complete with balcony, which is upstairs so overhead where I stood when I snapped this picture. What a house! So soothing and relaxing, and great for throwing parties.
Edit: And those rocks in the rear left there are a waterfall. The water was not on when I snapped this pic.
My Discover statement closed today, and I had used the card enough to redeem my $150 bonus. So, I applied an extra $150 to my mortgage principal, and should receive a direct deposit from Discover within 72 hours. They will only redeem in increments of $50, but I had $158.04 in rewards. They will just have to sit there waiting for a good 5% bonus category. Otherwise, I won't be using Discover.
Now I am on the lookout for my next bonus offer.
So far in 2014, I have redeemed $328.11 in credit card rewards and applied every last cent to mortgage principal. I wonder if I can make it to 1k this year? I would need some more sweet bonus offers to make that happen, so we will just have to see.
My lender has conducted their annual analysis, and the news is good. I have in my hand a check for $146.72, which I will apply to my mortgage balance tomorrow. And beginning June 1, my PITI payment is decreasing from $1111.38 to $1080.64. I will continue to pay $1130 and enjoy a bit more going towards principal.
This is due primarily to my new homeowner's insurance policy being cheaper than my last one. Shopping your insurance provider pays.
Last week I received $4.50 from Hausernet, it went off to the mortgage.
Today is payday, and I have $6 in my wallet to throw at the mortgage.
I tallied up my spending in January, and I was mostly successful. I will post once January is truly over.
Today is the day that love comes to town (song lyric reference). BF should be here tonight.
I keep waiting for MsM180 to update her blog. She reached an exciting milestone about a month ago, and has some other news being discussed and arranged.
I don't think I have talked about it much, but I suffer from a recurring cough. This has been going on for about three years now. I start getting a little coughy for a week or so, then it develops into a full-blown deep, hacky, unproductive cough. I cough day and night. It lasts 2 - 3 months. It starts in late summer and continues until mid-October. It starts again in January and lasts through late March. (Yep, I am coughing now). I have seen my GP, a pulomonologist, an ENT, and am currently seeing an immunologist.
While I am coughing, I often cough until I feel light-headed and disoriented. Sometimes I cough myself into a pounding headache. Sometimes I cough so hard I trigger my gag reflex and vomit. It is exhausting to cough so much. I don't get enough rest because I wake up coughing through the night.
Yesterday I picked up yet another new Rx, and my share of cost was $180! It does seem to be offering some limited relief, so I'm not going to complain about the price.
This week I received $3.50 from Hausernet for decoy mail, and netted $7 from a wallet sweep. Both sums have already been sent off to the mortgage.
I qualified for my latest $100 credit card reward bonus and have ordered the check. It has not arrived yet.
The reason I make an effort to earn credit card rewards is so that I can throw them at my mortgage. Last year, I didn't do a good job of catching them all. Some of them "melted". This year, I want to do much better; I want to catch them ALL.
This morning I logged on to my Capital One Quicksilver account and saw that I had $8.64 in rewards. I applied them to my balance. Next, I logged on to Wells Fargo's site and transferred $8.64 from checking to my mortgage.
I plan to make a habit of doing this once per month.
I am also planning to track my credit card rewards total in 2014. How much can I manage to earn? We will see.
YTD Credit Card Rewards: $8.64
Here we are in a brand new year. Happy 2014! I hope everyone here at SA has a very happy and prosperous year.
I cannot make my usual spreadsheets as I am having difficulty with my starter Excel product. It simply will not open. I have browsed online a bit and cannot find any free programs which don't have a million buggy programs attached. Does anyone have any tips?
I have reached a very happy milestone. My current home value, when I average Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia, is 176k. I owe 175k and change, which means I am officially not underwater! It feels sooooo good! I have been happy dancing around the room.
In mortgage chip news, I did a wallet sweep yesterday and had $9 to throw at the mortgage. Take that, mortgage.
Today I received a sweet $25 from Swagbucks in my PayPal account. It made a lovely little mortgage chip.
A few days ago, I received a check in the mail from Tango in the amount of $4.19. This was also courtesy of Swagbucks somehow, I believe a bonus paid for a particular offer a month or two ago. It also made a lovely little mortgage chip.
Yesterday I received $3 from PineCone and $3.50 from Hausernet, and have already applied those odd bits to my mortgage.
In recent expenditure news, I shelled out $165 plus tax for a new vacuum. It has 12 amps and seems to be doing a fine job. Also, I spent $50ish dollars to buy a mattress cover which protects the mattress from dust mites. My allergy doctor recommended it. After much mattress flipping and cover wriggling, MrsM180 and I successfully got the cover on my mattress.
Last week, I started allergy shots. I will be getting two a week for 10 weeks. After that, I will be getting one a week for some unspecified period of time, before I taper off further. I can't really tell a difference yet, but they said it would take awhile.
Tonight I made a trip to Staples to take advantage of that AmEx offer. I chose three $25 Shell gift cards, and expect a nice $25 statement credit. I was very tempted to get only two, and get a $25 Starbucks card as well. But, I didn't. I was strong.
An old, dear friend of mine from childhood e-mailed me yesterday. He attached some pics of the kids and I, taken 13 years ago when we were visiting him in Seattle. Oh, those sweet little faces, and arms still pudgy with baby fat. *sigh* Where did they go?
In Swagbucks news, I am really liking the new "first goals". It is much more achievable than the total goal. For me, anyway. I have hit it each day for the past 4 days. I'm going to try hard to hit it every day, for the winning streak bonus.
Today, my health insurance provider gave me a call to see if I would like to sign up to receive my prescriptions in the mail.
OK, this was low-hanging fruit. I should have done this YEARS ago. And I think I meant to, but just never did get around to making those phone calls.
I take 4 prescriptions. I make a trip to the pharmacy once per month to pick them up. My co-pay is $10 each, or $40 per month.
With the mail order service, I will receive 90 day supplies for $30 every three months. Yes, that's right, $30. One Rx is completely free of charge if I order it 90 days at a time. They even pay shipping.
Obviously, this must be saving my health insurance money too, or they wouldn't be calling me to ask if I want to switch.
In mortgage chip news, I received a $3 payment from Hausernet for April, which I have turned into a mortgage chip.
I've been daydreaming lately, looking at nice little condos in various locations online. I've been calculating the size of my nest egg under different scenarios. The more I contemplate my situation, the more I think that the biggest obstacle to my dreams is my negative home equity.
I've decided to increase my Simple IRA contributions to $250 per month, which is 3k per year. My employer's contribution will be another 1.5k. Together, that is approximately 9% of my annual gross (my gross including overtime and bonus).
I will continue my automatic monthly Roth contribution of $150 per month (1.8k per year), which is a bit more than 3% of my annual gross.
If I were to continue along at that rate until age 65, and assuming I enjoy 5% annual growth, I would end up with enough to live comfortably (though frugally) in my little condo, even with a small mortgage. If I enjoy a return greater than 5%, the picture only gets brighter.
So for now, that is all I will contribute. When I receive my annual overtime, tax season bonus, and Christmas bonus, none of it will go to retirement savings. Instead, I will focus on cash savings and my mortgage. I want to be in a position where I can sell my house whenever I decide the time seems right (without touching retirement savings). I have a long, long way to go to be in that position. So, wish me luck.
I have also recently decided to trim my cash allowance from $60 per pay period to $20. Too much of that money was being spent grabbing a sandwich or a latte. It wasn't good for my bottom line or my waistline. So, I have gotten back in the habit of keeping lunch foods at work.
I received $1.50 from Hausernet yesterday, and have already turned it into a mortgage chip.
This is the first time I have posted this since my last refinance. I haven't made much progress, but my credit card reward mortgage chips have helped a bit. As you can see, my last payment has been reduced from 874.38 to 414.41.
The credit card rewards post mid-month, so I include them on the next line. For example, that sweet $50 chip was applied on 6/18, but I included it on the line for the 7/1 payment.
Hard to believe it has been an entire year since my last refi, but it has.
Mom and I have booked our cruise. It is a 10 day Princess Cruise, sailing from San Francisco. That makes it so convenient, no flights. We will drive to my cousin's house, then have her drive us to the ship and take my car home. (She lives just a few small cities south of San Francisco). This is the same cruise my family of four took in 2005. Mom is paying, but I plan to choose one really nice excursion and pay for that.
I charged the trip to my WF rewards Visa, and Mom will give me a check. The statement just cut off without the cruise charge, and I have $22.78 in rewards. So May will be the first month since January that I have not had a $25 mortgage chip applied courtesy of my WF rewards card. In June, I expect I will have $50 applied, thanks to the cruise. Those rewards do add up nicely.
Two years ago I shared on this blog http://petunia100.savingadvice.com/2011/05/15/my-front-yard...about my plain front yard and the large hideously ugly planter which really has potential. I talked about my plans and my budget to make it look nice and add some curb appeal. Well, those plans have come to nothing in two years. Those darn rocks!
This past Monday as I got into my car at work, I looked to my left. In our parking area, there is a gap in the cement pad. Inspiration struck! Wouldn't it be nice to have that gap filled in, so that no one would accidentally run their tires off the pavement? And wouldn't rocks fill in that gap nicely? On Tuesday, I got the OK from my boss (he owns the property) and I have since been diligently working to fill in the gap. I own two buckets, so fill them with rocks from my front planter and place them in my trunk each evening. In the morning, when I arrive at work I empty them into the gap. So far this week, I have emptied 8 buckets full (on Thursday I had to run to a client's place of business which is close to my house, so I used the opportunity to fill up my buckets again) into the gap.
One of my co-workers commented that she could use some rocks in her yard, and would it be ok if she took some? I said no, but she was welcome to come to my house and help herself. So we will see if anything comes of that.
BF had suggested a while back that I make pavers using the rocks. I thought that was a great idea, until I looked into the cost. It is more expensive to make your own pavers than to just buy them.
And in worst neighbor ever news, I had a visit from the police last Saturday. When my nephew had the altercation with my neighbor, a condition of his probation is that he may not come within 100 yards of the neighbor. The police came to my door looking for nephew. The officer said neighbor had reported he heard nephew at my house. I replied no, nephew has not been here in more than a year, but my high school aged son had a friend from school spending the night, so perhaps that is who the neighbor heard. The officer was satisfied and left. I found this so creepy. Is the neighbor listening at our windows? You know, it really wouldn't surprise me. The lots in my subdivision are small and the houses are close together. So now I am thinking about what I could do along the fence line to provide more privacy.
Went to my notary appointment on Friday. The docs are signed, notarized, and shipped via Fedex. I won't close until June 29, but that's fine.
On Sunday, BF and I were doing some yard work, and he said to me "I have an idea. Why don't we use these rocks to make pavers?" What a good idea! I want some pavers, I don't want the rocks, and I want to spend as little as possible. All I need is cement mix and a form.
My daughter and son-in-law got their keys today. BF will be helping them move tomorrow while I am at work.
Work is so hectic right now. The other staff accountant is on vacation, so I am covering for her. We have hired a just-graduated-from-high-school girl to be our fill-in receptionist. She was off today, so I covered for her too. She will be there tomorrow though. In two weeks, the other staff accountant will be book at work and I will be off on my vacation! Can't hardly wait.
My sign-at-home mortgage docs arrived yesterday.
My new principal balance is $180,415.20. My new PITI payment is $1081.62.
Why the difference? Well, despite telling me they would transfer my existing impound account, they have added the funds for a new impound account to my balance. This means I will not have to make an additional deposit in a few months. It also means I will receive a refund from my existing impound account. The balance in the account is $1036.15.
If I look at my current principal balance, it is $178,617.49. The interest which will accrue in June will be $781.46. The new impound account is being funded with $1,243.47. Those three numbers add to $180,642.42, which is $227.22 less than the principal balance of my new mortgage. So, there really are no fees with this streamline refinance.
My AT&T contract is now up (on 2 of our 3 phones), so I went to Ting's website last night, intending to sign up. They have eliminated the simple flip phone! I did find a thread in their forums stating they have replaced the one they offered (a Vero) with a different simple flip phone (a Samsung m370). However, it does not appear on the screen as a choice. So I'm trying to find out what the deal is with that. My mother will not use a phone with a million buttons. She just wants something simple with large buttons.
I received my good faith estimate and some other documents. In 2-3 weeks, I should receive the loan docs in the mail. I need to sign and have them notarized (will make appt for this at the local WF branch), then send them back. I am supposed to close June 30th! They are adding on June's interest to my balance and I skip a payment in July. They will transfer my existing escrow account, so I will be short one monthly deposit (from skipping in July). They will do an analysis a month or so after closing, and I will need to send some money.
My new PITI is $1077.92.
My daughter found a house to rent in a small town about a 30 minute drive from here. Her father met with the realtor today to view it (he is a deputy, and is currently assigned nearby). He said the carpet is a bit worn, but otherwise it is a-ok. New appliances and linoleum, and clean. The realtor emailed the lease to her today, she will overnight it with the deposit, and they will hold the house for her until June 15. She should be moved in before then. Yay! They will stay with me for a day or two after they arrive from Indiana, but then will be moving into their rented house.
I did a wallet sweep today, and sent the proceeds ($4.62) off to CurveBall.
I found this blog recently, and am fascinated. This family of 4 lives on one part-time income. They paid 13k cash for their fixer-upper house in a very rural area.
I don't think I would like living in a town of 100 people unless a much larger town was close by. However, it makes me wonder...could I save up some cash and buy an inexpensive small home for myself? Like a little 900 sq ft place with hardwood floors built in the 40s? Hmmm.
I received an email from Vanguard today, they have received my Simple IRA money! The email states the funds will appear in my account balance tomorrow.
I spoke with my mortgage consultant today. She said my loan will fund June 30th and my first payment will be due August 1st. My loan balance should go up ONLY by the interest accrued in June. Of course, I could just pay it and not skip a payment in July. However, I believe I would rather use the money to pay off Citi MC and the start up costs to switch to Ting (cell phone service). This will improve my cash flow by $150 per month.
Dare I say it? Things are looking up over here.
My daughter texted me yesterday, the apartment complex has denied them. She has an eviction with money still owed from almost 3 years ago. She signed a 6 month lease, lived in the apartment for a month or so, then moved. She was shocked when they expected her to pay anyway, even though I had told her that was how it worked. She was barely 18. I might have done the same at that age.
So she was upset and says she doesn't know what they will do. A medical bill has drained their savings account, she says. I told her try to find a rental offered by a private party, not a property managment company. Even though they have bad credit, they have guaranteed income from the Army. If they look hard enough, they should be able to find a landlord who finds that attractive. I don't know what else to tell her. I don't want them moving in with me again, it never goes well. Also, I feel adults need to do what they can to make their own way, not do nothing and then wait to be rescued.
I haven't had a return call from the WF mortgage consultant who sent me that letter, so I e-mailed the woman who was doing my Harp 2 and asked her about it. This is part of her reply:
Yes, I just checked and your loan is now eligible for the 3 Step. I will have to cancel the loan we started and we can make the 3 Step no cost, live tomorrow.
Yay! Yay, yay, YAY!
She called me just now, too. My Harp 2 is being cancelled today, will be "dead" tomorrow, and we will open my 3 Step.
So I'm going from 5.25 to 4.125 with no closing costs, and a new 30 year loan.
I'm just going to stick with her, since she gets back to me and certain other people do not.
Today in the mail I received an offer from my lender (Wells Fargo) to do a streamline re-finance. It states the terms are based on my LTV of 147%. It says no application fee, no appraisal and no closing costs (no kidding). The rate is 4.125.
It was mailed to me by the same guy who did my loan last time, but who didn't return any of my phone calls when I was trying to find out more info about Harp 2.
The Harp 2 refi I have going on right now with Wells Fargo does have closing costs and the rate is 4.375.
Why didn't they mention this program before? The streamline refi is a much, much better deal! I am calling tomorrow.
Good news! It seems Harp 2 rates have come down a bit. Two months ago, I was offered 4.625% with no points. Today, I can get 4.375% with 1/4 of a point, approximately $450.00. I am moving ahead with the refi, which I am told will take approximately 60 days. This will drop my PITI approximately $150 per month, but reset my mortgage clock.
The month I skip a mortgage payment, I will pay Citi MC in full and just be done with it. That will free up an additional $50 per month.
What will I do with an additional $200 per month? I am thinking Roth and cash savings.
I sold my gift card this morning electronically on Card Pool, for $18.75. I lost an additional $1.25 in value, but don't need to mail in the actual card. This is convenient, since I no longer have it.
From the time I put in my sell order, to receiving an email that they had verified my balance and mailed my check, about 30 minutes.
My employer's retirement plan is a Simple IRA. It has been set up at Edward Jones. A few months ago, our plan advisor chose to leave Edward Jones and open his own investment firm. The two partners at our firm chose to follow him. They gave us employees (all two of us, the third employee does not participate) the option to follow, stay, or move our accounts elsewhere.
Well, it turns out Vanguard will accept "orphaned" Simple IRAs!! I started the paperwork process today. My Simple IRA is moving! I am so jazzed. No more front end loads, no more high expense ratios, and a reduction in annual fees from $40 to $25. Yay!! That means more of my money for me.
In other riveting news, I did a wallet sweep and chipped another $9.38 from my mortgage. What will the huge chunk of granite become as I chip away? Will it resemble Michelangelo's David? Hmmm.
To recap my situation, I bought my current house in November 2007 for 231,400. I put down 20% + closing, + had to make repairs out of pocket.
I feel regret pangs when I see what my home is worth today. It isn't so much the loss in value, it is the knowledge that had I waited a few years to buy, I could do so much better today.
Look at this place, in a very nice area:
Isn't it cute? It is the same size as mine now, with a smaller lot, in a better school district, with a community pool. 97k!!! If I were buying that today and putting the same amount of dollars down, I would have a mortgage of 51k. I would take a 15 or 10 year note, have smaller payments than I currently have, and be done paying YEARS sooner.
What a huge difference that would have made in my retirement plans!
Since time travel is regrettably not possible, there is nothing I can do about that. But I ponder, what CAN I do? Is there some way I can benefit from today's low home prices + low interest rates? Is there an opportunity here for me to add to my modest nest egg?
I am toying with the idea of seeing if I can qualify for an FHA loan, buy a house for 100k or so, rent out my current home, and wait for the day I can sell for enough to get out from under. FHA has a 3.5% + closing down 30 year fixed loan. I would have to pay PMI. I would need to scrape up 7k or so, which would have to come from a retirement account.
Of course, I would have to take a 30 year loan on the new place, not a nice 10 year loan. But the payments would be half of what I pay now. That is the advantage I see. The disadvantage I see is....I don't enjoy being a landlord.
In other news...I had another $2.43 available in my Lending Club account. I transferred and chipped it. I have less than $5 still owed to me, so Lending Club chips are approaching the end.
I sold a gift card on Plastic Jungle for $20. When I receive the check, I will chip that too.
When you are applying for a Harp 2 refi, that is when.
Rates dipped this morning so I contacted my mortgage consultant. I learned that Harp 2 loans are not market rate and do have a premium. This is not what I had understood her to say when we talked previously. I can get 4.625%, or 4.375% with a point. I said that unless I can shave at least 1 percent from my current rate with no points, I am not interested in doing a refi. She acknowledged that the current rates are not very beneficial to me. So unless rates dip quite a bit more, there is no refi in my immediate future.
I chipped the $10.00 I received from Hauser. Tomorrow is payday, so I did a wallet sweep and chipped an additional $7.01 from that.
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