FEBRUARY’S 10 THINGS

It’s been a while since I’ve done a 10 things post! Here are 10 things on my mind related to our personal finances. You can read last February’s 10 things post here

We started renting out our guest house. 

One of the things that made it possible for us to buy our fixer upper dream home was the fact that it had a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom guest house on the property that could bring in some rental income for us. We originally planned to rent it out as a long term rental. Just days after listing it, I had over 100 applications. I let one couple some and look at it and it just didn’t feel right. We changed our minds and decided to list it as an Airbnb instead and I’m so glad! We’d listed it for a long term rental for $1650/month. As an Airbnb, we charge $150-$300 per night. Just days after listing we are booked out until the end of March and assuming no cancellations, we’ll earn $4,600. JThis time of year is busy season for traveling in Arizona since it’s warm (when everywhere else is cold). I expect it won’t fill up like this in the summer when it’s scalding hot here. If you’ve been on the fence about becoming an Airbnb host I highly recommend it as a way to earn some fairly passive income. You can get started with Airbnb here— it’s fast and painless. 

It has cost us $450 to furnish our Airbnb so far. 

A question I’m getting a lot on Instagram is how much it has cost to get the Airbnb set up. Between using stuff we already had (kitchen table and chairs, decorative pillows, kitchen ware, etc) finding great deals on Facebook marketplace and Amazon, we’ve furnished the house with just $450. We made up that money with our first guest’s 3 day booking. We’ll likely have ongoing costs and of course things will need to be replaced, but $450 wasn’t a lot to put into something that will hopefully bring in a couple thousand dollars each month. 

We crashed our jeep and our car insurance went down. 

For New Year’s, we crashed our beloved Jeep and got a Honda Pilot. For some reason, insuring the Pilot and our toyota costs $100 less per month than when we had the Jeep so I suppose that’s the silver lining. We’ve had a great experience with Esurance. if you haven’t checked to make sure you ‘re getting a good deal on your insurance, it just takes you a few minutes and could save you some money. 

Our Pilot cost $10,800.

We paid $10,800 for our 2013 Honda Pilot which I think is how fish must feel when they get gutted. We weren’t expecting to use that much money in savings as a start to our 2021 but we are thankful we had a robust savings account so we could buy it without taking on more debt. We originally budgeted $5000 to replace our Jeep but we kept having the worst luck when we would go and look at the cars (SUV’s really) in this price range. Ultimately we decided to bite the bullet, pay more, and hopefully our Pilot will last for years to come. 

We are going to make an extra payment on our student loans finally.

For the first time in 5 months, we’ve scheduled an extra payment to go towards our student loans. Between getting business shut down because of the corona virus and buying our fixer upper house, we haven’t made a lot of extra head way on our student loans over the last year. We’re hopeful we can get to it this year. It’s been fun playing around with the calculators on the Paidback app to see how much money we can save once we hurry and get them paid back. (See what I did there). 

We’re refinancing our student loans again. 

Speaking of student loans, student loan refinancing rates have gone down again! We were able to score an interest rate 0.5% lower than what we were getting with Laurel Road so we jumped on it. 0.5% might not sound like much of a difference but if we were to NOT pay off our loans earlier than 7 years, it will amount to a $10,000 savings. I don’t know about you but $10,000 always sounds good to me. You can check your rates with multiple lenders here with no impact to your credit score here. I highly recommend doing this asap. With the market fluctuating as much as it is, it’s a good idea to lock in an offer. Those offers stay good for 30 days so even if you aren’t quite ready to refinance you can lock in the rate in case it goes up in the coming weeks.  

We’re almost finished with the floors on our fixer upper. 

It’s been a long time coming but we are almost done with the floors on the main level of our fixer upper! We’ve painted the entire first level and have now finished the floors throughout the eating area, living area, and the kitchen. We have the mudroom, bathroom, and front living space to go. We’ll also install baseboards and quarter round, and then we are taking an extended break on house projects until we’ve chipped away at student loans more. 

I wasted $3 on Monday.

Monday was President’s Day so my cute kindergartener was out of school. We spent the day going to parks and playing outside and I wanted to let him have a special treat. He wanted a soda (which he very rarely gets) so I took him to a specialty soda shop. Got him a marshmallow root beer and myself a Diet Dr. Pepper with raspberry and cream and coconut (it’s amazing). I could only drink about 5 sips because it ended up not being diet and my weak body just couldn’t handle all the sugar! And of course there was no time to go wait to try and fix the mistake so it just went in the trash. I know it’s only $3 but it’s little things like that that add up and throw off the budget. But that’s how it goes sometimes! 

Danny invested $15 in Bitcoin behind my back last year. 

When all of the GameStop stocks and AMC and crazy shenanigans’ were happening, my husband informed me that he’d invested $15 in Bitcoin last year without ever telling me. And it’s worth $250 now. Imagine if he’d invested $10,000 of it behind my back! Ha. 

We won’t be debt free by the end of this year. 

When we originally started paying off debt in 2016/2017, we set a goal to pay off our student loans by the end of 2021. Well… we still have well over $300k to go so pretty fat chance of that happening this year. And that’s ok! Over the last 5 years, not only have we paid off more than $300k of debt, we’ve also bought a dental practice, launched an app, gone through IVF and a million health problems from a twin pregnancy and birth, lived through a pandemic that shut down our businesses, two cross country moves, and now we’re remodeling our fixer upper dream home. It’s been an adventure that hasn’t gone according to plan to say the least! 

That’s it for us! Drop a comment and let me know what personal finance things you’ve got going on at the moment. 

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