Putting towards the principal

Have you ever heard of "the curse of knowledge?" The curse of knowledge is when you know so much about something that you forget others don't know as much as you do. This happens all the time in people's businesses. They assume that because they know the name of everything in your engine (mechanics) or every disease known to man (doctors) that you do too. They start talking without explaining, and almost immediately, you're lost. Sometimes, I'm guilty of this.

The other day a woman who has grandchildren my age asked me, "How do you pay extra on your mortgage?" Not asking how I have money at the end of the month or how I budget, but asking what steps I take to physically apply the extra money towards our mortgage. 

I pay my mortgage online. When I get on to pay, I can just make a normal payment, or I can "modify my payment amount." I hit "add addition principal" and put everything I can in that box. My mortgage company makes it pretty easy.

Proverbs 3:27-28 says, "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, "Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give," when thou hast it by thee."

If you owe someone money, and you have money... you owe it to them. Biblically, you shouldn't spend it on other things, so we're putting everything we have left after we buy food and pay our bills against the principal every month. 

One note of warning: If your mortgage company doesn't make extra principal payments obvious, and you want to pay more towards your mortgage principal, you have to specify. Whether you're writing them a check or paying your mortgage online, you have to get in touch with them/write them a letter and say, "I'm sending you $**** extra dollars, and I want it applied to the principal of the mortgage loan." If you don't, they'll just apply the extra money you send to your next month's mortgage payment (most of which goes to interest every month), and you'll be "paid ahead" on your loan (like, "Yay, you don't have a mortgage payment due again until October!"), but that's not what you want! That's not helping you pay off your loan any faster! You want the money to go towards the principal of the loan so the actual loan balance goes down, and then you're closer to owing nothing!

I'm using my mortgage as an example, since it's our only debt, but this is true for all loans. You don't want to just add money to your payment. You want to be sure that extra money is going towards the principal of your loan. 

Another note: You are welcome to put extra money towards your mortgage every week or bi-weekly (whenever you get paid), if you're worried that you'll spend it if you don't put it towards your debt right away, but keep in mind that your mortgage interest amount is only re-calculated monthly, so your own self-control is the only benefit to paying it more than monthly. We just save it all up and pay the mortgage (and the extra towards the mortgage) once at the end of the month.

If you have questions, ask them! That's how you learn, and I want to help if I can!


How much money we made and spent this past month.

To knock your mortgage down below $40k with 25 years left on your mortgage loan, you have to be doing something that other people aren't doing. Let's talk about budgeting.

I used to think that budgeting was making a list of where you spent your money last month and shrugging.

Nope. Budgeting is looking at the month before it begins, and telling your money where you want it to go before it ever arrives. We do that every month, and at the end of the month we give all of our left over money towards the mortgage principal.

(I went ahead and deducted our tithe/missions/charitable giving from our income right off the top, since those numbers are personal. So our combined income this month is a little bigger than the number here.)

Income: $4,100.00 (Matt's window washing, my remote church secretarial work, and my full-time babysitting gig.)

What we spent last month and have budgeted to spend this month (except we don't have personal property tax or an oil change in June, and we have a higher gift budget for this month): 

Auto Gas $109.00
Oil change $28.00
Car Insurance $95.00 (USAA)
Food $200.00 (Aldi)
Health Insurance $4.00 (Obamacare, with a super high deductible, which means we pay thousands(sssss) of dollars to have babies and stuff)
Electric $70.00
Natural Gas $107.00
Water/Trash $63.00
Life Insurance $25.00 (USAA, but shop Zander for term life if you're overpaying)
Gifts for family: $40.00
Phone $52.00 (Republic Wireless)
Internet $40.00 (Cox)
Personal Property Tax $70.00

Leftover money for the mortgage: $3,301.00

Do you see how I didn't get my hair or nails done? Do you see how we didn't get coffee or gelato? Do you see how we didn't buy new shoes or a new couch or go see a movie? What about cable, Amazon Prime, and Hulu? Absent. Can we afford those things? Mhhmm. Yep. 

We are making our choices. We are ordering our priorities. We are trading pleasure now for freedom later. And there is plenty of free pleasure in my life EVERY DAY. I don't know what your numbers look like, but we're not starving, homeless, or uninsured.

Am I proposing something radical, or at least out of the norm? Yeah. 

It's just a minimal lifestyle for a season, and then freedom from debt.

Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. 

We are tired of serving rich men in big banks. The Bible says you can not serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). The Bible says to run out of debt like your life depends on it (Proverbs 6:5).

^This is why we don't spend our money on pleasure or anywhere else, because we believe whole-heartedly that we owe it to someone else, and we're commanded to run until it's repaid.

We're running. Any questions?


Amortization Schedule Calculator

You can pay off your debt. All of it. It is possible.

Getting Started

Last year after we finished Financial Peace University, we were sick of our debt.

"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7
"Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter..." Proverbs 6:5 (Run. Hurry. Hustle out of debt, like your life depends on it.)

We still owed the bank $79,000.00 for our mortgage loan. So, we asked God to give us the work and the wisdom, and we ran from our debt like our lives depended on it.

At the end of each month, after working hard on making more and spending less, we put EVERYTHING that is left against the mortgage in one big payment.

Today we have $39,807.62 left.

Have you ever messed with an Amortization Schedule Calculator ? You plug in your debt and interest rate, and the calculator shows you how much you'll have left at the end of each month. For us, we still had 26 more years to go. Then you can say, "What if I throw an extra $100 a month at the principal?" It readjusts. "What if I throw an extra $500 a month at the principal?" It readjusts.

Eventually, you're throwing an extra $3,000.00 a month at it without blinking (our highest combined annual income was $52,000, and this year we're on track to make $58,000 combined.), and you're watching the numbers fall on your actual debt, not just on a theoretical calculator online. In a little over a year, God has given us the means to pay off half of our remaining debt!

Check out this Amortization Schedule Calculator and plug in your debt!

So you plug in your stats (this is our mortgage loan stats), and it gives you the raw facts. We borrowed $87,200. and by the bank's original schedule, we were going to end up paying $161,399. back to them. They were doubling their money, at our expense!! Um, not anymore.

If you go down the amortization schedule, to May/June 2018 (today), you'll see that if we hadn't put any extra money towards the principal of our debt, we would still owe the bank $80,000!!!!!!

But since we've been putting extra money towards the debt, we owe what we should have owed in August 2034!! That's 16 years of debt we've covered in the past year!!

You can do it too! Now go to this Amortization Calculator, and plug in your debt there.

 This calculator doesn't let you choose a day in the past that your loan starts (it's assuming you're about to get the loan, and don't already have it), but it still works the same way. It will assume your loan starts today (so put the amount you owe today, not the amount you borrowed originally, and put how many months you have left, not how many you started with) but you can click ADD EXTRA PAYMENTS and see how much faster the loan will pay off if you add extra money to the principal!

This calculator was the first glimmer of hope for us. It was the first time I saw a visual that paying extra towards the principal every month accelerates the payoff day substantially! My next blog post will be about our budget and how we spend (or don't spend) our money to have extra at the end of each month. We want to help you on your journey! What are your questions for us?!


Answers to Prayer

This week we celebrated seven years of marriage. When I observe other husbands in close quarters, I always leave more thankful for the husband God blessed me with. From the very beginning of our relationship, he showed Christ-like love for me, and he hasn't stopped. We aren't perfect, but our God is perfect, and every day that we surrender our selfish pride to Him, He is willing to use us to show the world something beautiful. My husband, Matthew Gabriel Nowak, and these seven years we've spent in daily love are an answer to prayer.

This week our second daughter is seven weeks old. My whole life I've dreamed of a family: running through the backyard, drawing pictures on hardwood floors, lying on their stomachs reading books, and singing, full blast, songs about our Savior. Our oldest, Charlotte is already making those dreams come true, and I'm thankful Portia will soon join her. Our daughters are an answer to prayer.

This week the results of my most recent pap smear came back, cancer-free. My last test results had been called "pre-cancerous,"and as God has blessed our business this year, I'll be honest, I thought He may be preparing us financially for a difficult season of our lives and some hard-to-swallow test results. To have a body free of cancer is an answer to prayer.

This week we were praying about hiring a specific employee for our window washing business. We hadn't felt ready to hire an employee, when a dear friend of ours approached us for a job, and we began to pray earnestly about the direction we should take. We were looking into the legal aspect, all of the taxes and paperwork, etc. while weighing the employee's untarnished character and work ethic. Still undecided, the answer to prayer came in a text from that friend withdrawing his request for a job. That direct, clear answer to a difficult question was an answer to prayer.

What are you praying for that God wants to answer? What has He answered? Praise Him!

Psalm 35:18 "I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation. I will praise Thee among much people!"


Portia's Nursery

These last five weeks, we've slid into our new rhythm as a family. If there's one thing Portia does better than Charlotte did, it's sleep. God knew what this mama's body needed, and Portia consistently gives us six hours straight. Today she had a checkup, and her percentages pin her as tall and skinny! Chances are slim that that'll stick (she's not getting it from me, that's for sure), but may the odds be ever in your favor, babe!

I love a good peek into someone's life, so I thought I'd give you guys a quick tour of Portia's room. The wooden furniture is the same as it was for Charlotte (built by my Great-Grandfather, that crib has housed three generations on my side of the family). We got the rug second-hand (and gave it a good cleaning) and almost everything else is linked below a picture. We registered on Amazon and our friends and family gave Portia all the love! That wall sconce is on a dimmer, which is so nice for middle of the night changing and feeding when you need a little light, but don't want to be blinded. What's something you've loved for your babes? I want to hear your must-haves!



With Portia, after laboring all through the night to ten cms and giving birth to a beautiful, screaming babe, I felt great. I felt healthy. I felt ready to go home.

I remember how I felt with Charlotte. When people visited me in the hospital and asked how I felt, the answer was easy, "I feel like I just gave birth." Bleh. Pain. Discomfort. Disgust.

That's not to say there hasn't been any pain or self-body shaming this time, but one glance at where I was this time with our last baby, overwhelms me with thankfulness for this knowledge and way of eating. I'm so thankful we're starting in a better place this time around!

Looking through my hashtag #helpmeetthm on Instagram, I see that the last time I weighed this much it took me eight months, no cheats, from this point, to get to goal weight. Just like everyone, I'd much rather have instant gratification. How great would it be to be at goal weight just after giving birth!? But that's not real life. We've got to make the journey.

Let's be real. Someone gave Charlotte a six-pack of Oreos this week, and I wanted some. Some things don't tempt me, but I wanted to scrape that cream right off that chocolate cookie with my teeth. But you know what I want more than sugar on my tongue? Health. Beauty. Radiant skin. A long life. A day, free of headaches. So, I made the best choice for my long-term goal. I made my future a priority.

Let's be real. I set out my outfit on Saturday night, and Sunday morning when I zipped up my skirt, I had to admit, "I'm not ready for this one yet." It would have been uncomfortably tight around my waist all day long. I had to hard pass on that one and choose an elastic waistband skirt.

It's a journey. I'm thrilled to be back under 150 pounds this week! But, here I am, with a journey still ahead of me, thankful to God for these beautiful lady babies, regardless of how they changed my body, and happily trekking along toward 128. For myself, for my health, for my husband, and for my babies. There's no down-side. Let's keep moving!


Bethany G. on Journey Back to Goal Weight

Now that Portia is born, and I'm headed back to goal weight, our family is focusing back on plan, no crossovers. Seeing other mamas who are sticking with the plan and having success, always encourages me, so I'm interviewing a couple of my mama friends so you can be inspired by their stories as well! Let's help each other!

Bethany and I went to college together, and we've stayed connected through Facebook. When I saw she was on board with Trim Healthy Mama, and it was so helpful in her second pregnancy, I knew she could be an encouragement to others who are interested in a healthy pregnancy or journey back to goal weight!

1. What got you started on your Trim Healthy Mama Journey and what made you stick with it?

     I started THM because I was nursing my 5 month old and was putting on weight even though I was being, what I thought was, "good." After seeing others who had lost weight, I started, and seeing the results on myself is what makes me stick with it! 

2. What is your biggest challenge on Trim Healthy Mama and how do you overcome it?

     The biggest challenge in the beginning was not having my family on board with it and having them say, "Calories are just calories no matter what. Calories in, calories out." Since then my husband, Mom, Dad, and one sister have started doing it with me after seeing how it worked for me!

3. What is your favorite Trim Healthy Mama Resource? 

Facebook Groups

4. What are your go-to snacks?

Celery and peanut butter 
000 Oikos yogurt 
Rolled up deli meat and an apple 
Deli meat, with lettuce wedges, and laughing cow cheese 

5. Do you have any tips or tricks you wish you had learned earlier?

Don't be ashamed to tell others what you are doing. It keeps you accountable! 

6. What is your favorite crowd pleaser or family favorite meal/dessert? 

All of these recipes are in the original cookbook.

Lazy Lasagna 
Trimtastic cake
Cowboy Grub 
Green Bean Fries