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Our New Debt Profile: What Loan Should We Pay Off First?

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As you know, we started off our professional lives with over $200,000 in student loan debt. After almost 8 years of paying those down — sometimes with minimum payments and sometimes aggressively — we are down to about $177,000. Last month, we added a $517,500 mortgage to our debt profile. Because we borrowed just under 88% of the value of our house, we have to pay PMI. PMI, or mortgage insurance, is tacked on to mortgages for more than 80% of the appraised value of the house. Once the mortgage Read more […]

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What Would You Do With a Bonus?

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Commuting home the other night, the radio gave away $1,000 to the 25th caller. When I heard the announcement, I regretted that I was driving, because there was no way I could dial and drive at the same time. I really didn’t think my chances were very high anyway, so I wasn’t about to pull over to make the call. I got home and put dinner on the table, then waited for my boys to get home. They were late. When they arrived, Mr. Stapler told me that they stopped at Five Guys for a burger Read more […]

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Pivot {A New Direction for Staples Deals}

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a Staples deal since last year. You may have noticed that I actually took on more debt instead of paying off student loans. You may have noticed that I haven’t snagged any free batteries in the entire time that this blog has been live. What?!?! Although I continue to love getting free stuff at Staples, my life has changed significantly over the past year. With an infant, a preschooler, and a new (to me) house, I haven’t had the time to stop at Read more […]

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April Financial Update: A Whole New Debt Profile

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When I pictured my first night as a homeowner, I had an image of sitting in front of our new fireplace, surrounded by moving boxes and sipping champagne. Our actual first night as homeowners was nothing like that. I spent the evening in the basement, learning how to perform maintenance on the waterproofing system. Just as the record snowfall here in the Northeast tested even the best ice dam prevention measures, the resulting thaw is testing even the most sophisticated waterproofing systems. Read more […]

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30 Things to Do After You Buy Your First Home

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Just a little update from my previous post … 30 Things To Do Before You Move In To Your First Home … Aside from unpacking a whole lotta boxes, I compiled a brief list chronicling all the things we did in the first week of home ownership. Please tell me that some of these things sound familiar to you!  30 Things To Do AFTER You Move In To Your First Home Turn the water heater down. Feel energy savvy. Install programmable thermostat. Feel uber energy savvy. And handy around the Read more […]

Two Things I Wish I’d Known About Down Payment Gifts

When it came time to buy our first house, my parents did an amazingly generous thing: They gave us a big chunk of money for our down payment. We truly appreciate the gift, and wanted to find a great way to say "thank you." Unfortunately, our mortgage company made us do the opposite. Instead of making it easy for them to be generous, I had to call my parents and ask for "just one more favor" as the bank made them jump through hoops and intruded into their personal finances. Little did I know, Read more [...]
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30 Things To Do Before you Move In To Your First Home

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Finding and negotiating a home purchase is only the beginning of the work and stress involved in buying a house. We are in the home stretch of the home-buying and moving process, and my “To Do” list was about five times longer after we found the perfect house at the right price. There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. We close this week! In the event that it might be useful for other planning purposes, I am sharing my quick and dirty list of the things that have been on my plate Read more […]

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March Financial Update: Spending Frozen!

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We continued our spending freeze in February because January’s freeze didn’t seem so difficult, and our spending was solid ice all month long! I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished. We had two big expenditures that were predicted, and other than that we had no unexpected spending, not even takeout. How did the Spending Freeze Go? The first big expense was our house deposit and associated purchase fees, to the tune of over $30,000. This huge expense motivated us to keep our spending frozen. The Read more […]

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5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Next Move

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Moving can be such a pain. I have moved over a dozen times in my lifetime. Once, I rented a moving truck that was too small. On moving day, we had an entire garage full of stuff that I didn’t even want, which we had to leave behind and clean out the next weekend. The worst part? We had moved to a different state. So, cleaning out that garage took us an entire day and wasted a ton of money on another truck rental and lots of gas. Lesson learned. Don’t get me wrong: I love to plan a move Read more […]

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Nobody’s Perfect: Thoughts on Choosing the Right Path

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In life, in parenting, in money management, in relationships, you name it: Nobody’s perfect. First, we play the hand that is dealt us. Then, our decisions don’t always lead to the result we wanted. In my 36 years on this planet, I’ve learned that the best way we can go about our one and only life is to make the best decisions we can make, with the information we have at the time. There is no one better equipped to make those decisions than yourself. It is with that outlook that Mr. Stapler Read more […]