How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

I am literally beside myself! I have been counting down the payments until our mortgage was paid off.

Guess what!? Now is the time!

I haven’t always been amazing with my money. Actually, I kind of had a similar viewpoint as many other things in my life – all or nothing.

I spent the first 25 years of my life only buying the bare necessities. I loathed spending money. I mean, I dreaded it. Do you know, when we were newlyweds, I budgeted and spent $50 on groceries every other week. We ate a lot of pasta.

Then something happened.

I had a baby.

It was a girl.

I’m not even ashamed to say that we left the hospital and went straight to the mall. Who does that?!

That was almost 11 years ago.

If it wasn’t for my amazing husband who keeps me grounded with reality checks, I’d probably be in a terrible position financially.

He has taught me a thing or two about money – and that has helped us pay off our mortgage. We didn’t do anything fancy and we definitely didn’t win the lottery. We just chose to be wise with our financial decisions. None of our decisions caused us to be tight or lack in any way.

Here are some of the things we did to pay off our mortgage faster.

Pay The Mortgage Weekly
This was one of the best decisions we made. If nothing else, do this. Changing your payments to weekly will pay down the principal much faster than if your plan is bi-weekly or monthly. It really does make a difference.

Put A Plan Together
I’m sure everyone who is close to me is probably tired of hearing my payment plan for my mortgage. Especially over the last 2 years, I’ve been a bit obsessive with it. I knew the time frame I wanted to work in, so I made sure that everything lined up payment-wise. As the balance got smaller and smaller, it was easier to nail down an exact date.

Stay Put
I’ll be honest, it’s been quite tempting to upgrade our living arrangements. This booming market can get the best of anyone. I have a dream house that is within reach, but it would require incurring a bigger mortgage. I don’t want that. My house is sufficient. It serves all my needs (not necessarily all my wants). I’ve learned in life that it is much better to be content with what you have than to have the constant stress of ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’

Make Extra Payments
Bear with me, I’m no mortgage specialist, but I do know there are rules you have to follow. If you want to avoid penalties, you have to stay within your payment allowance (I’m sure it’s not called that, but that’s my name for it). All we did was add an extra $30 to each payment. This made another great difference. Although this took a small sacrifice, it really didn’t make a difference in how we spent our money.

All of this was possible because we made smart choices along the way. As Dave Ramsey said, ‘Live like no one else today so you can live like no one else tomorrow.’

Great advice. We didn’t decorate our house immediately. We didn’t drive 2 cars. We didn’t have cable or all the latest gadgets. We didn’t always have internet and cell phones. We didn’t eat out or go on lavish vacations (until recently). We did live within our means. We did enjoy life. We did enjoy each other.

Now, we can sleep soundly in our house knowing that the strain of borrowing money has been lifted.

An Open Letter to Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

Life gets messy sometimes.

It’s not fun. You won’t like messy. As a matter of fact, you will like all your ‘life items’ to be arranged neatly and fit perfectly in a box that can be topped with a lid and wrapped up in a bow.

Guess what.

That box will tip. I mean, sometimes it will be picked up, dumped on the ground, smashed up and you might feel as though those life items are being whipped at you.

Something’s trying to take you out.

Not cool.

But it will happen.

Don’t let it break you.

Remember who you are. (you may have watched a few too many Disney movies along the way)

Seriously, though. Remember.

You will go through things that will shake you to your core. You will be betrayed by people you cared about deeply. You will be wounded.

You know what?

You get stronger. You stand taller. You become who you are meant to be. Your core is strong and secure. You accomplish more than you even knew you desired. You have a beautiful family with a husband who cares for you dearly.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t get caught up in meaningless drama. Don’t play into that which is meant to destroy you.

Find the forerunners. Find those who want to do good in life. Empower them. Encourage them. Hold their hands tight and their hearts carefully. Guide them toward the light. Use your influence to inspire others to be the best version of themselves – because that’s beautiful.

When you don’t know what to do, fall back on what you already know to be true. Fear God. Honour the King.

Do what you are meant to do.

Be who you are meant to be.

Be you.

Be. You.
❤ ❤ ❤

Have you ever thought of writing a letter to your younger self? If you could write a letter to your younger self using only two words, what would they be? Comment below.

How To Jeep | 101

For a few years now, I’ve been driving a 20 year old Honda. It is fully loaded with a sunroof, heated seats, leather interior – literally, the works. The best part of it? When we all get in it, it feels like we are all in one accord.

Ok, so there have been a few flaws with my gem – 4 flaws actually. Which isn’t really that bad, except if it’s 4 pitted rims. Not horrible, but mildly inconvenient when you’re running late and notice that your tires are flat. Again. Just like yesterday morning.

Flat_Tire

Needless to say, I’ve parked ol’ faithful and upgraded a bit.

To a Jeep.

Sheri Jeep

Now, I don’t know if y’all know this, but apparently there’s a code for Jeep drivers. Actually, not just any Jeep. Only Jeep Jeeps. You know, the kind that you go baha-ing in with the top off, wind in your hair, sun kissing your skin, beach in view or on the rugged terrain.

I never knew any of this, but it’s there and I’m determined to follow it. So far, this is what I know…

The Jeep Wave
Shortly after I picked up my Jeep, I started noticing people waving to me. I was so confused.

Am I that popular? Do that many people know who I am?

I told my friend about this and she suggested I was crazy. So I did what any crazy person would do. I pulled up Google and searched ‘waving’ and ‘Jeeps.’

That’s when I found out about the Jeep Wave.

Let me just tell you. If you’re having a rough day, find a Jeep to drive – your day will dramatically improve. There’s this thing about people waving to you like you belong together that just makes you feel like you’re one in a million. It almost feels similar to likes, comments and follows on social media. You matter. Someone sees you. You belong together.

Fine, maybe my new Jeep doesn’t complete me, but driving it adds fun adventure to my days. So I’ll take it.

The wave was a bit of a learning curve for me. The first few times I got overly excited and waved like a two year old desperate to be acknowledged by the Paw Patrols. After a few of those, I got my act together and started waving a bit more like a seasoned Jeep owner.

Jeep_Wave

Brian asked me for my keys a few days ago. I drilled him on the code.

So, chances are, if you drive a Jeep and pass me on the road, you’re getting a wave.

Do you have a Jeep? Is there more to the code? Comment below.

The Beauty of Marriage

The Beauty of Marriage

Have you ever had a discrepancy in the timing of an event that happened in your life? Has it ever been a significant discrepancy?

Like, a 3 year difference?

On March 29, 2018, Brian and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage.

No, this is not the event in question!

As we approach our anniversary, I can’t help but reminisce about all the interesting things that have happened along the way.

Here are the top 3 craziest things that make our relationship unique.

The night I found out that Brian moon lighted as an actor.
I’m the type of person that falls asleep simultaneously as I hit the pillow.
Brian’s the type to not ever sleep.
Just after we returned from our honeymoon, we went to bed as usual – I slept and he tossed and turned. Sometime in the middle of the night, pitch black and can’t see my hand in front of my face, Brian pounces out of a sleeping position, pins me down and tells me to be quiet.
Of course, this freaked me out just a bit.
It seemed that he heard someone in the house, but our door was shut so I had no idea. I was paralyzed by fear! I lay there for about 5 minutes when I realized that no one was in the house. I tried asking Brian what was happening, when all he whispered was ‘Don’t move or the snake will attack!’
It took me a moment, but then I realized that he was dreaming and literally acting it out while he was sleeping.
Imagine being awakened like that in the dead of night…or even being startled awake by a tall glass of water being poured over you (apparently you were the plants, as he says)…or how about when the dog cries in the middle of the night and your husband tells you to let him be, it’s the song of the angels.

Our first date.
My version? August of 1998, he came and picked me up in his new Ford Probe GT to go rollerblading on a trail near the river. We rolled down the trail and chatted about life. Afterward, we drove to Dairy Queen where we shared a strawberry sundae.
His version? March of 2002, after years of on-again, off-again, ‘I like you’, ‘I don’t like you’, he asked me to go out for tea. He apologized to me, told me he didn’t want to play games and wanted to officially date me. He told me to go home and think & pray about it and let him know after that.
Of course, I was still madly in love with him, but didn’t want to seem desperate, so I told him I’d let him know.
The next day, I called him and told him I would be his girlfriend. He gave me his ‘helmet’ ring to signify that he was my knight in shining armour and we went to a Christian club in Michigan with a group of friends.

This leads me to #3

The beginning.
Brian spent the first few weeks of our relationship going out with other girls to let them know he was officially dating me and he would not be on the market anymore.
Oh my, that sounds so crazy, but honestly, there were so many girls after him and so many that thought they should be his rightful girlfriend/wife.
He had to do damage control.
It didn’t go over well with some of them. If I told you some of the backlash I got, you’d think I was lying.

There are so many things that happen throughout life and in relationships – some good, some bad. All in all, when you love someone, you get through it.

I love my life with Brian. It’s more than I could ever have asked for. He is a man who seeks after God with all of his heart and loves me and our kids more than anything in life. He is one of the most self-less, dedicated beings I’ve ever encountered and he strives to better our lives every day.

He truly is my knight in shining armour.

I still wear his helmet ring every day.

Happy Anniversary to my favourite guy in the whole world!

Do you have funny or crazy stories in your relationships? Comment below.