Mortgaged Heart

The Mortgaged Heart at The Dew Abides
The Mortgaged Heart at The Dew Abides

Courtesy of Flickr/Tax Credits

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions, but Brad and I are doing something a little unusual.

Instead of a laundry list of projects, we’ve set a lofty goal for ourselves that promises to make for a challenging year.

And we do love a good challenge.

Over the last fifteen years, we’ve restored four houses, including the one we live in, and are working on number five. Our dream was to improve the neighborhood while, one day, generating rental income for retirement.

Frugal living has allowed us to pay off all but one of those homes, and we’ve made a decision to clear out the remaining mortgage by the end of 2016.

Even “good debt” is debt, and we want to be beholden to no one.

Friends often joke that we live on nothing. Well now, we’ll be living on one-third of nothing, with the rest going straight to principal.

Y’all just thought we were cheap before.

To help us stay on track, we found an easily personalized budget spreadsheet that tallies expenses and automatically recalculates the amount remaining in each category. (Check out #5.)

There’ll be no cutbacks in entertainment, thanks to free weekly concerts at the Schwob School of Music, exhibits at The Columbus Museum, and lectures at the Carson McCullers Center.

And we’re still putting aside money each month to support our CSA because we want to prove to ourselves that healthy, local food is an option, even with limited funds.

But those eight dollar craft brews at our favorite farm-to-table restaurant are a thing of the past. Dammit.

We’re looking at it much as we did our first foray into The Pact, back in 2007. It’s a good way to separate want from need, and to figure out if we have to tweak our retirement plans — while we’re still young and have the safety net of gainful employment.

As we get further into this experiment, we’ll share more budget details along with what’s working and where we’ve fallen off the wagon. In the meantime, we wish you a happy and healthy 2016. Raise your glass with us to making this — and every year — count.

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