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Transferring Money from Ireland

July 8th, 2015 at 01:53 am

We've been trying for several days to bring money from our Irish account to the US. Now that we don't have to make mortgage payments on our Irish house anymore, we decided to use some of the rent money we receive for the house to pay down principal on our US house (about $400 a month).

TransferWise seemed to be our best option because we don't have to pay ATM fees and the fee they do charge is really small. They give you a good interest rate, too.

There were a couple of options on TransferWise, but because our Irish bank charges for transfers to other banks, we decided to go with their debit card option. It didn't work, so D called the Irish bank, and they said it needed to be used at an actual ATM first.

There's a bank in town that doesn't charge a fee (although our Irish bank does, ugh). So we took out $80 and tried TransferWise again.

It still didn't work. So D called the Irish bank, and they said that we could only take out 300 euro at a time using the debit card.

D tried taking out only 300 euro, and it worked! So now we have a way to get that money out of Ireland and into our US account. It should show up on Thursday.

D took the $80 from the ATM to the bank to pay down principal today on our US mortgage.

This month's mortgage principal so far:
- $150 budgeted
- $80 reimbursement for coach hosting
- $90 gym payment
- $80 from Irish house
- more to come!

Big Mortgage Pay-Down

March 7th, 2015 at 01:18 am

We received our tax return money yesterday, so F and I went to the bank today (popcorn Friday!) to pay down principal.

This was a big pay-down! The return (federal) was $3104 and I put the entire thing toward principal. Our balance is now $57,917. If we don't put any more money toward principal, we own our house in February 2020.

I promised D that when we went below $50k we would have a nice meal out. According to my spreadsheet that happens in September.

Anyway, in the car on the way to F's tennis lesson, we had a big discussion about mortgages and interest and principal. She was pretty into it! I wish my parents discussed these sorts of things with me when I was a kid...

Got our Tax Return and a $0 Electric Bill!

March 6th, 2015 at 12:31 am

Our tax return money was deposited into our account and we got a notice about the portion that we decided to take as an Amazon credit. We opted for $200 to be Amazon and they added another $20 to it for taking that option (snowflake!). We'll use the Amazon credit for regular purchases, but the $220 (and the rest of the tax return money) will go to mortgage principal.

It makes the accounting a little weird, but whatever. We use Amazon for most of our purchases (bday gifts, birdseed, dog tooth treats, everything). So I just need to track those purchases as if they showed up on our visa.

Besides our tax return yesterday, we got our February electric bill. And it was ZERO dollars. Actually it was negative $1.32 but they won't cut checks for less than $20, so we need to wait for it to build up. You know what we'll do with the check when we finally get it of course. Mortgage!

Gym Payment and other Snowflakes

February 26th, 2015 at 12:27 am

I got paid by the gym today for January - $200! I was shocked! I did sub for someone, but I haven't been paid this much by the gym ever! I drove right over to the bank and paid down mortgage principal.

We now owe $62,100.

I am waiting for the $24 pinecone payment to show up in my bank account (it already showed up in paypal and I transferred it) and then I'll pay that toward the mortgage, too.

Our mortgage payment posts on the 6th of the month and we'll be in the $61k's!

I know most people would advise us not to pay down principal but rather to put this money into IRAs, but there are two big factors which make me want to finish the mortgage: piece of mind and getting the mortgage paid off before F starts jr. high school (when our school payment will be very large).

In the meantime, we are fully funding the IRAs, too.

Mortgage Principal and Pinecone Cash-Out

October 2nd, 2014 at 12:03 am

I got paid by the gym today (for August! ugh!).... but that's $55 toward the mortgage. Along with $6 I got from a Target rebate and my usual $150 from our budget, I paid down the mortgage principal by $211.

We've paid down an extra $3359 this year so far; the house will be paid off in July 2020 if we don't pay any more down on principal. With my usual $150 per month, it'll be October 2019.

I also cashed out Pinecone today; I should be getting a check for $18 soon (mortgage principal of course!).

Put Gym Money toward Mortgage Principal

August 19th, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Before I could spend any of it, I took my gym money right over to the bank and paid down principal. It was $145, and it reduced our total paid in interest by $33. That's nice to see.

So now we owe $69,193.

I called my brother after I left the bank, and just mentioned that I'd paid down some principal, and he chuckled. He said he feels bad when he sees his principal go down because he knows he's doing something wrong (in his mind, the cheap interest rates mean that it's better to keep the mortgage and put his money elsewhere). He has a lot more money than I do, and it's all tied up in various investments and stock options. Actually, I think it's just stock now, not options anymore.

We have completely different attitudes about money, and he understands that I operate on piece of mind. Plus it is definitely worth it to us not to have the mortgage anymore so that we can pay for F's school. In the meantime, we are still fully funding our IRAs.

I know a lot of you use your extra funds (and snowflakes!) to pay off debt. If you're debt free except for your mortgage, how do you use that extra money? Paying down the mortgage or investing?

Mortgage Principal

June 9th, 2014 at 08:55 pm

Paid down the mortgage today:
- $150 from budget (we set aside this month for paying down principal)
- $10 craigslist sale
- $9 pinecone
- $60 from gym payment (finally got paid for April!)

Total paid down is $229
Total paid down this year is $2451

We now owe: $71,487

Without any additional extra payments, our mortgage will be paid off in August 2020. With just our additional $150/month, it'll be October 2019. When we own our house in Ireland, though, we'll be able to take some of the money we were spending on the mortgage there and put it toward our mortgage here.

Paid Down Mortgage and Other stuff

May 4th, 2014 at 04:31 am

It's 10 pm, and I am sitting here with my laptop while D heads back to F's friend's house. Her friend is having a sleepover birthday, and F wanted to stay, but she sounded conflicted. The friend's mom, who is a good friend of mine, just called to say F wants to be picked up.

For the record, I think 9 is too young for sleepovers. (Even though this particular family is fantastic, and I know the kids won't stay up too late).

So I have a few minutes to write a little bit.

Friday was popcorn day at the bank, so I made a deposit (rent check from my office sublet) and paid down principal on our mortgage ($169). And got the popcorn, of course, which I gave to F after school for a treat. Bank popcorn is the best! And we're now in the $72k's on our mortgage. As usual around this time of month, I play all sorts of games with the mortgage calculator. But really you just have to keep chipping away at it. I am putting this out there, though: I want to own our house by October 2018. I will be 52 years old (that's 4 1/2 years from now).

I also found out last week, that my second office sublet, the one who doesn't get a parking space and has just a desk in the main area (but pays very little for the desk) is leaving as of the end of May. I like having the extra money in the business, but it's not a lot, and I figured that I might figure out someone else at some point.

And just a few hours later, I got a call from my friend K. She's an architect, too, and she was calling because she's designing a porch for a house in a neighborhood where I lead the architectural review committee. K works out of her house, so I immediately said, "I don't know why you're calling, but you need to come share the office with me and A!!!" (The guy who sublets the one of the other office spaces is our mutual friend, A, and, yes, he's also an architect).

She hasn't committed yet, but pretty much said yes! I am so relieved, but mostly happy to have K there - she is close friend, and a great person. But we also are like a support group for each other.

Mortgage Update

April 8th, 2014 at 05:24 pm

Our mortgage is our only debt, and we're trying to chip away at this as much as possible while still putting money in our IRAs ($5000 each per year).

This month we put $210 toward the mortgage principal: $150 savings (budgeted) and $60 which I got for teaching at the gym.

We've paid $2053 in additional principal so far this year. At the beginning of the year we owed $79,141 and we now owe $73,634.

If we don't make any more principal payments ever again on the loan, it'll be paid off in August 2020. If I just continue to pay $150/month extra, it'll be paid off in October 2019 (which would coincide with my 53rd birthday. But our goal is to pay this off sooner, so every snowflake, ebay sale, swagbucks reward, pinecone reward, craigslist sale, etc. goes toward the mortgage.

I want to note that I make $$43,800 a year and my husband makes $45,000 (gross, not including small jobs on the side when we can). We pay about $14,000 per year for private school.

Shutterfly Research

April 3rd, 2014 at 03:00 am

I finished the one missing photo book - 2010 - (once that is printed we'll be up-to-date) but I'm going to leave it in Shutterfly and not print it yet. There is a 30% and free shipping promo, but that isn't enough. I "researched" past Shutterfly promos in Facebook (and "liked" Shutterfly), and found that in 2013 there was a 50% off all photo books around July. And I usually get a coupon from them later in the year. I'm going to wait to print this one.

Also, I don't want to spend any money that we don't have to spend, so that we throw everything into our medical and auto servicing categories and not have to dip into the EF.

I think that is the real strength of budgeting: being able to adjust and re-tool as needed when things come up. So for right now, my monthly budget for lots of things is going to be less (or zero).

I seem to have money leftover in household utilities (the only benefit of our mild winter here in the Southwest - lower gas bill). Also leftover in insurance since our premium went down (I just need to keep enough in for our annual umbrella policy). And a tiny bit extra in water/sewer. I have saved up some money ($44) in my knitting fund; I'll just have to start over and put this toward the medical bill. There are a lot of places to be flexible.

Car Repairs, Medical Bills - What a Month!

April 2nd, 2014 at 12:24 am

This month is going to be financially horrible: the medical bills will probably be about $3,000 (or more?) and I just had to get my car fixed ($488).

So, I am trying to look on the bright side:
- we have the money in the EF
- I have now met my deductible for the health insurance
- I got 10% off and a $25 off coupon on the car repair

Instead of taking money out of our EF, I am going to try to shift money from different "buckets" into the auto servicing and medical buckets so that some of the expense is absorbed by going lean on other categories of spending.

So, if we can keep our food costs down this month, that money can go toward paying these bills.

It's all sort of virtual, but it helps me keep track.

Snowflake and My Yummy Lunch

March 25th, 2014 at 07:17 pm

I got paid by the gym yesterday: $60. So that's another snowflake to the mortgage. And I'm happy to see that my gym pay has gone up $10 each month for the past few months. I used to get about $25 or $30.

This means I'll have $210 to put toward mortgage principal at the beginning of next month.

I'm home from the office right now; I came home from lunch, and to start dinner (it's in the crockpot). So I was able to make a hot lunch (which is nearly done cooking). I'm having an artichoke. I love artichokes, and have since I was a kid; so glad they're coming back in season and are on sale right now! I'll have it with a piece of cinnamon raisin toast and some fruit. This is much nicer than the lunches I bring to work!

Extra Income

March 6th, 2014 at 04:51 pm

Since D started his real job (an an employee, no more self-employment!) in the autumn, he's had a few side jobs. Some are photography, some are small web design/updates.

When he makes any money through self employment, he puts a little bit in his business account (which he still has), 20% in our "taxes" account (from which we pay our estimated taxes) and the rest in our personal account.

I haven't done anything with the money. When he was self employed, his income was up and down, so I just left it in the account and took another look at the end of the year. I was used to leaving the money in the account because it all just averaged out to his yearly income.

But now he has a steady income, so the side jobs are all extra. How did I not realize this?

Since January, he has deposited $120 and $85 into our personal account. I talked with him last night, and he said "Put it toward the mortgage!" Yes!

So I get to make another principal payment this month. And he just did another little side job, so there will be more coming in. This is significant money compared to the piddly money I get from the gym each month.

I was talking to the woman I go to for rolfing (rolfing, by the way, is the best thing that ever happened to me, but that's another story). She and I are on the same page on lots of subjects, and I just found out that she paid off her mortgage a few years ago. She's about two years older than I am. I am so happy for her! She said that some people advised her not to do it, but that the piece of mind has been so worth it. Talking to her made me feel even more strongly about getting the mortgage paid off. (Although I still want to put money in our Roths, so it'll be a little more slowly than the way she did it).

What we are now paying toward principal:
- $150/month from our regular income
- gym money (last month it was $50)
- David's side income (probably averages $100/month)
- anything I sell on Craigslist and any other misc.

Frugal Day, Frugal Weekend

August 30th, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Paid down $350 on our mortgage today... a great feeling! I continue to pay as much as I can into our retirement accounts, but whittling away at our mortgage (our only debt) is what really makes me happy!

I so badly wanted to go out to lunch today, but instead we all stopped off and got ice cream after work/school - way cheaper than eating out and very satisfying. This was actually a reward for F for her awesome piano practice.

Tonight's dinner is chicken tacos with homemade guacamole.

And the weekend is all planned out...
- Playdate for F tomorrow
- Sunday to our local living history "museum" - a working village from the 18th/19th centuries - kids are free this weekend
- Two Memorial Day parties to attend on Monday!

This is the last weekend the pool is open so we'll try to fit that in, too.

And my goal is to cross something off my house to-do list (stucco patching?) and make a fish costume out of scrap fabric I already have. This is for F's school's entry in our Fiesta parade - our theme is local fish habitats/river/riverbank.

A Friend Declared Bankruptcy

August 11th, 2013 at 02:54 pm

I just got a call from a friend of mine who I haven’t spoken with in a while. Among other news, she told me that they’ve just declared bankruptcy. It made my heart sink. I’m friends with her because I’ve known her husband for 21 years; we used to share an office (we are in the same profession and went to grad school together). We do the same thing (architecture), we are the same age, we moved to the city we live in on the same day. We got married within a year of each other, and we have children who are within a year in age.

I feel simultaneously incredibly sad for them, but a little angry, too.

They make less than we do, but by my calculations the amount more we make is spent on private school (which they don't have - they live in the best school district) and savings. It would be tight, but we could live on what they make.

When we shared an office, he'd get boxes once a week from Patagonia or lululemon or he'd get expensive skiing gear including new skis. His wife takes the girls every week to buy Barbies and Hello Kitty.

I don't think that anyone should ever have to go into debt for medical bills (that should be an automatically forgiven in my opinion) but he doesn't have any debt like that. This is purely overspending debt. I don't understand bankruptcy very well, but is this debt now just erased? (I understand there are consequences - but he is self employed and has a house so no need for a credit check in the near future; I guess he has to stop juggling his zero-interest credit cards? Does he lose his cards? Does he lose the ability to get another credit card- this would clearly be a good thing for him).

His wife said that bankruptcy made sense because they don't have any assets. (Maybe their equity in the house is very low? They get to keep the house, though, right?)

I am struggling to be more compassionate about this.