Back In Debt

The last 3 months have been a whirlwind of new.

New House. New Job (woot! New job!)

While all of that is super excellent, that first one came with a big piece I wasn’t so excited about.

New Debt.

It has been nearly 2 years since I paid off my student loans. That’s a feat I still can’t fully wrap my head around. I still have my car loan but it’s chugging away at 1% and the balance is under $4000!

Now I have an additional $172,000 worth of debt.

*shudders*

I knew we were going to have a mortgage on our house. That was inevitable. I certainly wasn’t going to save forever to buy a house in cash. Who has time for that?

I thought I was okay with the mortgage. For 90% of me, I am. I’m cool. The mortgage is reasonable. Our payment is less than we pay in rent. We put 20% down. The interest rate is awesome (3.375%!) All of that screams “Let it ride!”

The payment is great. Adjusting for inflation, it will look even better as the years pass. It’s also pretty cool that it’ll be paid off before I’m traditional retirement age. That’s the goal right?

For the past few years when I read about people paying off their mortgage aggressively, I didn’t get it. If I can get better returns in the stock market, and I’m sure I can beat 3.375%, shouldn’t I be investing? That’s what my brain says.

But my heart is starting to disagree.

Having a mortgage until 2047 is kind of ugly. I’ll be 60. That’s twice my age from now. I have been on the planet only 3 months longer than the amortization schedule of my mortgage! My mom had a 3 month old me 30 years ago and I just signed up for debt that long.

I’m going to say No to that option.

I’m not jumping on the KILL IT IMMEDIATELY train. I have investing to do.

I’m sure I’ll come up with some crazy game to play to pay it off early.

For now I say…

SUB-2047 OR BUST

Do you want my stuff? A seller’s tale

After 6.5 years in the same apartment, we’re moving! I don’t want to say that the process snuck up on us, but it kind of did. Things fell into place and we’re in the middle of packing up our life into boxes and schlepping it over to our new place.

I knew we had a lot of stuff before, but o.m.g. do we have a lot of stuff. And this is after I’ve been cultivating a minimalist mindset for the last 2 years. I’ve Konmari’d and I’ve decluttered and we are still up to our neck in stuff. Maybe I wasn’t so successful slimming my belongings.

I’ve never had so much stuff anxiety in my whole life. Seeing it all collect into boxes and then living amongst the boxes is more than I can handle.

I’m trying to channel my anxiety into energy to sell some of this crap. Here is what I’ve tried so far:

Facebook Groups(Local-est)

I joined the local Facebook group and threw a few things up for sale. I took great pictures, provided detail descriptions. Then.. nothing. I’m not sure if my local group is a dud, but nearly everything is overpriced. Because of that, or because people are posting crap that nobody wants, no one is buying much. The group has rules for how you are supposed to interact. You can tell when there is interest by likes or comments. Barely anyone is liking, even fewer are commenting. Most comments are “bumps” to get the item back into the feed. No one in my town wanted my stuff.

Craiglist (Local)

Everything I put on the Facebook group, I also put on Craiglist. I used the same pictures and the same detail. There may have been more friction here because I didn’t want to put my phone number in the posting. Email me and we can chat about my stuff! No one emailed me about my stuff. Not a single bite.

eBay (US only)

After a week of nothing on Facebook and Craiglist, I took to eBay. Hubs has been selling casually on eBay for years (decades?) and he taught me the ropes. I spruced up my descriptions (hello color & too much detail, good day to you sarcasm and silly descriptions). I used the same pictures. I listed 4 items. My first item sold overnight. My second item sold within 2 days. My third item sold just before the 7-day listing expired. Wahoo! I relisted my 4th item after it didn’t sell in the first 7 days. It sold on the (second) first day!

I’m an overnight eBay success story!

eBay comes with the necessary evil of shipping, but I feel its worth it to get this crap out of my house.

If only it wasn’t leaving 1 item at a time.

Summary!

Price to Acquire Items: $0 (All 4 items sold were gifts)

Price Received for Items (including shipping): $96.94

Paid to Ship Items: $27.95

eBay + Paypal Fees: $13.69

Dollars to my bottom line: $55.30

scrooge

I was riding high on my wave of success and I wanted more. On my second dive into eBay, I went big. The biggest! My Wedding Dress.

I was a bit surprised by the wedding dress selection on eBay. A ton of people are buying and selling them.  I created the listing, took great pictures and told someone they could fall in love with my dress for a fraction of the price. Heck, it had been hanging in my closet for 4 years. I was willing to do whatever to get it out of my house. I was also incredibly honest about the status of the dress. It hadn’t been cleaned since the wedding, after all.

Lucky me. It sold in a week! After fees and shipping, I’m now the proud owner of more space and an additional $56.99!

I think I’m addicted… What else can I sell?

 Have you tried selling on eBay?

2016 and BEYOND!

2016 is done. Thank goodness.

I wanted to recap on the goals I set for myself, but I realized this year has been so crazy that I didn’t set any. I didn’t want to commit to anything because failed goals feel worse than undefined progress. Perhaps this is you too. Unlike my student loans, where I had a defined goal, I didn’t know how far I wanted to get with my saving and investing. Maybe I knew how far I wanted to get, but I didn’t know how far I would get.

That’s the tough thing about saving and investing. You can always save more. You can always invest more. Debt has an end goal. A beautifully articulated, well defined end. $0.

With that in mind, I chose to lean into the numbers with limits.

Tax Advantaged Accounts

I wanted to save for retirement. 401k – $18,000. IRA- $5,500. HSA – $3,350. I could reach for those. The government would get mad at me and punish me if I went over those goals. Each of those had their own shut off valves and I reached for those.

I’m so happy to report that I made it. Check. Check. Check. I am super maxed.

Hubs got pretty close. IRA – Check. 401k – Almost. We started late and he didn’t make it. What is amazing is that he was over contributing. So in 2017, his contributions will go down and he will make it. He’s already submitted his paperwork to properly max.

In 2017, everything will max. It’s gonna be good.

House Savings

We were ready to move out of our apartment. After they cut our lock on our storage unit AND DIDN’T TELL US, we were ready to get outta here. The ridiculous rent increases made it frustrating too. Thankfully, we could afford it. We chose to live here (because the location is perfect) until we were ready to move. I’m so glad we had that flexibility.

We started saving for a house 2 weeks after I paid off my loans in 2015. We capped our house search at $250,000. 20% of $250,000 is $50,000. That was our down payment goal.

Drum roll…. We made it!

Thanks to cashing out two whole life insurance policies, we pushed over our goal. Due to sketchy timing, we reached our goal AFTER we bought the house, but before we closed. It was a real nail biter 🙂

In 2017, we plan to keep saving like we were saving for the house. Our finances won’t change. Going forward, the cash will go toward renovations instead of the down payment.

Debt

Car

I still have a car loan. I still feel like a bit of an imposter being so proud of my student loan payoff while carrying a car note. The loan is at 1% interest and it’s tough to get motivated to pay anything extra. With so many other goals, I’ve been happy to drop this down to the bottom.

In 2017, I’ll finish the 3 year loan. Yay for no more car payment! Unfortunately or Awesomely, Hubs’ car comes off lease the exact same month. We plan to buy out and finance his car, putting us right back into car debt. If we can get equally excellent terms, we’ll ride out his loan. If not, we’ll probably still let it ride.

MORTGAGE!

I’ve never had a mortgage before, but OMG I have a mortgage in 2017! Our first payment is due February 1. Our loan doesn’t have a pre-payment penalty, but for now that doesn’t matter.

With all we have to do with the house to make it ours, I don’t expect to make any extra payments in 2017. 2018, maybe. 2019 ABSOLUTELY.

Our interest rate is bomb dot com. 3.375%. Having a rate that low makes me less anxious to kill the mortgage. We’ll see how things evolve.

Taxable Investing

I’ve had a taxable investment account for 13 years. However, after that first contribution, I haven’t added a nickel to it. I’ve used it as an opportunity to learn about the effects of compound interest.

In 2017, I will continue to leave that account alone. I do, however, have a super secret (now not secret at all) goal of starting a joint taxable account with Vanguard. I’d like to at least get it started with $3000. I don’t know where this money is going to come from. With everything I want to accomplish with the house, this is going to be a struggle. Maybe it won’t be, but I expect it will. I’ll consider this my stretch goal.

In summary.

Here is my 2017 waterfall plan in order: Keep Super Maxing > Keep ignoring my car loans >Pay the minimum on the mortgage > Save the excess for house renovations > Find $3000 to start a joint taxable account!

Somewhere along the way, I’ll find the cash to take a vacation.

2017 is going to be a big year!

What are you plans for 2017?