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Saturday, August 4

Getting Simple, and the Hidden Benefit of Paying Off My Car Loan

I decided to pay my car loan early!  Besides dressing up my credit profile for the mortgage underwriters, I wanted to eliminate the comprehensive and collision coverage from my car.  I have so many miles on the Sonata that it isn't worth much, so why pay to insure the replacement value?  Once I updated GEICO, I saw a savings of close to 20% on my policy.  GEICO automatically and immediately refunded my credit card to reflect the savings.

Speaking of underwriters, we still haven't closed on the house.  Originally it was going to close by the end of July.  Getting a mortgage isn't as easy as it used to be.  Apparently the hold-up is the condo association at a property I rent in Birmingham.  I have complete records of every monthly payment I have ever made for the condo dues.  However, the underwriters want a statement from the association showing the payments being applied to the dues.  It's a small association managed by the owners, and all of them are elderly.  They don't create monthly statements.  In fact, the last time the dues went up, I got a phone call from a resident asking if I was okay paying an extra $10/month to cover increasing costs.  It's a very informal association, but the underwriters are hung up on it and want paperwork.  Talk about losing sight of the big picture!

More Simplifying

It feels great to eliminate things and processes that don't add joy to my life.  Here's what I've been working on:

Cutting out Recurring Costs

  • In preparation for the move I canceled my car wash plan.  That was $26/month.  I have a pressure washer and plan to use that at the new house to wash the car.
  • Getting rid of the car loan eliminates one large recurring monthly cost.  Finding other costs I can eliminate is a priority.
  • After we close on the house I'm going to consolidate credit cards that charge an annual fee.  This will simplify data entry (fewer accounts to keep track of in my new spreadsheet - see below) in addition to reducing expenses.

Saving Time and Eliminating More Stuff

  • I'm creating a spreadsheet to track all my finances.  It's fairly robust and I am building it from scratch.  Once I am happy with it, I will stop using Quicken and sell the computer I have dedicated to my finances.
  • I've been selling a few things on ebay.  We also have filled another box with charitable donations.
  • I've cut way back on mystery shopping.  When you account for preparation (studying guidelines, printing stuff out) and report time, the pay is simply too low.  I'll still do a few shops when it makes sense.

Keyless and Cardless

  • In preparation for converting our house to an AirBnb, I installed keyless locks.  Once we move into our new house, I'll change those locks as well.  
  • I'm using up my stash of gift cards and getting rid of plastic loyalty cards when I can store the card on an app.

More Focus

  • For the same reason I've cut back on mystery shopping, I also plan to focus my energy on work that moves the financial needle.  If the AirBnb is successful, I will do more of it.  This means I will do less of the myriad other jobs I have.
  • With meeting jobs specifically, I will take a closer look at each opportunity.  Some, for example, require unpaid preparation, which can be very annoying.  A job next week has already required a dozen emails, a conference call, and a couple of phone calls.  The pay looks okay when all I think about are the hours I will be onsite.  It's much less if I include all this other time and effort.
  • I'm going to reduce choices in my life.  This is part loyalty to fewer companies and part paying for time savings.  I need more routine, less shopping around for the best deal.  


  1. Simplifying is a great idea. I'm working on simplifying my life as well. I'll be moving out of my apartment at the end of the month and putting stuff in storage while I'm in Asia. I want to get rid of much stuff as possible so not much will have to be moved to storage.
    My finances need more simplifying than my household. I open a lot of accounts to get the signup bonuses. I need to go through and close out all of the accounts I no longer use. Also, I need to quit signing up for apps and other account that have $5 or $10 sign up bonuses unless I know it is an app I'll continue to use. Like you said, small amounts don't really move the financial needle so my time is better spent elsewhere.

    1. Hey Andy! Glad you concur about getting rid of the little distractions. One of the reasons I have too many credit cards is because I wanted the sign-up bonus. There's nothing wrong with using the card long enough to get the bonus if it's worthwhile, but I need to do a better job of closing the account afterwards. For the really small bonuses, I agree... too much trouble for too little reward.

  2. I keep seeing $49 in monthly bank fees... is this for a checking account or similar? Surely there's a credit union in your area that will keep you from having to pay this...

  3. Maybe in order not to involve yourself in loans it’s better to buy a used vehicle? A pre-owned car will save some money. That’s what I’m going to do. But a friend of mine told me I should necessarily check the full damage and repair history of the vehicle before purchasing it. He recommended me this service It reports accidents history, odometer readings, recalls & defects, lien & repossession records, theft & recovery records, mileage rollback, vehicle specifications of the car. Have you heard of it?