It’s All in How You Look at It

As regular readers will know, one of my goals is to pay off our mortgage by December of 2011. (Or sooner!)

I’ve had that goal for several years, in fact, but it just kind of sat off to the side most of the time. Every now and then it’d pop up to say, “Hey, don’t forget about me!” and then go quietly back to the land of procrastinated goals.

In fact as recently as this past January, the only actionable step I was taking toward that goal was to send at least $35 extra a month toward the mortgage.

Then one day this summer, I woke up and realized that December of 2011 was almost here.

Uh, oops.

$35 extra a month wasn’t going to cut it.

So I opened up my Pay Off Debt snowball app and experimented a bit to figure out just how much we’d have to send to the mortgage to meet our goal date.

The answer was something like an extra $5000 per month.

In other words, we’d have to send at least $5800 per month toward the mortgage, starting immediately. Plus our self-escrow amounts for taxes and insurance.

We sure didn’t have that kind of money laying around, but I figured there were two ways to look at it:

  1. We could get depressed and give up on reaching our goal date.
  2. We could figure out how to make an extra $5000 a month after taxes, starting immediately.

I decided to go with option two.

So far that’s involved brainstorming with my husband, both of us working harder and doing things on the side, working on improvements for my app, getting a raise, agreeing which planned purchases we’d hold off on and which we would continue with, and looking for extra room in our spending plan.

While there’s no guarantee that we will meet our goal, I can guarantee that we won’t stop trying. Hard.

Because it’s all in how you look at it, and then what you decide to do about it.


  • Wow… an extra $5,000 vs. an extra $35 is quite a jump!

    Here’s the ONE thing I worry about if you get to an extra $5,000…. once you make that much, how will you know that you will put it all towards paying down principle? Maybe you keep it in the bank and save, or spend it on an investment etc. It’s harder than you think, b/c I’ve done the same thing, and ended up saving most of the money instead!

  • For me the things to worry about would be that I’d spend it on some great trips various places, but we’ve already agreed on the one big trip we’ll go on. (New Zealand, next summer.) Any other trips will have to be free or out of even more additional money earned.

    Although I have to admit that I was terribly tempted to buy a condo recently, tempted was all it was.

    I am a very strong-willed and determined person, and I really want to get the mortgage paid off, so I’m not going to do things to sabotage that. My husband and I will also help keep each other on track when we get tempted.

  • As i was reading I though “Oh, I guess I’d push back that goal date” but that is why I am not as motivational as you. Good luck!

  • Wow! That is a huge goal! Good luck. I hope you keep us all posted on your success and brainstorming ideas.

  • I like that you went with option 2. My wife and I just had the same conversation last night (except, not about a mortgage), and we decided to increase our income because there just isn’t enough to cut back on!

    Oh, and us Windows Mobile people are waiting for our app as well! ;-)

    • I like that you went with option 2 too :)

      There are so many platforms to develop for, I hope to get to additional ones sometime (right now it’s just for iPhone/Touch and Android) but it’s going to be awhile. Especially since I’m shoveling everything I can at the mortgage.

  • Wow. That’s a lot of money. GOOD LUCK!!! I’ll be interested to hear what you come up with.

  • Pam McCormick

    I am living proof these things can be done.We paid off house in 2005, paid for college for daughter,wedding etc you get the idea.Here’s how I did it…I can pay $1500 each month and x12= 18K then $2000 can be done by using the 3rd check(if you are paid every 2 weeks) that happens 2 x per year to total 20K that you can put towards something like paying off mortgage or whatever big goal you have.

  • Wow, good luck! You know what they say about necessity and invention…

    (Just had a look at your app in iTunes. Well done! Looks great.)

  • I Love that it is just as simple as we need to make some extra cash! Very motivational

  • Jackie, have you outlined a post on how you plan to make an extra $5,000 net a month? That’s a lot of money, and closer to $7,000 gross a month before taxes!

    • No, I haven’t done a post specifically on that. So far our “plan” is pretty much what’s written here though. I will definitely write a post on how we actually do it though!