Money goals? Or lifestyle goals?

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My year to get leaner worked some magic on my mortgage. My mortgage isn’t lean but it is definitely leaner.

At the start of the year my mortgage was in the high $500,000, so the interest is huge. The $38,000 off the principal this year is almost matched by the interest I paid. All of that didn’t come from not not buying clothes! I didn’t buy much of anything – no furniture, no household appliances, no jewellery, no knick-knacks, no magazines. I was careful with groceries – menu planning and only buying what we needed.

For 2014 I am torn between continuing to throw money at my mortgage and getting it below $500,000 or paying the minimum (or just above the minimum) and using the funds to have some work done around the house.

The logical, money-wise action would be to pay down the mortgage. Money saved on not paying interest is a huge saving, and would allow me to get work done in the future without having debt.

But having a nice home is important to me. Mr Sans and I are not handy, and don’t enjoy DIY. I also work long hours in a stressful job, so when I have time off, I need to rest and recuperate, or I would not be able to continue.

So my choice for goals: do I get my mortgage below $500,000 by the end of 2014, and wait a year for the work I want done – house painted, garden landscaped and maintained, and kitchen renovated.

Or do I do the work now?

Which way to go?

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Maybe I can do both?

I will be getting a small pay rise next year, and I could look to cut some expenses, like electricity and gas. Mmmm. Thinking.

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12 thoughts on “Money goals? Or lifestyle goals?

    • I think I will live with the decor things but will fix the things that will/may result in greater and more expensive damage. Or cause more work the longer I leave them.

      I will definitely be paying above the minimum on my mortgage as well.

  1. I am curious about the age of your house? Mine is 17 years old and will need a new roof and furnace by the time it is 25, so I have to start saving for those unsexy replacements. Have you been living in the house very long and do you plan to stay there for many years ahead? A nicer home needs to be maintained well and that requires ongoing expenditures. Interested to hear what you choose!

    • Front of my house is over 100 years old. Back is about 15 years. We replaced the roof at the front this year; the tiles were the original terracotta ones and were all brittle and cracking, so we had leaks. That was $10,000.

      You are spot on about a house needing regular maintenance. We have things my parents would have fixed in a flash.

  2. I would throw as much money as possible at your house as well keeping some aside for one repair/fix-up per year, therefore having the best of both worlds.

  3. It’s hard to decide. One thing I would factor in is the stress level of the work. A major kitchen reno coupled with an already stressful job might cause an implosion. But it’s all very subjective!

  4. Ooh, that’s a tough one! I like how others suggested a little of both – some home improvement, some early mortgage payments. Have you gotten estimates for any of the projects? It may be easier to decide once you have dollar amounts to think about.

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