Tag Archives: Dream Home

The Life We Live

Never in a million years did I ever think I would tell random strangers about our personal life. But here I am telling the whole world about the life we live. I can’t really pinpoint a reason as to why I love to blog, but I do. I hope that eventually my blog will inspire others or teach others something of value to them. Not everyone is going to get the same thing out of my experience in life. So welcome to the life we live and I hope you find some tidbit of value in here somewhere.

I have spent the last month or more playing catch up in life. The whole month of May seemed to bring us bad luck. Five negative things happened pretty much back-to-back. I think there was a sixth, but I can’t remember what it was at the moment so it must not have been that bad.

  1. Kittens broke my laptop
  2. Hot Water heater started leaking
  3. Kevin injured his back at work
  4. Kevin’s truck died while in his mom’s possession
  5. Zachary (our 5-year-old) broke his elbow while we were at First Aid/CPR Classes

Thankfully, the laptop had a protection plan with the GeekSquad. So it took 2 weeks to get my laptop back. It’s still not 100% perfect like it was before it was broken. But it works, for now.

I replaced the hot water heater with minimal help from Kevin. He couldn’t lift anything because the same day he picked up the hot water heater from Lowe’s is when he hurt his back at work. So I ended up having to wait until that Friday to replace the hot water heater. Our old one was leaking, so we turned off the electricity running to it, drained it the best we could and then I rocked it to where I could put it on some cardboard from the new hot water heater and slid that sucker out the back door. I’m so glad we purchased waterproof flooring because the hot water heater was still half full of water, it wasn’t draining properly because of sediment from our well water.

Kevin ended up on some pretty heavy duty meds for about a week. So he was home with me and the kids resting up. In that time frame, his mom called him to tell him that his truck died on her. Come to find out, his truck threw a rod for the 2nd time since he purchased this truck in 2010. He loves this little Ford Ranger, but man does this engine in it suck. It had less than 70k miles on it, when it threw a rod for the second time. If only he would have gotten an extended warranty on that dang truck. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Now, Zachary’s broken elbow is a giant fiasco in and of itself. All I know is that it happened at the playground while his big brother was swinging on the swing set. He ended up needing surgery. We’re 4 weeks post-surgery and finally have his pins out.

So all-in-all, we’re finally started to get back on track with the life we live. It’s been a crazy ride and I hope that the rest of 2017 goes a little more smoothly than the month of May did for our family.

We need to get back on track with our debt journey. A few things set us back a little, but we’ll get back on track soon.

 


Getting Settled

We have spent the entire weekend getting settled. But in all reality, everything about this out-of-state move sucked. We spent a lot of money on a full-service move. Our furniture was ruined in our storage unit due to moisture which caused mold. So we went out Sunday and bought new furniture, from Ashley Furniture Home Store. We ended up with two couches and an 11 piece dining room set (the package we got came with two extra chairs and the leaf to expand the table). So if you are in the market for new furniture and near Leesburg, VA head on over to the Ashley Furniture Store and see George, he was phenomenal. The washer we had in storage, is still in our storage unit so we don’t know if it has any mold issues. So we just bought a new one because our 4-year-old is highly allergic to mold. We also had to have a whole new water softening/ purification system put in the old system wasn’t doing anything at all. So that was another large expense that we weren’t expecting.

The washer we had in storage, is still in our storage unit so we don’t know if it has any mold issues. So we just bought a new one because our 4-year-old is highly allergic to mold. We also had to have a whole new water softening/ purification system put in the old system wasn’t doing anything at all. So that was another large expense that we weren’t expecting.

This house is only our starter home and we’ve put a lot of money into it already. We may sell it in a few years as our kids grow and as Kevin gets more time with his job. He’s only been there about 8 months. Our goal is to have a custom home built.

Life is just crazy hectic right now. With the kids home for the summer, we’re trying to find things to do that all of them can participate in. We’ve found that all the kids enjoy shooting Kevin’s BB Gun and Connor’s airsoft gun. Of course, we’re teaching them proper gun safety, even the littlest ones. Not only that but Kevin and I are the ones that hold the guns for the youngest two. Therefore, they aren’t even in control of the gun.

The last few days have been rather boring. Filled with chores, cleaning, grocery shopping and solving problems. So hopefully, next week will be pretty calm because Kevin leaves for Texas on Monday. It is going to be a challenging week without my love here. We sure are going to miss him.

Well, I need to go get some things done. I need to find all the kitchen boxes that are in the garage, then I need to wash all the dishes. Hopefully, the kids will give me the opportunity to really get something done today.

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One Week Away

OMG! We are one week away from closing! Just 7 whole days until we sign our lives away for the next 30 years (our goal is to pay it off sooner, but we’ll work on that later). My anxiety about large purchases is kicking in. Anytime I’m faced with making a purchase over $2,000 I get a little anxious and then my stomach ends up in knots. Considering this is a purchase that totals up to way more than $2,000  I am really at a place where I constantly feel stressed, sick, anxious, etc. I’m ready for this to be over, so I can start feeling better. We’ve been on this roller coaster ride since March 11.

Since March 11th, we’ve had a ton of stress from the crap with Navy Federal, then having to switch banks on May 2nd. In 3 weeks, we’ve gotten everything done and ready for closing. We’re just one week away and yet it feels like an eternity.

I’m ready to be moving to Loudoun County. It’s probably one of the more expensive areas that we could have lived in, but it’s a good place for our kids to grow up. The schools are great. But property taxes are outrageous.

I’m waiting for the bank to update the loan tracker, so I can see what point we’re at in the game. We’ve got an estimated cost of $1,600 that will be needed for closing. So we’ll need to get a Cashier’s Check before we meet up for closing.

There are no words for how excited I really am about being a homeowner by this time next week. There are so many things that need to be done. I need to find the number for the electric company so we can start service in our names, then we need to get cable setup, and I need to get a flooring company out to give us a quote for hardwood floors in the basement. I don’t want carpet, so I need to get rid of it ASAP!

There are so many feelings running around in my head that I can’t even think straight. I’m just ready. Ready for things to get back to normal. Well, our new normal. I know that shortly after we get the house, Kevin will be traveling for work. So I’ll be home caring for the kiddos, getting them enrolled in their new schools, etc.

Well, this will most likely be the last post I make until we’ve gotten settled into the house and have internet.

Wish us luck with traveling with our 5 kids. Nothing can prepare you for such a stressful thing like that.

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Closing

OMG! We’re closing on our FIRST house together in 15 days! I cannot believe that I will be a homeowner in just over 2 weeks!

A lot has happened in the last few weeks and it has been smooth sailing towards our closing date now that we’re no longer working with Navy Federal Credit Union. I wish we could just close out ALL of our accounts, but that would just be stupid on our behalf. We have too many accounts that are linked to those cards, that I just don’t see the point in disrupting everything just because we’ve had one bad experience with our bank. But I’m glad we dodged the bullet with them as far as our mortgage goes.

Our house sorta “failed” the VA Appraisal portion. Basically, the VA sends out a licensed appraiser to make sure the house is in livable conditions. They don’t want active duty service members or veterans to purchase a home that needs extensive repairs that would overwhelm  them financially. So it’s really just a way to make sure that a service member or veteran doesn’t over extend themselves financially trying to fix a home and then default on their home, causing it to go into foreclosure.

So our house needs to have some minor repairs done in order for them to come out and “re-inspect” the things that failed the first time. Basically, they just wanted to make an extra $100 off the deal. But it’s whatever!

So our agent set us up with one of her licensed handyman connections in the area and he’s heading out to the house to fix the two faucets, make sure the automatic garage door opener works, and to paint our front steps! Another $450 that we’ve put into our home, not including the re-inspection fee of $100. I kid you not, we’ve put out $400 for a broken window (that alone would have failed our home for the VA appraisal), we put out $460 for a home inspection, $450 for the original appraisal fee. We’ve spent $1,900 in like 2 weeks time!!! UGH! That’s not including the $500 “good faith deposit” that you put down when you put in a contract on a home! Thankfully we still have plenty of money in savings to cover the 1/4 point for our 3.375% interest rate, plus the other closing costs.

The expenses of purchasing a home are freakin’ NUTS! Which I already knew that there were a lot of things involved, I’ve done extensive research over the last 2 years. During that time frame, we were working on paying off debts and making sure our credit scores were the highest we could get them before we ever applied for our mortgage loan. We wanted to get the best rate possible without putting out money for points. Obviously, we have REALLY GOOD/EXCEPTIONAL credit in order to get a 3.375% interest rate from the bank. If you are in the process of buying a home or are planning on it in the near future, make sure you shop around for the best rate. Check out your bank’s website. See what the lowest interest rate is BEFORE you apply. Make sure you know what your credit looks like. At the time, when we got pre-approved via Navy Federal the lowest rate was a 3.375%, when we had to get a pre-approved via Wells Fargo the lowest rate was 3.5%, a bank can automatically lower it 1/8th of a point without needing approval from a supervisor, so that’s what our loan specialist did. Since I really wanted that 3.375% rate, I agreed to pay $250 at closing (points are prepaid interest on a loan). Granted it was only $13 a month difference in our monthly payment, but it would have cost us more in the long run to have a 3.5% interest rate over the life of our loan! I’ll gladly pay the $250 in order to save THOUSANDS over the life of our loan.

Being that we are so close to closing, my anxiety is overwhelming. Like part of me is nervous about having another bill to pay. Well 3 or 4 more bills to pay each month…Mortgage, Electricity, Cable, etc. We still pay for the Maryland house, haven’t seen a dime from my in-laws in almost 3 months and before that it was like 4 or 5 months! They are so inconsistent and NEVER make a full “rent” payment so we can stop covering the mortgage payment on that damn house! But oh well, we’ve got a bank who sees that we’re on the up and up and that we can support our household even with two mortgage payments!

I’m so ready for closing day, ready to finally be able to plant roots and watch our children grow! We’re counting down the days to closing!!!! FIFTEEN DAYS!

I’ve started packing and purging the things we do not need anymore. Going to sell a few things, so we don’t have to drag them with us. EEEKKK… I’m so excited that this journey is finally changing chapters. We’re on to bigger and better things, one day at a time!

 

Well I’m off to fix my two little loves and myself some lunch!

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Remaining Stagnant

For the last 2 years, I have been in this funk or a rut. I feel like I am remaining stagnant. The longer I am here, the more I feel like I am unable to get out of this funk. I feel alone here. I feel tired. I just don’t feel myself. By remaining stagnant, I am not helping my children. I’m tired of submitting to this awful feeling.

So what does remaining stagnant have to do with anything? Well, I’m currently conditioning my mind to start over with our move, our new house, and all the space we’ll have available to us.

I’m really looking forward to being in Loudoun County. The schools in our area have great ratings. So I’m looking forward to them getting settled in and growing roots for the first real time in their lives. We know our house isn’t our dream home, so this is just a starter home. We plan on being there for about 10 to 12 years, while paying off the house. Once we’ve paid it off, we can use it for rental income and we can then move forward to buying our dream home (even if that means that we have to have one built for us).

I’m already trying really hard to eat better, but that really isn’t going to do much for me if I’m not active. Being here has ruined any kind of motivation I’ve had to lose weight, to better myself as an individual, etc. So I’m ready to get moving and get this show on the road. For the sake of my children I need to get back to the old me. I cannot keep on this path of remaining stagnant, my kids deserve the best.

By starting fresh in a new place, I’ve got to explore. I’ll be setting up a small home gym in the garage. Treadmill, punching bag, weight bench, free-weights, etc. All of which I have either in storage or my brother has offered to me since he is not using them anymore. So I have no reason not to workout once we move and I set everything up. I just will have to get up at 4am with Kevin. I’ll be working out and he’ll be getting ready for work.  I’ll be able to take my laptop out to the garage for some music and/or to use for BeachBody Workouts Videos.

I’ll also be spending more time doing things other than sitting on my butt. I have to be more active if I wish to lose weight and keep it off. I have to eat healthier and actually stop skipping meals. So I’ve already got containers for meal prepping, I have two digital kitchen scales to weigh my proteins for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. I have a Ninja Blender to make shakes. I’m doing everything I can to set myself up for success from the get go. We just have to get into our new home. If I start out on the right foot, then I think I’ll be able to keep myself on track.

We’re going to cut back on eating out (me not wanting to cook, so I order pizza) and also cut way back on my soda consumption. I’m also going to start buying a massive amount of fresh veggies and shrimp, so I can steam them daily for my lunches and dinners. Basically, I’m doing everything I can to keep myself motivated and preparing for the changes ahead.

There will be no option for me to allow myself the opportunity to continue to remain stagnant. I am moving away from this place and cannot wait to reunite with our family. We’re moving on to bigger and better things. I’m moving on to a better and healthier me! I just have to survive the next few weeks of “torture” and then we should be smooth sailing.

I know that there will be a time where I post a “before & after” photo. But I will probably also post during photos! But only time will tell. At this time, I cannot make any promises, as I don’t want to let anyone down.

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Changing Mortgage Lenders

So last week we had to change mortgage lenders. Our original choice for our mortgage loan was Navy Federal Credit Union. But that didn’t last long! We had the worst experience with them, that I’ll explain in this post. So at the last minute, we had to change lenders and decided to go with Wells Fargo. Changing mortgage lenders is not something we had planned on doing, but it has all worked out well.

Talk about stressful and a huge fiasco. We started our loan process with Navy Fed on March 11th, 2016. It took more than 3 business days for them to assign us a loan officer and then 2 more business days to even contact us. Our original loan officer was extremely rude, she basically told me that my husband doesn’t make enough money and that we needed to sell his Maryland property (like we haven’t already tried). She didn’t want to run the numbers, she didn’t want to listen to a single thing I was saying. She was basically not interested in helping us. So I called back and had them change our loan officer. That took another 2 to 3 business days! Finally, a supervisor called me to talk about it. She gave me two options one without income from the Maryland Property and one with income from the Maryland Property. We took the easier option and decided to go without including income from the Maryland Property. So the supervisor offered us a specific amount at a rate of 3.375%. The next day the new loan officer calls me and tells me she has no idea what the supervisor did but they can’t offer us the amount that was told to me the day before. Nothing had changed, except we had paid off at least another credit card! So that should have been a good thing. But oh well…

Last Sunday, I got a phone call from our loan officer at Navy Fed, telling me that they had some questions about out file. They had things so backwards, had Kevin’s income wrong, etc. I totally lost faith in them to get things right. This is a HUGE purchase and I wasn’t about to let the stupidity of others ruin our chances of purchasing our 1st home together.

So I emailed our agent and asked what I should do… She immediately called me and said well my mom is a loan officer at Wells Fargo and has been for 13 years. My agent called her mom and gave her the details and her mom called me. We were on the phone for almost 2 hours on Monday afternoon. By Monday night, she had submitted our application and ordered our VA Appraisal. In less than 8 hours I had gotten the pre-approval, had our loan submitted for approval and ordered our VA inspection. Navy Federal was dragging their feet. We were coming up on two months of waiting. We already had everything else we needed like the ratified contract, etc.

I can’t say enough good things about the process and customer service with Wells Fargo’s Mortgage Department. It has been AMAZING, to say the least! I just can’t believe how user-friendly it is. Almost all of our documents have been signed electronically. Which is nice. I didn’t have to worry about printing, scanning and waiting for Kevin to sign them and send them back to me. It was SO EASY!

I also love how Wells Fargo has something called “yourLoanTracker”. It basically, shows you what needs to be done, what’s done/approved, etc. It allows you to easily track the process of your application and has all the information for Closing (once it’s been scheduled), etc.

Loan Tracker1

Complete Your Application- This section was for where you upload all your documents and then they approve or deny the files in which you upload to their system.

This is what our loan tracker looks like… Yes, these are screen shots of our actual loan tracker.

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Subcategories of Complete Your Application.

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Financial & Property Review and Subcategories

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Prepare to Close with subcategories

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At Closing and subcategories

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Manage Your Account and Subcategories

I just love how easy it is to glance at the website and see what needs to be done and what has been done already. By far this is the best way to keep a client/customer in the loop without them having to be up their loan officers butt!

If I log on to the site with my cellphone vs a computer, the phone will give me an exact percentage of how complete our loan process is. Right now we’re sitting at 20% for our entire loan process according to the mobile site.
2016-05-06 14.42.09It’s hard to believe that a company has made the mortgage process so dang easy! I’m absolutely amazed at how easily the Wells Fargo process has gone. From here on out I will recommend Wells Fargo’s Mortgage Department and I’ll be more than happy to refer others to our specific loan officer. She has been the best in this entire process. She’s turned our stressful situation into something easy and smooth.

Well I have a few things I need to do today like laundry and dishes (like always).

I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

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How to Make 13 Mortgage Payments in 12 Months

Have you ever wondered how you can easily take off years worth of payments and  save money on your mortgage? This method will save you thousands of dollars on interest payments. Well, today I’m going to tell you how to make 13 mortgage payments in 12 months.

Let’s use an even figure for a mortgage amount (this is not the cost of the house we have a contract on) so let’s go with $200,000 and I’ll use our interest rate of 3.375% (no points). I’m using a mortgage amortization calculator; here!

$200,000 for the price of the house over 30 years at 3.375% interest will cost roughly $118,309.28 just for the interest. So a grand total of $318,309.28 over 30 years!

So here’s how to make 13 mortgage payments in 12 months…

If the total cost of the mortgage loan was for $200,000 our mortgage payment would be around $885 (not including escrow; i.e. taxes and insurance). So take $885 and divide it by 12, which would equal out to be $73.75.  Now that you have the figure of $73.75 add that to your $885 and you’ll get $958.75.

By paying an extra $73.75 a month on your mortgage payment each month for the life of your loan will save you $16,527.18 and will shorten the life of your loan by 3 years and 8 months! And if you think about how much you’ll have after you’ve paid off your mortgage… in that 3 years and 8 months that you would have been paying your mortgage, you’ll be able to take that money and save it. That same $958.75 multiplied by 44 months would equal out to be $42,185 (that’s not including any interest earned if you put it in a high-yield savings account). That’s MORE than half the cost of a brand new Chevrolet Suburban!!!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be mortgage free? Our goal is to pay off our mortgage in less than 10 years. Do you think we can do it? I know we can. Just keep reading and see how long it takes us to pay off our mortgage. We’re really hoping that we’ll be in our house come Mid-June. But only time will tell; at this point.

My next post will be about finding extra money to put towards your mortgage payments. So make sure you check back in a few days!

Make sure you follow us on our social media accounts, as I’ll be posting updates on Instagram and Twitter as we have them!

 

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Meal Planning

Since we put in the contract on the house in March, I have been trying to figure out more ways to save even more money. Meal planning? Is it the key to saving extra money? That I’m not so sure yet. I will have to figure out what stores are in the area, figure out when their sales run for specific items and plan from there.

I already planned on stepping up my “coupon game”, not because we can’t afford to buy our groceries… but so we can put the money away for other things or pay off our debts. I think meal planning will be the key to not eating out as much as we have in the past.

With 5 kids, Kevin and I, our grocery budget will be between $400 – $600. Which is around what it is now. I personally would like to see our budget for groceries be around $300-$400 while using coupons and meal planning. If I can really make 20 dinners for around $120, then I’ll be able to feed our family for well under $400 a month. Now I know I’ll still need to buy things like cereal, milk, eggs, bread, flour, sugar, etc more often as I use them regularly. But if I can cut the bulk of the cost of our dinner meals down to $6 then I could do an entire month’s worth of dinners for about $180.

To me, there is nothing more rewarding than feeding my family a healthy home cooked meal, while saving money that we can use for other things that our family needs/wants.

Who would like to see meal planning posts in the future? I’m thinking a 30-day dinner crockpot meal plan. When we move into our home this summer we’re going to have to start all over as far as food things go. So when I go to the store, I plan on doing the bulk of the shopping at once. Mostly because I don’t know when Kevin will be home to either watch the kids or help me do the grocery shopping. So I want to get it all done as soon as possible and then go from there.

So is freezer/crockpot meal plans something that others would be interested in?

Leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can do once we get into the house this summer. Maybe I’ll even put together a Crockpot Freezer Meal Cookbook with all of our families favorite meals for those on a budget.

Well, I’m off to run some errands now that I’ve gotten the little ones off to school.

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Setting Goals

For the longest time, I’ve been setting goals and never achieving them. I’ve struggled for a long time with having the proper motivation to actually get things done. It doesn’t matter what it is… weight loss, writing a book, going to school, etc.

Recently, I was working on setting goals. A goal that could launch me into a better place in my life. I’m launching my 1st E-book on or around April 15th on Kindle Direct Publishing. I promise I’ll post a link to the book, so if anyone is interested that they can purchase it. I’m also going to promote it on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Setting goals that have any chance of getting completed by me are normally worthless goals. But this goal is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s finally done and I’m just making sure all my ducks are in a row, in order for me to launch the book.

I’m going to be setting a new goal for this book. I want to earn $100 (after Kindle takes their cut) as my first goal. So how much is the book going to be? $2.99! I only have to sell 48 e-books in order to reach my goal of $100. Why am I setting goals for my sales? Well because I would like to start earning an income with book sales. I have to give myself a goal in order to really push myself to promote the book. Plus, it’s good to know how many books you need to sell in order to reach a specific amount of money. I personally want to use this money earned to pay off the rest of our credit card bills, student loans, and the mortgage we’re about to get ourselves into.

Yes, I have high goals for paying off our debts. We’re obviously going to be putting money into our kids college funds. We still have about 6-7 years before our oldest goes to college. So we still have time to build up a large college fund. Once our credit cards bills and my student loans are paid off, we can dedicate all that money we were spending to our kids savings accounts. See we have extremely high goals. We’re going to reach them, all because we are responsible with our money.

I already have my 2nd book in the works. I just need to finally get my butt in gear and take the photos that need to go inside the book. All of my e-books will be priced accordingly, yet still be affordable. So between $2.99 and $9.99. This will allow me to earn decent money as long as my books are selling. Again, I will have to promote my books online. So we’ll have to see how well that goes. I know I’m not guaranteed to make any money, but I’m hoping that all my hard work, promoting and such will work itself out and allow me to reach my goal.

If you’ve got a goal that you’d like to achieve, then stop waiting and start working towards whatever your goal is. No matter how big or small, achieving your goals should be important and you shouldn’t let anyone hold you back.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the post with a link to my book.
I’m really excited about finally reaching this goal.

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Stop Procrastinating

The last few weeks I have been working on a few e-book topics to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing, but I haven’t gotten them finished because I keep procrastinating. I always find something else to do or use the fact that I’m caring for my 5 kids as an excuse. So this blog post isn’t just for me, it’s for YOU as well. It’s time we both stop procrastinating. It’s time we do something new, follow your heart or your dreams. Just go for it!

See I am currently procrastinating RIGHT NOW! How? By writing this blog post! I’ve already put together 10 Chapters of an E-book, just need to finish up a few more chapters and then I’m finished with the written portion. I’ll just have to come up with a book cover and then upload and publish to Kindle Direct Publishing! I just don’t know why I have spent the last 2+ weeks procrastinating. Considering 90% of my book is written, I just need to stop procrastinating and just write the rest of the darn book… TODAY!

If you are procrastinating for whatever reason on whatever is going on in your life… make today the day you stop procrastinating. Take that leap, put it all out there. The worst you can do is “fail”, but at least you tried. Society may consider it a failure, but when you at least try to do something you know you did your best. If you didn’t do your best, figure out what didn’t work or why it didn’t work and try it again. For me, I know my first e-book or two will probably suck. But at least I’m trying. I’m trying to write about things I know and love, so I can get books written quickly and then uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing. Why? Because I’d like to make a living off of something I love.

What in your life are you currently procrastinating about? Starting a relationship? Are you afraid of getting rejected? Well how would you know if you’re going to get rejected, if you don’t at least try? There are so many reasons to stop procrastinating, one of them is … because tomorrow is never promised. Life is short, so live it to the fullest daily!

Now that I’ve written this post, I feel like I can finish writing my book today. No more procrastinating on this book. No more procrastinating on getting it published. The sooner I finish this book, the sooner I can start working on my next book. There are so many book subjects that I could write about, so I’m going to work on writing a book each month for the rest of 2016. It may not work out that way, but I’m going to give it a whirl. Nothing is going to stop me from becoming a self-published author on Kindle Direct Publishing.

So take a moment today to figure out why you are procrastinating. Find the reason behind your procrastination and then STOP PROCRASTINATING! You’ve got this!

If you are procrastinating about getting out of Credit Card Debt, head on over to read my post titled ‘3 Easy Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt‘.

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