The Check’s in the Mail!

I am beyond excited to report that on Thursday afternoon at approximately 4:45 PM, we mailed the final check to pay off our car!

Our original plan was to pay it off within 6 months but after filing taxes, we realized we were in a good position to pay it off now. We made only 2 official payments on our installment loan before writing the pay-off check. This was the first year (in about a decade) that I didn’t have extra freelance income to pay taxes on so our refund of $772 was just enough to put our goal within reach.

Almost as exciting as the check itself was the location from which we mailed it. We dropped the check into the mailbox of the post office on Venice Ave. in Venice, FL, just a few blocks from the beach. We didn’t set out to mail the payment 780 miles away from our own mailbox. We were simply out to enjoy a few days on the beach with friends and the check (which I wrote out before we left) just kept riding around in my purse in hopes that we’d come across a post office on the way. The closer we got to our old “home” though, the more it made sense in some cosmic kind of way to payoff our car from the island where we used to spend our free time walking and talking about our hopes and dreams. This was, after all, a dream come true for us. To have the financial flexibility to purchase and pay off a new-to-us car in just under 3 month was something we would never have thought possible 5 years ago when we first began our journey toward minimalism.

Stopping for a picnic during our first road trip in the paid-off “Peanut”.

This morning I sat down with our budget – mostly so I could cross off the car payment from our spreadsheet. It felt really good!

It also felt good to look at our vacation expenses and realize that we’d spent less than $140 in gas for a 2,200 mile road trip. The last time we traveled that far, we spent nearly double the amount in gas. Without a car payment (or last year’s ridiculous car repair expenses), I’m hoping that this will be the first of at least a few more road trip adventures for us this year.

BTW – The Peanut once lived in Florida too. It was a rental car in Orlando for the first year of it’s life. I wonder if it was as happy to be back home as we were? 


Super Lean Spending Challenge Update

This month, we’re participating in the Super Lean Spending Challenge with our friends at Decluttering the Stuff. As we approach the middle of the month, I thought I’d post our progress so far.


Total spending month to date = $258.26

We spent $19 on entertainment for our February Freebie Fun Date and $16.81 for dining out (2 trips to Jersey Mike’s). Of the $40 we budgeted for gifts this month, we spent $32.66 (one birthday, one housewarming gift). We do one large grocery shopping trip per month (this time it was on the 4th). We’ve spent $144.88 on groceries for the month so far, which included a quart of local honey ($17.39). Honey is a staple around our house. Spending on household goods ($44.91) included the purchase of seeds from Seed Needs and Tractor Supply for our garden, 2 spools of thread for a sewing project, cat litter and new toothbrushes.

Our total grocery, household, and entertainment spending for February 2016 was $613.75 (or about 13% of our income). Using that as a baseline comparison, I think we’re on track to have a Super Lean Spending Month.

Weekly Progress to Happiness Goals Report (week ending 2/11)

    • No Spend Days = 3
      YTD = 23/200
    • Meatless Days = 2
      YTD = 18.5/144
    • Miles Walked/Hiked = 21.6/0
      YTD = 87.4/1,000 and 3.6/100
    • Decluttered Items = 29
      YTD = 217/2017
    • Side Hustle Income = $22.85
      YTD = $178.13/$1,825