Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Paying Off That Mortgage

This post, on The Dollar Stretcher (excellent website for thrifty types), does a better job than I have in explaining why I think it's pretty much a good idea for almost everyone to pay off their mortgages.


The tax write off is not enough motivation since you only get 25-30% of your interest money back.  In the long run, paying off early, even just over paying a bit each month, can save you more than 25-30% of that interest.  

And think about what you could do with that money WITHOUT a mortgage payment.   Save it.  Pay off other debt.  Improve you health insurance.  Travel.  Buy better food.  Quit your job in a huff.   Avoid losing your house if you lose your job.   Less debt means you are less of a wage-slave.

So, that sort of logic is why I'm saving saving saving and hope to buy my next home without a mortgage.  If I pay cash, I'll save a TON on interest.  I already did that by paying cash for the car.  My interest cost was exactly $0.00.   Nice.

According to an online interest calculator, if I'd gotten a 4 year loan at 5% interest I would have paid nearly $2000.00 in interest.  Instead, that money is in the bank.  I also paid no loan fees or costs. 

I should look back at my old mortgage papers and see what my closing costs were.  I know the interest, if I paid the loan off in the 30 years with no over payments or pre-payments, would have been pretty much 2 times the cost of the house...yikes. 

End of today's rant.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The King is Dead...

Sad news today.  I'm not sure if it's frugal or not but I wanted to comment on it.

Roger Ebert just died.   The film critic and author.

His writing had gotten much more interesting since he'd lost the ability to speak a few years back.  He wrote about how he was left out of conversations even when he had a computer that could produce speech.  By the time he typed in what he wanted to say, the conversation had moved on.  He seems to have also had more time to think.  Some of his reviews and columns were much more philosophical than in the past.

He'd recruited and mentored a crop of new film critics.  They'd been doing most of the reviews since he broke a hip a few weeks ago.  He announced that the break was not related to cancer.  Alas, it was.  And now he's gone.

I agreed with most of his reviews, though not all.  And his website has been a great resource for finding great old, and new, movies as well as figuring out what was coming out on DVD.  I hope "they" keep the website going, whomever "they" happen to be.

I checked his site each week to see what was coming out that I might want to see.   I also read his cookbook, and got a library to buy a copy.   That was pretty thrifty...making soup in a rice cooker.

He'll be missed. 

Ebertfest, his film festival in Illinois will start soon.  I'd always wanted to go.  I wonder if that will continue.  He chose the films himself.  They were often not "new" but always overlooked gems that didn't get enough screen time in regular theaters.   One of the main films this year is Days of Heaven.   It's been a favorite of mine for years and years.   It think it's the first time I realized how important cinematography is, not just plot and dialogue.  Also, how quiet a movie can be.  It's wonderful.  I think I'll watch in in memory of Roger.