• On the subject of change

    A very wise man told me when I started using the internet all those years ago to NEVER forget that there is a real live human being on the other end and to be sure I didn’t say or do anything that I wouldn’t do if I were face to face with them.

    I’ve tried, not always succeeded since emails lose context – however, I’ve tried – and never put anything in writing that you don’t want to come right back at you!

  • Last year

    I bought a 20 year old mini-van and a 11 year old car for my son. We paid $1600 for each of them. The van hasn’t needed anything other than a brake job. The car needed some body-work and recently got a brake job too. We’ve put $3000 in the car total. The car does not have the original motor, so I don’t know how many miles it has on it, but the body has almost 190k and the van is just behind it at 187k. If I were in your shoes, I’d drive the van every mile that it has left in it because it’s going to be a $500 trade-in, no matter if it has 215k miles or 315k miles and on 4 bald tires and no clear coat and the windshield wipers don’t work.
    If you have $5k in savings, keep it and when the transmission goes (it will), you’ll be ready to have it rebuilt for $1500. Hopefully later than sooner. If you can add $50-100/month to this fund, when you’re debt-free or the van gives it’s final mile, you might not have to buy another beater to replace it.

  • I need to figure out how to pay for a car

    I have five kids, and one is graduating high school this year, and another a year later. One have two vehicles, one is a mini-van that has 215,000 miles on it, the other is a full size van that has 86,000 miles on it. Both are paid for. But the mini-van is showing its age.While I can handle doing maintenance, the costs are soon going to outweigh the benefits of keeping it, and I need to replace it, or at least get another on hand for when it gives out.

    We try to put all the miles on the mini van, and save the full size van for family outings and vacations to keep the miles low on it, and reduce out fuel bill a bit. So my daughter uses the mini-van for school and work, and since I work third shift I use it for work as well since it is opposite hours.

    She is working to save up for a car, and we are not sure what strategy we want to use to purchase one. I am counseling her that a loan can cost more money than it is worth. So I am thinking that she can save up and pay cash for a cheap car, then save up to pay cash for a nicer car later on. The challenge for her will be college costs. We are working on financing strategies for college from scholarship awards, to less expensive colleges, or even going to school on line.

    But the challenge is going to be for me to get a car to replace the mini-van. I don’t have the cash saved up to pay cash for one, and I really don’t want to stop, or reduce my snowball to get a car. I am wondering what some others have done to pay for a more reliable, less mileage car for everyday use. We don’t want luxury, but we don’t want a piece of crap that needs a lot of maintenance and is worn out either. I was thinking about maybe a higher mileage (but under 150,000 miles) Honda accord or Civic. I think the target price is in the $5,000-$10,000 range. So I am open to suggestions on how to do this. Maybe I will have to take a set back on my debt paydown?

  • If a home’s taxes are based on

    it’s value and not on whether it’s paid off this does not make sense. In Louisiana taxes are based on the home’s assessment (value). I am very pumped about getting the stinkin’ mortgage paid more than anything else. That will certainly make our shovel bigger to throw at retirement and a little bit of fun.

  • On the ARM is there a restriction on

    how often they could bump it or the percentage points they are allowed to increase? What would the costs be for the re-fi, were you going to be able to pay those costs up-front or fold it into the loan? Think when I started on this house it was something like 8.25 or 8.75, did refinance it but never got to the low, low rates that have been available, 6 was about the best I ever had. Paid for now and Jan is right, makes a major difference when you retire if you don’t have that payment.

  • We switched to a 15 year in 2014

    when rates dropped after 9/11 and are most thankful we did now. Not only did it at that time drop our interest by 3% and saved us a minimum of $110,000 by just doing that it also put us at being finished with the mortgage one way or another by the time dh is going to retire. Do you plan on working another 30 year? lets try www.essaydig.com – write my essay online service. I can tell you even with all we’ve put back in 401K, IRA and ha-ha social security if we had to make a house payment dh couldn’t retire.

  • My interest rate with the fixed 15-year would be 4%

    On a 30 year it would be almost 5%. So that’s another thing to think about. The benefit with Churchill that I might not get with others is they wouldn’t need to do an appraisal. Since I’m borderline underwater, the lack of an appraisal is a good thing. Although I think she mentioned it was through the HARP program, which might be available through another lender as well…

  • I will tell you what we have done

    We did a 30 fixed when we moved to our town about 14 years ago but ALWAYS paid extra, about 10% of the whole payment (principle, interest, escrow) got added every month. We treated that increased amount as our house payment. We refi-ed a couple of years in because interest rates had dropped so much and got a 15 year fixed for about the same amount as the original 30 year fixed. We continued paying extra, same format, as before.

    When we bought our current home in Sept. of 2011 we went with a 15 year fixed. We pay extra on this in the same manner.

    All this paying extra was already in place long before we started DR. We are in a different place than you. Find out what is available. Check rates other places. When we bought in ‘11 our “home” bank where we had had a mortgage for 11 years could not TOUCH what we got at another bank where we have part of our FFEF. It pays to check around.

  • I switched from a 30 year to a 15 year in 2008

    2023 still seems a long way off – hopefully the Farm and sheep will help me pay it off before then. In my case, my payment went up by $50 so I pay 750.00 but I got behind last year with my divorce shenanigans so I have to pay an additional $312 until August 1st. Its rough going, but I’ll get there. Then when I’ve paid off the CCs, I will use that money for the mortgage and hope to be able to make between 2 – 3 extra full payments a year. It IS nice to see the amount owed coming down nicely.

  • Possible refinance

    I’m on an ARM with a current interest rate of 3%. I spoke to a lady from Churchill Mortgage yesterday and I can get a 15-year fixed at about $1070. My current payment is $805. So that’s a big jump, comparatively. My other alternative would be to get a 30-year with a payment of about $740. The lady said that if I got the 30-year, I could always pay more. But I know the tendency is NOT to do that, so I’m leaning towards stretching to make the 15-year payment. Opinions, suggestions?

  • I used TaxAct online last year and I’m going with it again this year

    It’s as good as TurboTax and the basic version is free (this includes the ability to file electronically). The premium version is $13. I paid for it this year because it will pull last year’s data into this year’s filing. I don’t know anything about filing state income taxes because we don’t have that in Texas.

    Last year I used the two side-by-side and they came up with the same answers, but I found TaxAct to be slightly less tedious to use.
    TurboTax online is free, but to file electronically with it costs money, so once I was convinced that TaxAct had done its job, I used it to do the filing and kissed TurboTax goodbye.

    My one complaint is that it will import electronic W2’s from just one source, and that’s not what our employers use. So I had to type it all in (it’s not that much typing but I like to eliminate human error where I can).