Monday, March 14, 2016

March: money AND home-life stuff!

And now we have March. It's possible that 2016 is shaping up to be the year of Getting Stuff Done. In February I finished painting one single tiny wall that had been sample-splotched for two years, and got air conditioning installed.

So far in March I've ordered curtains for the three bedrooms, and got one set actually hung! (Okay, thanks to my boyfriend, but I totally could've installed that curtain rod on my own. It's not like I've had it sitting around for three years or anything...yes, he looked a bit disbelieving when I confessed that.) Anyway, it's done and I'm making big plans to hang/help hang the other two sets of rods & curtains soon!

I'm also thinking about removing the closet doors in the guest bedroom. It's a very small room, and I have a Murphy bed in it (a decision I semi-regret, but oh well) and when the bed is down, the person using the room has to very carefully squish between the foot of the bed and the closet door. Removing the door will allow a bit more clearance, but may lead to another future project in terms of building out the inside of the closet with organizers. I've been thinking about it for a while and then saw that a blogger I follow did just that (scroll WAY down for the pic), and it looks great!

I also had a small financial breakthrough. I have 27 years left on my mortgage and intend to pay it off at least ten years sooner - or faster, if possible. I have waffled on how exactly to accomplish this - is it better for me to just send in extra money every month, or should I invest extra cash in a stock fund with an eye to better returns and paying off the mortgage in a big chunk down the road? My mortgage interest rate is really low, so on the one hand it makes more sense to chase better returns in the stock market, but on the other hand the more I pay now the better, for psychological and amortizational reasons.  I finally remembered I've got an extremely stable money market fund earning NO interest, so I just closed that and will use it to pay down 3% of my mortgage. That doesn't really answer my bigger-picture question, but it will help me get the balance below a certain large dollar amount by the end of the summer, so that's exciting.

I did make some other decisions about mortgage prepayment: in the short term I'm going to focus on rebuilding my savings, and then once I hit a specific balance in that stock fund, I'll shift to splitting my non-retirement savings between mortgage prepayment and the stock market. Mathematically it may make sense to put it all in the market, but I don't wanna.

Other items on the to-do list:
 - add plants in my yard. We'll see about that one.
 - finally paint the single wall in my guest room - or at least pick & purchase the paint and let one or two friends who actually enjoy painting know that I would welcome their time & effort!


  1. "Mathematically it may make sense to put it all in the market, but I don't wanna." This is exactly what I've been wrestling with, and it also sums up my feelings! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    1. You are not alone!!!!! Have you decided on an approach? I WAS putting the prepayment money in the market (VTSAX with Vanguard), but then I got confused, because the same bucket was holding house-prepayment money, and long-term savings, and some emergency fund money I'd shifted out of the zero-interest money market account.

      It got to the point that I couldn't easily see how much money belonged in each mental pile, and the spreadsheet I was using got out of date, and then the market tanked and I didn't know how to assign correct balances - it was a mess.

      So for now I'll err on the side of tidy :-)

    2. I'm trying to get my PMI removed this summer, then I think I'm going to start paying a little extra each month so that it works out to at least full mortgage payment each year.

      I was going to do the same as you had originally, with the money market account, right about the time the market tanked and I realized I'd have to sit on it longer than I'd like to have a decent amount.

    3. Huh, I'm almost at 80% too, though I got a credit union mortgage that allowed 10% down and no PMI (gasp). That's pretty cool!