Hi y’all. It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving and I am feeling fabulous. The check is in the mail to pay off our insurance in full, which was one of our goals for this month and next week we will put $500 into savings, which is 50% of our second goal for the month.
Our mortgage also comes out today, which will be the final payment in our first year with a 10 year mortgage. Last time this year, we owed $142,000 on our house and as of the end of today, we will owe $128,695. It just blows my mind how much faster this is going than when it was a 30 year mortgage. If only we’d done a 10 or 15 year from the beginning!
Other positives – Mr. PoniesandFIRE has been getting mad hours at work lately. His next two checks should be way above what we budgeted for, which is fabulous going into vacation and the holiday season.
We got a bunch of snow last night and PoniesandFIREjr is psyched to play in the snow this weekend. I have a ton of lessons lined up to teach tomorrow and then it’s family time the next 36 hours. We work next week Monday through Wednesday and then it’s Thanksgiving and family vaca for the next 12 days straight!!!!
But I'm psyched for Christmas!
I love this time of year. Well, I love the holidays. I hate the cold, but Thanksgiving through Christmas is my JAM. Last year, Christmas with a four year old was awesome. I have a feeling, Christmas with a five year old this year is going to be even better.
Wanting to maximize all the holiday fun, without breaking the budget, I'm working on a list of Family Holiday Experiences to go all out this year. Here's what I have so far:
1. Write a letter to Santa. PoniesandFIREjr just discovered the fun of mail and we will be writing a letter to Santa together.
2. Go for a winter walk. We love family hiking, but as soon as it's cold, we tend to stop. I'm thinking we will do a winter walk and maybe hang up some homemade bird feed around our property.
3. Drive around and look at the lights. We have some neighborhoods reasonably close by that decorate, so this is a fun family evening. We'll bring some hot cocoa for the ride.
4. Bake cookies for our neighbor. We live in the country, so not a lot of close neighbors, but we do have one widowed neighbor whom I'm sure would love a delivery of cookies from PoniesandFIREjr.
5. Cut our own tree. Annual tradition. We then spend the evening decorating and listening to Christmas music.
6. Family movie night to watch all the classics - Rudolph, Frosty, etc.
7. Make homemade horse treats and bring them to all the horses at the barn. This one is a little specific to our family, but is a fun tradition for us!
8. Have a "no electronics night" in our new family Christmas PJs and read all our Christmas books and play board games.
9. Put together a bag of donations for our local organization that helps families in need. Mostly outgrown clothes and toys.
10. Put together a bag of donations for the dog rescue where we adopted our dog.
Any other holiday traditions you and your family do that don't cost much? Leave me a comment!
Mortgage – $1950 (11/16)
Electric - $115
DishTV - $75
Insurance bill - $500 (11/19)
Daycare - $928 (11/1)
Groceries - $450
Gas/Diesel - $400
Trash - $35
Cellphones - $115
Truck payment - $551
Savings - $1,000
Spending money - $152
Clothing - $150 (way above normal, we all needed a few things this month)
Sinking funds - $250
Travel/Thanksgiving - $150
Disney Vacation – PAID ALREADY
Total – $6,721
Our income is an estimate, as Mr. PoniesandFIRE never knows exactly what his hours will be, so we budget based on the prior year weekly average. This income also doesn’t include my side business income, as we don’t want to rely on that, nor does it include anything extra like Poshmark sales.
Basically, we like to budget based on worst case income scenario and then that helps smooth the waters when things pop up that we forgot to plan for.
Anxiously counting down until next summer, when daycare costs will cease. Our plan is for me to work from home/go into the office after Mr. PoniesandFIRE gets home/take some time off in July and August until PoniesandFIREjr starts Kindergarten in September.
We are working on small goals this month, with big things on the horizon for us.
1. Add $1,000 to savings
2. Pay off our insurance bill completely ($500)
3. Enjoy Thanksgiving and our first vacation in over 3 years!
We are headed to Disney at the end of the month and cannot wait to see the Christmas decorations in Disney. PoniesandFIREjr does not know yet, we plan to wake him up the morning we are leaving and surprise him then.
Why are we doing a vacation when we still have debt? Well, for starters, several years ago, we agreed our next Disney vacation would be when the mortgage was under $130k. We hit that last month!
Secondly, it is paid for. We have paid it off already, we have spending money set aside and will bring zero debt home with us.
We certainly could have used the funds we spent on this to pay down our truck, but it only would have changed our pay off date by a few months and we plan to kill the truck loan by spring, either way.
I am trying to embrace a little more balance in our lives, as I tend to get crazy intense on the finances. I’m sure Dave Ramsey and some of the FIRE community would disagree with our choice to do a vacation like this now, but honestly, they don’t live in my house. Personal finance is personal and at the end of the day, my husband and I are the ones that have to live with our choices.
That being said, we have already agreed that our next big vacation won’t be until we are 100% debt free, house included. I expect we will come home from this vacation fired up to get killing our debt, if only for the promise of another guilt free vacation.