Trim The Fat Tuesday: The Wrap-Up

2014 and the year of the Trim the Fat Tuesday Challenge is in the books. So how'd we do?

After 52 weeks of cutting back just one budget item each week, our total savings for 2014 came to $11,065.50.


If you'd have asked me a year ago, I never would have believed that we would be able to save that much. Sure, some of our cuts saved us over a hundred dollars a month, but most were much smaller than that--just $10 or $20 at a time.

Still, it's the cumulative effect that counts. This was made especially clear when we were able to pay off my car a couple years early with all of our Trim the Fat savings. That, in turn, led to our biggest monthly cut of all, as we no longer have a $350 car payment to worry about. We took those savings and added them to the pot as well, and we are now shoveling all that extra money toward the mortgage to pay the house off early.

As of this January, our total monthly savings comes to $1728.50 each month. Over the course of the year 2015, that will add up to $20,742 extra on the mortgage. (It's more in 2015 because we'll be saving the big total from the start of the year, instead of ramping it up each week.)

I'm going to say that again: $20,742 extra.

We just gave ourselves a way bigger raise than our employers ever will.

If we apply that to our mortgage each month, a handy mortgage calculator shows us what happens to the payoff date:

WIth no extra payments, we wouldn't be done paying the house off until March of 2042 (I'll be 65 years old). But with an extra payment of $1728.50 each month, we should have it paid off by November of 2025 (I'll be 49). 

But wait! Remember the snowball effect of paying the car off? With these extra payments, we'll get rid of our stupid, $400 per month PMI payment faster, and we'll be able to add those savings to the mortgage payoff as well. That gets our projected payoff date down to April of 2024 (I'll be just 47). 

And then we'll have our monthly saving PLUS our entire mortgage payment as extra money each month.

At which time I plan to retire to the hammock and drink gin and tonics when I'm not busy being a farmer or a singer in a band or a figure skater or whatever the hell else I feel like being.

Not even kidding.

To sum up: even the littlest budget cuts were totally worthwhile. It all adds up once you get started, and watching that mortgage end date get closer and closer is incredibly motivating. If we can do it, you can do it. I hope you're inspired!


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