May 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of May, our remaining balance is at 37.23% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. That’s a reduction of 2.68%.

How much longer?

Once all of May’s payments are applied, we’ll have reduced our mortgage balance by about $3648 this month. We’re almost below $50k. Currently, with the new monthly figures in place, we’ve still got 15 payments left! That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on September 1, 2018.

Where did the dramatic increase in our payment or the drastic decrease in our balance come from? I talked it over with my wife. We decided to go into extreme payoff mode to get this thing knocked out. In order to do this, we decided to delay some of our other goals. By lowering the amount we put into a couple of savings accounts, college savings, and Roth IRA, 7 payments are cut off!

It would be nice to do the savings, investing, and pay the house off all at the same time. However, not being able to do everything at once will encourage us to find new ways to pay it off faster so we can get to the extreme investing!

Photo by Tax Credits

May 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The May payment to Republic Wireless was $-1.48. This is our last month using Republic Wireless for our primary phones. We’ll be keeping one line for home phone use.

Wireless Breakdown

  • WiFi Only Phone – $5
  • Taxes – $1.01
  • Refund for unused service – ($7.49)
  • Total – ($1.48)

My wife and I have transitioned from Republic Wireless to Total Wireless and are on a shared 8GB plan for $57/month. I really liked RW and their customer service. I noticed recently that they now offer chat support, which is a nice improvement. However, when we did the calculations, it works out better for us to get the extra data at a fixed price each month.

We changed our WiFi only phone to my wife’s old Moto X and sell the Moto G3 through Swappa. I’m continuing to use my Nexus 5X and my wife is using the Moto G5 Plus (which is really a nice phone for the price).

This will be the last month that I post a Republic bill. All of the future bills should be $6.01. Republic definitely ranks up toward the top of my list of inexpensive phone services. Others that rank up there include Project Fi, Ting, Cricket, and Total. Each one works well for a different type of user.

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

April 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of April, our remaining balance is at 39.91% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. That’s a reduction of 1.15%.

How much longer?

Once all of April’s payments are applied, we’ll have reduced our mortgage balance by about $1558 this month. That means we’ve broken through the $55k barrier. Currently, with the new monthly figures in place, we’ve still got 23 payments left! That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on April 1, 2019.

This month we had some extra expenses which ended up adding an extra month to our payment schedule.My wife is going on a mission trip in June and final payments were due this month. Luckily, about $150 will get us back on track and remove that extra month’s payment. In addition, with the phone issues we had, we purchased a new Motorola G5 Plus for $229. At this point, we can certainly catch up on the mortgage payments, and hopefully cut a bit extra off. All that’s necessary is some extra work through the side business or some other unexpected income.

Photo by Tax Credits

April 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The April payment to Republic Wireless was $25.79. The next month’s Republic Wireless bill will be a bit more due to some phone swaps we had to do this month.

Breakdown

  • WiFi Only Phone – $5
  • Wife’s phone using Sprint’s network on the Refund Plan (512 MB Plan) – $17.50
  • Taxes – $3.31
  • Refund for unused data – ($.02)
  • Total – $25.79

This month my Nexus 5X that I’ve had for about 18 months decided to die. I contacted Google Nexus support about it and surprisingly they decided to honor the warranty and send me a replacement at no cost. It took longer than usual to arrive, so we ended up buying a Motorola G5 Plus. That way I could get access to my messages and phone calls. I used the WiFi Only Phone for a couple of days and enabled data and cellular on it. They charged me right away for this, but it will likely be reflected in next month’s bill.

Now that I’ve got a working Nexus 5X phone again, and a Motorola G5 Plus, we’re going to switch my wife over to Total Wireless and take advantage of their 8GB shared plan for $60/month. We’ll then use my wife’s Moto X for the WiFi only home phone, and sell the Moto G3 that was the WiFi only phone. If you or someone you know is interested in trying Republic Wireless, I’ve got a great condition phone for sale.

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

March 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of March, our remaining balance is at 41.06% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. That’s a reduction of 1.50%.

How much longer?

Once all of March’s payments are applied, we’ll have reduced our balance by about $2050 this month. That means we’ve broken through the $56k barrier. Currently, with the new monthly figures in place, we’ve got 23 payments left! That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on March 1, 2019.

There weren’t really any extra payments made this month other through the day job’s salary, a small job through the side business, and some other minor income amounts. We also had some expenses that took away from the progress this month, but it didn’t affect the number of remaining payments. It’s helpful to know we’ve got a bit of flexibility and still stay on track.

Photo by Tax Credits

Total Wireless Review

Total Wireless Logo

I’ve officially been using Total Wireless for 30 days now and I must say that the results have been very positive. My end of month bill ended up being $36.35 for unlimited calls, texts, and 5GB of data. I didn’t use anywhere close to that amount, but I also didn’t feel restricted or that I should conserve data the entire month. I also don’t feel like I’m paying extra for something I wouldn’t end up using.

Plans

The real cost of the plan is $35/month plus taxes and fees, but you get 5% off for doing auto-pay. For family or shared plans, the prices get even better.
  • 2 phones – $60/month 8GB shared data
  • 3 phones – $85/month 12GB shared data
  • 4 phones – $100/month 15GB shared data
The 5% auto-pay discount applies to these plans as well. If you don’t want any data, you could do the $25/month unlimited talk and text. Finally, if these data amounts aren’t enough for you, you can get an extra 3GB of data for an extra $10/month. The plus side is that the extra data you buy rolls over every month so you can keep using it until it’s all gone!

Network

Total Wireless uses the Verizon network, so you get a signal pretty much anywhere. It may not always be as strong as it’s competitors (especially where we live), but I have yet to go someplace that I can’t get a signal of some sort. I couldn’t always say that for Sprint or T-Mobile’s networks. After popping the SIM card into my phone, it even showed up as being Verizon Wireless.
I’ve only noticed a few drawbacks so far. First, my download speeds are limited to 5Mbps and uploads are capped at 2Mbps. I haven’t found this to be an issue for anything that I normally do, but others might. Second, they don’t offer a mobile hotspot options. I don’t use this often, but when I need it it’s helpful. From what I can tell, they don’t necessarily prevent you from using it, but could take action if they wanted to. Finally, and most important to me, there is no visual voicemail option. I liked being on other services where my voicemail would download to my phone and I could listen to it at my leisure. Now I have to dial in and enter my pin code in each time to listen to my messages. I know, first world problems, right?
If you’re using Verizon, or any other carrier and want to use the Verizon network, this may be an affordable alternative for you.
Have you used Total Wireless or have questions about switching? Let me know in the comments below.

March 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The February payment to Republic Wireless was $24.81. We’re back to just 2 phones on the plan, so our bill is now back around its previous levels.

Breakdown

  • WiFi Only Phone – $5
  • Wife’s phone using Sprint’s network on the Refund Plan (512 MB Plan) – $17.50
  • Taxes – $3.26
  • Refund for unused data – ($.95)
  • Total – $24.81

I’ve changed my phone to use Total Wireless this month, which uses the Verizon Network. In fact, it even says “Verizon Wireless” when connected to the network. I’ll expand on it in another post, but for now, I haven’t went without a signal at all, but have found that sometimes I don’t have as strong a signal in certain places as I did when I was using Republic (T-Mobile).

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

February 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of February, our remaining balance is at 42.94% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. That’s a reduction of 2.74%. I had a little extra from the side business that I applied to it this month and now I have a clear idea about how much extra I’ll be able to apply from my day job every month.

How much longer?

Once all of the February’s payments are applied, we’ll have reduced our balance by about $4300. That also means we’ve broken through the $60k barrier. Currently, with the new monthly figures in place, we’ve got 24 payments left! That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on March 1, 2019. If you looked at last month’s amount, you’ll see that the number has been greatly reduced. That’s because I can now reasonably estimate how much extra we’ll be able to put towards it each month. I’m still shooting for the end of 2018 as the ultimate goal. This means that we’ll need to find some extra cash to cut it a bit faster. I’m expecting the side business will start picking up this year more, which will provide that extra amount that we need.

Photo by Tax Credits

February 2017 – Republic Wireless Bill

Republic Wireless Logo

The February payment to Republic Wireless was $48.57. This month I reduced my data level to 1GB, which reduces our bill by about $10.

Breakdown

  • WiFi Only Phone – $5
  • Wife’s phone using Sprint’s network on the Refund Plan (512 MB Plan) – $17.50
  • My phone on T-Mobile’s network using the Clear Choice Plan (1GB) – $20
  • Taxes – $6.10
  • Refund for unused data – ($2.73)
  • Total – $48.57

I’ve decided that I’m going to give Total Wireless a try. Overall, when I’ve got a connection on Republic using T-Mobile’s network, it’s usually very good and fast. However, when I don’t have a connection, I go for a while without anything. Total Wireless uses the Verizon network at an affordable rate. I’ll write a review after I’ve used it for a while.

If you’ve used Republic or have any questions, let me know in the comments.

January 2017 – Mortgage Payoff Update

House Jar

At the end of January, our remaining balance is at 46.1% of our original mortgage that we took out in 2007. We had some extra money to apply towards it this last month since I had stockpiled a bit during a job transition. I ended up deciding that now was a good time to apply it to the mortgage and knock it down some.

How much longer?

We’re almost at the point of breaking through another barrier. When I say barrier, I mean crossing the line of another 10k mark. It’s possible that by the end of the February, we’ll have crossed that barrier. At that time, I should also have a better idea about how many more months will be left before it’s paid off. I’m shooting for the end of 2018 at the absolute latest! Currently, we’ve got 49 payments left if we didn’t put anything extra towards it. That means our last mortgage payment would be applied on April 1, 2021.

Photo by Tax Credits