Hello February! Goodbye January! January was an experimental month for us in many ways. But it is also the first month of the year – so full of possibilities. This was also the first month we used a cash budget system to curb spending. I’ll delve into the cash budgeting in another post. I’d like to recap the Month of January as it was the first official month in our journey to pay off the house!
It was also the first month we put a significant chunk of change towards our mortgage. We are both thoroughly blessed in that we received year-end bonuses from work and with those bonuses we were able to pay $5,285 towards our mortgage. So we paid an additional $4,470 that goes directly to principle! Awesome! This big lump moved us ahead to where we would be in September 2015 if we just paid the regular $815 month. It was a bit difficult to not fall into the “I worked hard all year and I should do something fun with this bonus money. It is a BONUS after all.” I just kept reminding myself that nothing I bought would be a bigger reward than not having a mortgage 3.6 years from now.
We also had the joyful opportunity to make use of our Emergency Fund in January. All our savings in 2012 paid off! Our fridge has been making loud noises for a while now, we assumed it was just usual fridge noises. Then it began to warm up and by Saturday it was a mild 50 degrees in the old ice box. My husband tried to fix it and we thought it was fixed until Sunday night when it again refused to cool below 48 degrees. Food should be stored between 32 and 40 degrees for safety, for a fun reference point. But we like to live dangerously! No, just kidding. We were keeping our food in a cooler on the porch. Then Sunday afternoon I went to do a load of laundry only to discover that sewer water had backed up in the basement! So we spent part of Saturday, Sunday and Monday acting like we were camping in our own home. No showers, no running water, no laundry, no peeing indoors (thankfully our house is semi-remote), going outside to get our food out of a cooler. So Monday we bought a new fridge and waited for Roto-Rooter. In the end all the problems were fixed by Monday night to the tune of $860. We have a new fridge and that tree root trying to pry it’s way into our sewer line is fixed – for the time being. (As a side note, here is a good way to get a deal on a fridge at Lowes. Say to the department manager, “My Husband keeps looking at this fridge at Home Depot, but I really want to buy it here. Can your work with me?” It also helps that my husband really was looking at a fridge at Home Depot). We also had the electrician come and start on updating the electrical the same week. For a while it felt like we were hemorrhaging money and that can be a scary feeling when you are trying to make every dollar go as far as it can.
Even though there were things that were challenging or annoying in January I am so incredibly thankful for so many things that made this first month in our journey to pay off our house possible. My husband’s great plan to live on one income, my employer, my husband’s employer, and our ability to earn income.