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People typically discuss resolutions in terms of one year deadlines. That is all well and good, but for some goals, it is not realistic. Case in point, my goal starting this month is to pay off my mortgage in five years. So come December 2020, Diamondleaf Cottage will be mine! All mine! Buwhahahahaha!

After expressing this goal, the first thing people ask is “But, why?” For a myriad of reasons. In no particular order:

  1. Back when I bought the house, one of my cousins was shocked. “You own the house?! As in you don’t have to pay a mortgage??” When I corrected her, she waved a dismissive hand “Well, then you don’t own your house. Might as well live in an apartment and pay rent.” I know she didn’t mean anything beyond the surface of the words, but still it stung. I was speechless. It planted the seed of doubt.

2. When I was discussing shared goals with my ex-fiancé, I suggested we live on one paycheck, like my parents did , and use the smaller paycheck to pay off the cottage. He was game and seemed really on board. It was a shared dream of matrimonial bliss. Then the split happened. The seed of determination was planted. Who says, I have to wait for Prince Charming to come rescue me? I am fully capable of reaching this goal on my own! I am not abandoning my goal, but I am changing my plan.

3. “Uncommon, unique, and different” have always been used to describe me. Okay, to be fair, “odd, weird, and crazy” are also bandied around. For the most part, I enjoy my other-ness. I know the average person does not own their home. And of course, that adds fuel to the fire. Why be average, when I can be extraordinary?!

4. At some point in the near future, I would like to lease the cottage or take on a rental home. Rentals are hot commodities in this town and I don’t foresee it slowing down! I think renting would be an ideal way for me to use my interior design degree without having to conform to a client’s wishes. I can be a bit unc0mpromising. . . So this works to my favor. More importantly, ‘steady’ income! I might utilize a property manager, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Skeptics and naysayers hover around me, asking me how I intended to achieve such a lofty goal. –Well, I’m so glad you asked! I have plan! Of course, I do. I’m Type A. The short answer is a two prong approach. Saving and increase income.

My monthly mortgage payments for the next 60 months run around $1,700. I still have other bills to pay, investing, and savings goals as well. Eating and stuff, also need to be factored in. Basically, I need to learn to live off half my salary without losing my mind.


Enter in Savings. This is the easy part. I am pretty low maintenance and live in a cost effective town. Thus said, there are a billion and one ways to economize. Coupons, sales, riding my bike to work, etc . . . I also work at a library and don’t own a television. Not sure how much more I can save, but I am willing to find out.

The hard part is the side hustles. I will not be able to sufficiently achieve my other goals and live comfortably without increasing my income. I sat my friends and family down to brainstorm all the different ways I could realistically make more money given my limited, but awesome talents, inclinations, and willingness to step out of my comfort zone. Together we complied an initial list of 33 different ways I could increase my cash flow. The ideas run the gamut from dog sitting to interior decorating and everything in between. Then there was my brother’s suggestion, “You can always go back to hookin’.” . . . Well, yes, there’s that. . .