November mortgage update: Spending has stabilized

Last month (October):
Balance:$19,075.74
Years left: 1.4166666666666667
P =$1,134.40, I =$80.00, Escrow =$809.48

This month (November):
Balance:$17,936.85
Years left: 1.333333333
P =$1,138.89, I =$75.51, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

Our spending in paradise seems to have stabilized.  That’s good, because remember how I put a big lump sum into checking based on what I thought we’d be spending over and above our income?  Yeah, that’s all gone now.  100% gone.  It did not actually last 11.5 months.  Spending without guilt worked a bit too well.  Whoops!

That’s a little bit misleading– several thousand dollars went to pay for (unexpected) travel that got reimbursed, but to a different account (deposits are going into our Wells Fargo account, not our main credit union account).  So we didn’t really overspend our wad quite as badly as it seems.

Still, I was surprised to see that for the month of October we spent a little bit under what we earned.  The number in our savings account went up instead of down!  It helps that we have a tenant for our regular house now, and it helps that I’m now getting paid again, even if only at half my regular salary.  It helps more that we seem to have settled down with the right amount of furniture and our pantry is relatively full.  We’ve also figured out grocery stores and are not wasting money at the more expensive stores when there are less expensive groceries that are better.

The holidays will probably be pretty expensive, because they usually are.  We’ll have presents to buy and lots of restaurant trips to pay for.   But then February and March will probably be pretty cheap, because they usually are.

It’s a bit deceptive– it feels like we could live in paradise forever when we start saving instead of overspending.  But that’s only true with job security and high salaries.  If I left my job, we would lose job security, and they’re not going to pay me to not teach for more than one year every five years or so.  And there’s no guarantee rents won’t increase beyond what we could pay and without job security or a lot more savings, buying a house would be extremely risky.  So we’ll be returning home at the end of the year, where we can save and save and save… but never enough to quit and move out here.  I suppose that’s a problem with paradises– surrounded by beautiful slender people one feels fat, and surrounded by the wealthy one feels poor.

16 Responses to “November mortgage update: Spending has stabilized”

  1. Debbie M Says:

    Glad your spending has leveled out at a good level.

    And bummer about having to move away from paradise, but you are having a nice, long stay compared to people who only get to vacation there.

    Admire all the beautiful slender people and the wealth from afar, like they’re in a museum. And think of a good souvenir to bring back. Pictures? Recipes? One of the things you bought to sub for something you already have that turned out to be better?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have been discussing whether or not to keep the king-sized bed… it may be hard to go back to a regular queen-size, even if it is organic. (But then, of course, we’d have to move stuff back.)

      • Debbie M Says:

        Ha! I actually prefer twin-sized beds. And skinny boyfriends. And, obviously, cuddling.

        You get so much more floor space! And the sheets are cheaper! But I know I’m a weirdo. (We currently are compromising on a double bed. And with all of the millions of dressers he’s moved in, we have the bed on a diagonal to make it easier to get around. Why, yes, my house is kind of small.)

        You don’t have to move the king-sized bed back; you could sell it and re-buy. Maybe just move the sheets. And pillows.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        King size mattresses are expensive! I don’t think we’d be able to get the “moving to a different state” deal we got on this one. Plus we have a lovely fairly young organic queen-size mattress back home and another two(!) queen sized beds in addition to DC1’s twin bed back home.

        We brought our pillows from home, so they’ll be going back with us.

  2. chacha1 Says:

    congratulations on achieving equilibrium. :-)
    I would totes keep the king-sized bed.

  3. Leigh Says:

    COL areas and incomes vs costs are really interesting to me. We could sell my condo and buy a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3000 sqft house in my boyfriend’s hometown, in cash, with money leftover. But we wouldn’t find jobs there. At the same time, by keeping our spending low in the HCOL area, we can save a lot more, despite lots of things being more expensive here. In another couple years, we could retire in his hometown. But that’s not what we want. We’d rather stay here, or at the very least in a city.

    Can you not look for a job at a school in Paradise? I think that’s the part I’m most confused on.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It is very difficult to specify geography in academic markets. There has to be a school at a level willing to hire you that has an opening in your field and then you have to be the candidate that they choose. The probability of that happening someplace nice to live is pretty darn small unless you are a superstar, which I am not!

      • Debbie M Says:

        Shocking! You seem like a superstar to us.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Aww, shucks. But if I were one, I’d be living in paradise already!

        That’s not to say I’m not awesome though! Just that I’m at an R1 and not a top 15 or whatever school. So, solid.

        #2’s sister (who sometimes reads the blog) did ask me exactly how famous I am at #2’s wedding. The answer is not very, but some famous people recognize my face at conferences and a few could even pick me out of a line-up. I actually have a post on this topic queued up in a week or two. It keeps getting pushed back to make way for book review posts.

  4. Revanche Says:

    Yay for equilibrium! I feel the same about being able to “afford paradise”. Or in this case, a house here. We could just about make it work probably but not really, not if we want to be responsible and still have savings, and not up a creek if one of us loses a job.

    But as much as moving things sucks, I vote for the king sized bed too. There’s just such a difference! (We can only have a queen and I love for king sized. So I might be projecting.)

  5. Leah Says:

    Congrats on continuing to chip away on your mortgage. Spending is such a tricky and frustrating thing even when planned for. This was all set to be a really low spending month for me ($200 credit card bill? What?), and then our car went and decided to let a wheel bearing go bad. That plus a new set of tires (which we had already planned for November but did since we were in the shop anyway) set us back $700. Dang.

    Just remember that you save and save to be prepared for opportunity. And, maybe, one of these days, you will find a job opening in paradise, or in semi-paradise, or somewhere decent at least. Then, you will be prepared to jump.

    Side question: I know you’re concerned about banking stuff once you pay off your mortgage. Have you considered (or is it even possible) to add some money to your mortgage to finance renovations like the kitchen? That would extend your timeline a bit but also put off the worrying about the bank account. Alternatively, a year of not paying for a mortgage at all is enough time to save up to redo the kitchen, yes?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Better the big unexpected expense come when you’re not spending much than when you’re already spending a lot! We’ve discovered that our emergency expenses have tended to predictable over the years– we don’t know what they’re going to be, but they tend to average to the same amount over a 3 month period. We had the tire thing happen shortly after we got here, which is better than it happening to DH while driving here!

      The banking thing is totally irrational. We can either jump through whatever hoops they’re requiring these days for free checking (auto-deposits?), get rid of the wells fargo account, or just pay the monthly fee. We have a local credit union account that is still free that works just fine so long as we don’t travel. There’s probably also online banking options that would refund atm fees.

      We would have to take out a home equity line of credit, I think. If we really wanted, we could reamortize and then we’d have several years of small payments left. But that seems like more hassle than just figuring out the banking situation!

      We should have money left after this trip to redo the kitchen if things keep going as they are, especially if DC1 goes to public instead of private school when we get back. But we’ll see. Our town is having a bit of a building boom right now so we may have to get on wait lists.

      • Leah Says:

        Yes, we have similar with “unexpected” expenses. Our expenses actually work out pretty well over the year. Plus, we do well enough at saving that it’s not a giant deal. It’s more like a “crap, I can’t quite buy a new couch as soon as I wanted” type of “setback.” I know my old car periodically needs maintenance, so this is just part of that. On the bright side, I haven’t had a car payment in over 7 years! We also have enough saved up that we could potentially buy a pretty nice car if mine suddenly kicks the bucket.

        I bank through Schwab and am really happy with them. Free ATMs, deposit checks by pic (tho I still mail them in or use my husband’s local bank account), small amount of interest, free checks. They’re free as long as your paycheck is auto-deposited. I’d suggest looking into it. I also have my Roth IRA there, and I am going to start putting some money into the stock market too (based on suggestions from your readers — not ready to dump a bunch of our savings in, but our savings is high enough that I will divert some each month into the stock market to see what I can do).

        Will DC2 also potentially go to public school? Looking forward to hearing those thoughts from you. We still have a good 3+ years until the school decision, but we have a lot of options for being in the tiny “city” we are in. There are two religious private schools for elementary plus three public elementary (can open enroll in any of them) and two charter schools. If I wanted to commute to drive my kid to school, there are a few other good schools within a 30 minute drive, but I’m not going to do that. I’m already somewhat stressed as many of our friends have older kids and are all making various decisions about where to send them.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DC2’s birthday is right before the cutoff instead of right after it, so it’s less likely zie will have to skip a grade. But we will play it by ear. I guess zie will be four when we get back. Ugh. Not ready to think about this.

  6. SP Says:

    I too worry about affording my paradise, but… let’s hope that we can, because that is our plan for now!

    I’m glad the spending has stabilized for you -that must be a bit of a relief, even if the extra spending was planned for!


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