Monday, July 14, 2014

Financial Goals

I read this post today on getting really serious about paying down debt.  http://lettersfromsunnybrook.com/really-get-out-of-debt. J teases me sometimes about loving extreme get out of debt books and articles, but even if you're not awash in credit card debt, it feels good to challenge ones preconceptions about finances.

I have a dream.  No, actually it's a goal.  I want for us to pay off our mortgage completely, years ahead of the 30+ years of amortization the bank would like us to take.  Can you imagine the freedom not to be paying thousands of dollars in interest to the bank every year?  Ahhh... We already pay 20% extra every month on the mortgage principal even though it makes cash flow tight sometimes.  This has moved our last projected payment up by --- wait for it --- over 15 YEARS!  

More time for gardening, more time with our kids, more time for service - together.  Sooner than later sounds about right to me!  

Here's my list of what I think we're doing right when it comes to directing funds most effectively:

1. Managing with one vehicle for the five of us.  J takes the bus or bikes to work.
2. Cancelled cable and landline.  No data plan on my cell phone.  Kids watch fun or educational shows on Netflix.
3. Eat wholesome food at home, with occasional forays out for Asian lunches or a 2 for 1 carry out pizza.
4. Buy meat and eggs in bulk, directly from farmers.
5. Enjoy treasure hunting thrift shops for most of our needed clothes.
6. Shop online for certain items when it's not practical to buy used.  (Ordered undies and socks for two of my kids from Walmart.ca today.  Vitamins from Amazon.ca.)
7.  Prefer to borrow from our fantastic library rather than buying books, games or movies.  When I come across a keeper, I wait to stumble upon it used or order the cheapest option through Amazon.ca.

So many times, it makes sense to pause a bit when planning to buy something retail.  Unless it's an urgent need, within the next few weeks or months you just may a) realize you don't really need it b) find something else you already have works just as well c) find it gently used for much, much less.  Like yesterday I was checking out coffee grinders online to grind our own beans.  My mom happened to be visiting and offered me hers, since it hasn't been used in ages.  Minimum of $25 saved!  Thanks, Mom!  

Okay, so I want your input, readers!  What's the most hardcore frugal idea you can send my way?  Something that makes more of a dent than reusing bread bags. I challenge you!

And in the meantime, here's this evening's view of the garden in the last of the sunset.