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Paying Off The Mortgage Update: May 2014


So how much money was I able to scrounge up for my mortgage payment in May? Well, if you remember, I did get paid 3 times in the month (which is the beauty of bi-weekly pay – you get an extra check two months out of the year) and I was reimbursed for my classes from the Winter semester. Yup, May had the makings of one huge payout.

When I began this mortgage payoff journey in February (just 3 months ago), my mortgage balance was at $53,800. My goal was (and still is) to get this balance down to zero by the end of December, 2014. In March, I was able to put $10,000 toward the mortgage. And, in April I scrounged up another $3,524.08. After just two months, my mortgage was down to $39,999.99!

The Mortgage Payment in May

I honestly wish May had been a little better. Since my site was penalized earlier in the month (and still remains penalized with a Page Rank of zero…), my income has taken a substantial dive. Instead of hitting my goal target of $7,500 in the month of May, I was only able to bring down the principle of my mortgage by $5,880.49, which puts my loan amount at $34,119.50. Now, don’t get me wrong, $5,880 is a TON of money, but I feel like I could have done better. Plus, I don’s have any large payments coming my way in the near future, so I need to step it up in the upcoming months or this overall goal of paying off the mortgage is going to slip away from me (in other words, I might quickly drift to the right of this orange line, which is a bad thing!).

mortgage payoff May 2014

The Mortgage Outlook for June

While I am still holding my own vs. the targeted goal line on the chart above, I fear that June might be the month that does me in. At this time last year, my property taxes came due, so I am expecting that bill to come in the mail any day now. In addition to this, I need to pay in my quarterly taxes for the earnings from my site. After these large expenses, I am not even certain that I will be able to pay anything extra toward the mortgage.

However, I am bound and determined to keep myself below that target line, which means that I need to come up with $1,797 in extra funds by June 30th. Here is how I intend to do it:

  1. Continue to write staff articles – I am a steady writer for a few different blogs. This earns me about $200 per month.
  2. Write a crap ton of articles for $15 a piece. To all you bloggers out there, if you need some articles written because you have a busy summer coming up, please consider me for hire.
  3. Line up advertisements for others. There are still a ton of bloggers looking for ad dollars and if some of my contacts are looking for a page to place an ad, I have a few friends that I can direct them to (and can take a small portion of the cut).
  4. Flip a car – I am a little apprehensive about doing this again, because I would really need to sell it quickly to realize the earnings in the month of June, but if I see a good deal come along, I won’t be shy about buying it.
  5. Mowing lawns – This won’t produce a ton of money, but every little bit helps! I hope to make an extra $100 mowing lawns in June.
  6. Keep my normal expenses low – I intend to use basically no gas as well as go easy on the A/C and groceries.

Encouragement needed! Do you have any other ideas on how I can keep pace with my goals?

Money Mortgage Payoff


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Interesting. You write pretty well, and I have several blogs that need content. You have my email address. Tell me what you can do for $15.

    • Sent you an email Howard! I hope to work with you soon. 🙂

  2. Good job Derek. If it makes you feel any better, the property tax bill will be in your mailbox the 1st week of July and due mid-August. Maybe it helps in the planning department. I’m anxious to hear about your gas rationing results. Ride on, my friend!

    • That does help somewhat. I mean, it will be due eventually, but this info does help me in my planning! Thanks!

  3. I could use a few articles for my site too.

    Other ideas: You may want to consider mystery shopping, although it takes a little while to get the cash flow built up. It’s a little longer term than just this month. That gives you some possible future blog topics too.

    • Mystery shopping huh? I actually haven’t thought about that one (probably because I am not too fond of shopping). I will keep that in mind though. Thanks Matt! Oh, and I have sent you an email regarding the articles.

  4. Pretty cool. Why did you decide to pay off the mortgage early?

  5. I’m always encouraged by your motivation. Do you have anything you could sell on Ebay or Craig’s list? Have you approached any small businesses about yard work. We used to have a terrible time finding reliable people. You can usually charge more if it’s commercial.

    • I don’t have too many things that I could sell, but I might be able to get some cash for my old baseball cards and a huge roll of fabric that I have collecting dust in the closet. As for the commercial mowing, wouldn’t that be tough with a reel mower? I’m just picturing a huge yard and a very small mower, which would be nearly impossible.

  6. Derek,
    You keep going – you’re doing fantastic! Let me second doing commercial lawn work. I know our HOA is having a really hard time finding reliable lawn/open space workers. You might be able to pull in some extra money doing that in your free time. Best of luck. You’re going to get there – it’s always when your that close to your goal that it’s the hardest – at least it is for me. Looking forward to celebrating your dead mortgage!

    • Thanks Jim! I am looking to mow lawns with my tiny reel (old school style) mower, so I don’t know if a commercial contract would be feasible. I will keep my eyes open for opportunities though!

  7. Derek,
    I grew up using an old school reel mower – my muscles still hurt! It might be cost-effective to rent a “new school” mower (or borrow one from a bud) to get some commercial work. They generally pay well. Just a thought.

    • I could probably do that, but how do I go about finding commercial lawns to mow? Look around for long grass?? Post an ad on Craigslist?…

  8. What I would suggest is that you figure out what the most expensive subdivisions are that are within a reasonable distance from your home. Google their HOA’s and then get in touch with the board members – you can email them in a matter of minutes. Tell them their open spaces (whatever the HOA is maintaining) has a broken sprinkler head (assuming that’s true), their flowers are dying, their grassy areas look neglected – whatever and then sell them on your reliability. Hell, I’d even offer to do some work for free to let them see the quality of your work. There are guys where I live making a frickin ton of money just blowing leaves out of rocky areas (seriously? yes!) and I see them riding on those mowers for literally blocks on end, chilling with their music, etc. I think it would be a nice side hustle. And that’s just the local neighborhoods. I’m sure there are business districts nearby that you could do the same with – I just don’t know how you’d find out who would be doing the hiring for that. Best of luck.

    On another (sort of) note – I am seriously thinking about taking out a loan against my (crappy 457 plan that I haven’t been able to contribute to for years) once our mortgage is below $50K. I’m thinking that takes our house out of “danger” (’cause the mortgage would be paid) at least a year earlier than we’d otherwise be able to pay it off and we’d be paying ourselves 3.75% on that loan (with exceedingly secure jobs), all while pulling $50K out of the market that I really think is going to “correct” (i.e. tank) in the next year or so. Thoughts?

    • Hi Jim. Thanks for the advice on the commercial mowing. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for an opportunity like that. As for the 457 plan, I don’t know too much about these, but whenever I hear of someone borrowing against their investments it makes me a little nervous. Yes, your job may seem secure, but I am sure that there is always a slight chance that you could get kicked to the curb. Either that or you find your dream job and want to quit your current job. In either case, you will be expected to pay back your loan in full. And, if we are talking about $50,000, that’s quite a big chunk of change to come up with. Personally, I never like the idea. It just seems a bit too risky.

      • Derek,
        Sorry, I know this is off topic, but I really do think I’m going to take a $50K loan against my crappy 457 plan to pay off the mortgage. Here’s why: we have gotten our a$$es seriously burned twice in the market now where we could have paid off our mortgage 3X over by now – easily. That market is going to “correct” and I don’t want to see that $50K just up and disappear because of some “correction”. (love the euphemisms they use for “correct”). That would still leave leave us with just under $1M invested in the market, so I’m not seeing a downside to borrowing, not withdrawing, $50K. Spouse and I have both been at the same jobs for 28 years. Really don’t see anyone kicking us to the curb anytime soon.

        Appreciate your thoughts and caution, but this may well be one time when I swim against the tide.

        Best of luck to you – just waiting to hear your mortgage is dead and we’ll be celebrating right along side of you – Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Best of luck to you Jim. It really does sound like you have done your research, so I’m not nervous for your decision. Let me know how everything goes though!

  9. Derek,

    Print a few business cards. Hand them out to the businesses that look like you could
    handle the lot size. Too, many businesses have flower beds that need work. You could
    charge more for that service to be an add on.

    We once owned a restaurant. We paid 30.00 for simply cutting a small section around the building.
    It was a pizza restaurant. The guy decided he would rather barter. He chose to have two large pizzas
    of choice. Sweet deal for both of us! 🙂

    • Good idea Joy. Thanks for the helpful comment!

  10. Hi Derek, Awesome job the last couple months! I hope you reach your goal of getting it paid off by the end of the year, but even if you are shy, I bet it will be knocked out in the first quarter or 2 of 2015.

    What’s really great is with the money you just shoveled in, I bet the interest portion of your regular payments has shrunk considerably.

    • You know, I was just noticing that John! My payment just a few months ago had $350 going to the principle and $165 going to interest. Now, after these payments, my regular payment has $410 going to the principle and only $105 going to interest. It is pretty cool to see!

  11. Congrats on your success! I know you’ll be able to accomplish your goal and join the mortgage-free club with me because you are focused. There are always stumbles along the way, but you can do it.

    • I sure hope I can get there! It’s looking questionable at the moment, but I’m going to keep driving forward! Thanks for the comment Mike. Always good to hear from you (especially on this topic).

  12. Hopefully you’ll be able to get your page rank back soon and some of the uncertainty will pass. Regardless how it turns out, you’ve been doing a great job so far!

    • I sure hope so! I have already been denied twice though, so I’m not sure what else to do… I will definitely keep trying though. Thanks for the motivating compliments!

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