Last month (July):
Years left: 10.4166667
P = $737.96, I =$476.44, Escrow = 591.95
This month (August):
Years left: 10.25
P = $743.63, I =$470.77, Escrow = 591.95
Another unpaid summer month, so not much of a pre-payment. I accidentally overpaid state income estimated taxes (as in… paid them almost twice over because I’m an idiot), so we got a nice totally unexpected refund last month, but I think we will just keep it in savings until we get travel reimbursements. One months savings from this month’s prepayment: ~$2.75.
When some of my house gets cleaned unexpectedly (DH needs a break from work without feeling guilty about it, for example), other things that didn’t used to bother me suddenly need cleaning too. So I clean them. Coffee rings need scrubbing. Countertops need wiping. Before you know it entire rooms are sparkling. Even though before the small cleaning the residual squalor didn’t bother me a bit. It is kind of nice having a (temporarily) clean house.
Of course, at some point we get busy and a spill doesn’t get cleaned up. Which means there’s less push to clean up the next mess. Eventually we’re ankle deep in cat-fur and our usual squalor. And I don’t notice it until the next time one of us needs a break and feels guilty about taking one.
There’s a theory in social science called the Broken Windows theory. This is the idea that if you go into a dangerous neighborhood and, instead of arresting people and working hard on getting rid of the crime, you do little things like clean up graffiti, fix broken windows etc, then the residents will start to clean up the rest of the neighborhood themselves, pushing out the criminal element. The theory is controversial, the evidence highly mixed, mainly because there aren’t very clean experiments or estimation strategies. Even if it does work, one problem, elucidated in a good talk I went to, is that neighborhoods tip with gentrification; once the neighborhood is nice, poor folks can’t afford to live there and yuppies move in.
Do you think there’s anything valid to the Broken Window’s theory, either in your own life or in the grand scheme of things? What makes your house tip into sparkliness or squalor? How about neighborhoods?