This is a first in a series-- I'll be going through each line-item in our $1,800 monthly budget, explaining and expounding the single number. That way you can see all the underlying factors that allow it to be what it is. Maybe by explaining each line, I'll even find some ways to streamline it even more than it is!
First up: The Mortgage.
We bought a fixer-upper house for just shy of $70,000. We got a sweet mortgage rate of 3%, and have been paying it off ever since. Yay.
290.06-- minimum payment
800.00-- current monthly payment.
We paid the minimum for about 6 months, then decided we might as well
just pay an even $300. Then we decided we wanted to pay it off as soon
as we could, and paid a $16,000 chunk of our savings towards the
principal. At some point around then, I finally reached journeyman pay
level at the grocery store ($15/hr, instead of the $10-11/hr I was
earning before), and we decided we were going to put as much toward the
principal as was reasonably feasible. After that $16k chunk, we started
paying $750/month. We did that for a couple months, and then bumped it
up to $800 per month in October of 2011.
Not a numbers person? See, here is a nice picture.
We currently owe $28,395.50 in principal, and we're hoping that we'll have enough saved up by early next year* to pay it off altogether.
*Namely, tax return time.
I will be super happy to see $800 more in free cash flow.