This page may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosures for more info.
Hey there! Did February going well for you? I hope so. Our big payment of January was followed by a less stellar payment in February. We paid off $907 this month which is one of the lowest ever months of our journey. That said, we kept with it and paid for some necessary expenses we couldn’t delay. Life has to be lived.
What happened in February?
- Current balance: $57,477
- 26 months along
- Total paid off: $72,597
- 56% complete
- We’ve shortened our 30-year loan by 20 years, 6 months
- We’ve saved $68,105 in interest
The black line is the bank’s dreams. The green and coral line are ours. <3 It’s crazy to me to think we’d still have around $125,000 in debt if we only paid our minimum payment. What’s even crazier is that this journey in patience and getting rid of the mortgage is teaching us about delaying pleasure in lieu of something greater. I really believe I’ll be able to take more calculated risks if we always know we’ll have a roof over our heads and our most basic needs met.
Savings – $4,041
- 2,922 other savings
- 793 principal only payments
- 114 mortgage principal
- 212 post-tax retirement
- $4,041 total saved
We saved more this month than last month because we kept our expenses lower and worked extra hours at work. The hubby was an all star by putting in Saturday morning hours in at the office. I also worked extra since Nana offered to watch our daughter for a few days. This really helped us offset our high expenses this month. Nana’s visit’s are so special–most of all to the littlest member of our home.
The “other savings” category is money we saved to replenish our slush funds. We didn’t have the cash immediately to pay our high expenses, which is why we used slush fund money. We replenished those accounts and are back to baseline. It’s a good reminder that life has to be lived–in spite of goals sometimes. It’s part of the game and what makes it a challenge.
One of the important perspectives to remember is: we earn less than $100,000 a year gross. It could look like we “made” over $9,300 dollars this month, which wasn’t the case. We pulled money from our slush fund accounts to pay for our higher expenses listed below. Then, we reimbursed those accounts with savings that would’ve otherwise went to our mortgage debt. A typical month of expenses for us is between $2,500-$3,000, so this was much higher than what our income could have paid alone.
Below is the laundry list of expenses we had this month!
Spending – $5,311:
- 953 medical care 2018
- 923 vacation
- 800 cash envelopes for misc living expenses
- 725 maternal medical care 2019
- 625 car tires
- 360 daycare
- 309 utilities
- 283 insurance
- 180 mortgage interest
- 59 work expense*
- 41 family dinner with MIL
- 20 homeagain annual fee
- 20 soap / prenatal vitamins
- 8 Netflix
- 5 gym
- $5,311 spent
So much of our expenses went to medical care from this and last year. At least we’re paying our deductible early in the year, right?! All joking aside, our flex spending accounts will reimburse some of that spending, thankfully. I may or may not be on a first name basis with our insurance’s customer service since I’m tracking what is reimbursed and when.
One of my bigger themes was staying motivated. Months when less goes to debt are harder. It’s like a dieter who eats a cookie early in the day, then feels super guilty about it. So, they binge on other foods later because of one hiccup in the process.
Then, I think, “Awe, heck! This month is so screwed up. What’ll the difference be if spend an extra …?!” This spiral is not usually productive and can make the smallest of distracted spending moments into a full blown slow down.
My “defense” is to work extra hours and listen to motivational podcasts like the ole Uncle Dave Ramsey and read Mr. Money Mustache. These thinkers have wildly different thoughts about money and have helped remind me why we’re doing this. If paying off debt was easy, we wouldn’t have the levels of debt we do in American culture. It takes a certain amount of intentionality to refocus and redirect into a life that is harder in some ways but much more peaceful than others.
That time we planned a “babymoon”
We’ve been thinking about taking a babymoon trip since we found out we were pregnant. A babymoon is a last ditch trip some couples take before the newest little member of the family arrives.
Plan A was to drive to a nearby town and stay in a room rented through a popular hotel marketplace. Evidently, tourists were all over this like a bad rash! Rates cost over $150 per night, availability was sparse and many rooms had tacked on $125 “cleaning” fees, even if you stay 1-2 nights. Given the limited entertainment options there and the costs, we needed a Plan B.
Plan B was Las Vegas, NV which I originally thought would be unlikely. When we looked at the all-in costs, it was within a few hundred dollars of Plan A but included much more entertainment and excitement for us personally. Our costs for flights and hotels matched what Plan A’s room rental fees alone would have been.
We’re not big gamblers and don’t drink (since I’m pregnant), so it’s cheaper for us than it could be. Plus, there’s seemingly unending free entertainment and a few fun shows we’ll enjoy while there. We’re very excited to make the trip happen.
Ways we’re saving money
I finally used what is now my favorite money saving apps (psst! affiliate links) below to make the trip way more affordable. I saved so much money by using these:
- Honey, a free coupon finder that saved us 6% on our flight fees
- Groupon, which saved us hundreds on hotel fees
- Ebates which gave us cash back on other vacation related expenses
These apps find and track coupons so you don’t have to, which is an amazing perk. The cash back isn’t enough to retire off of, but it’s a nice perk for something I’m already spending. I am also notorious for not keeping my paper coupons organized and used before the expiration dates. Having Honey and Ebates manages this for me. #sanitysaver
I didn’t have high expectations but thought I’d give these a try. I was pleasantly surprised with how quick and easy it was to save money on what we we’re already buying. And the best part is, there’s thousands of retailers available, making it a popular way to save online. I’m in love with this frugal hack!
Attempting the balancing act
We put careful thought into how this trip could affect our bigger goals. Unless something unforeseen happens, it won’t impact our monster goal which is to get the balance under $30,000 by the end of the year. That was a big factor in our decision.
While I love to work toward our goals, there’s other important parts of the journey that I didn’t want to neglect. Frankly, our marriage could benefit from kid-free time and reconnection. We became parents about 18 months ago and don’t live near our families. Getting time away is rare, so it’s a joy to do a trip like this the first time. Thankfully, Nana, who lives 4 hours away graciously offered to care for our daughter while we take this trip.
Living that ultra frugal life requires some extra creativity to nurture a marriage. Otherwise, it’s just deprivation. I try to gut check myself and honor my spender spouse so there’s no resentment later about our extreme lifestyle.
Previous Debt Payoff Reports
- April 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,908
- May 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $3,506
- June 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $1,824
- July 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $1,944
- August 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,779
- October 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,487
- November 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,601
- December 2018 Debt Payoff Report – $2,970
- January 2019 Debt Payoff Report – $3,169