Thrifty Tip: Pay Off Your Mortgage

Posted on March 30th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

house with text

My husband and I periodically dream about what it would be like to have our mortgage paid off. Can you imagine? For us, it would be like doubling our income by having our mortgage paid off. We got a great deal by refinancing a few years ago. Now, I’d love to get that mortgage paid off early. In case you’ve had similar conversations (and dreams), here are a few tips on how to pay off that mortgage early.

1. Mortgage payments. When you first buy your house, try to keep those payments at about 15 percent of your income. As I shared above, that’s not the case for us. (Maybe that’s why we are still working on it!) In any case, this is good to know when you first buy a house. The national average is 30 percent; aiming for about 15 percent of your income will give you a much better shot at paying it off early.

2. Check out This site provides a tool to help you figure out various combinations of payments to pay off that mortgage early. You’ll just have to plug in the amount left on your mortgage, the amount of time you’ll like to pay it off or the extra amount you’d like to pay each month. You’ll end up finding out exactly how much extra you need to pay to pay it off in a given period of time. Check it out.

3. Divide up your payments. Rather than making one monthly payment each month, make two payments every two weeks. Because of the way the calendar is set up, you’ll end up making an extra payment without even thinking about it. That’s a great way to make a nice extra payment to move that ball down the field.

What are you doing to pay down your mortgage?

Choosing an Affordable and Safe Neighborhood

Posted on February 6th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

An home for some of us often means that we will have to compromise something in order to get the price we are looking for. Safety shouldn’t be one of those things compromised. Here are a few tips to consider while neighborhood hunting.

Check the Internet and Police Records

Criminal statistics for a neighborhood are open to the public and free to view. Take advantage of these opportunities. Find out what type of crime happens in the neighborhood your looking at living in. Check for sex offenders. Save yourself the grief of someone else telling you these things after you have moved in.

Drive By At Night

Driving by in the twilight hours is a really good way to determine if an apartment complex is safe. Notice who is outside? Is it children playing while their parents watch? Is it a retired couple sitting on the porch? Or is no one outside? What are your instincts telling you? Chances are in the daylight you will feel comfortable in most neighborhoods. When it’s getting dark will tell you if you are still going to be comfortable there when the office closes.

Look For Decorations

A home that has decorations outside is less concerned with vandalism and theft. Sure it may still happen from time to time, but that isn’t the constant mindset of the residents already living there. Look for lawn ornaments, little container gardens, and patio furniture. The apartments may be a little older, but you can tell how comfortable others feel there by what they choose to display.

Apartment Conditions

It’s not enough to feel safe due to a low crime rate and nice neighbors. The apartment needs to be a safe environment as well. Check to see if windows leak air, look for breaks in the glass, and see if the doors hang right. Check to see when the apartments or house was made and if any questionable materials were used. Is there an insect infestation? Is there a mold problem? It is far better to check these things when investigating moving in rather than be stuck in a lease or mortgage with them.


Kid-Proof Home Style

Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Freebie Felicia

Many Thrifty Divas have kiddos. A Diva wants her surroundings to reflect her excellent taste (and thrifty skills), but kids can cramp her style. Can you have a stylish home while still being kid friendly?

Brooke and Summer, aka the Girls with Glasses, say yes! Check out their new original series: Kid-Proof Style.

First up, 4 ways to make simple and creative spaces for kids.

Free P&G Coupon Booklet + Free Download 30-Day Spring Cleaning Organizer

Posted on March 7th, 2013 by Coupon Cathy

Sign-up or log-in HERE to get a Free P&G Coupon Booklet + Free Download 30-Day Spring Cleaning Organizer!

Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted on March 7th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

For years I’ve heard that Apple Cider Vinegar is the most amazing product out there. It’s good for you with the ability to be used internally for healthy digestion as well as even externally for your skin. And of course, the recipes you can use it in are amazing! But there is so much more!

1. Hair care. This is amazing! You can rinse your hair in it after shampooing a few times a week for amazing shine and body! It’s really fantastic what it does.
2. Skin Care. It can even be used a toner a few times  a week. Just dilute a small amount in water and dab it on your skin. It will help with wrinkles and scars too if you leave it overnight.
3. Wart Remover. Take a cotton ball and put ACV on it and put it on the wart and cover it with a bandaid. Keep doing this overnight until the wart falls off.
4. Teeth cleaner. Rub ACV directly onto your teeth and rinse. Keep doing this until you reach the whiteness you’d like.
5. Weight loss! Everyone likes this one. In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, “it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.” Add 2 teaspoons to 16 oz of water and drink everyday. 

Do you use apple cider vinegar? What are your uses?

Thrifty Tip: Make Your Own Decorative Pillow Covers

Posted on March 6th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

I think Pinterest was created for two groups of people: people who love to decorate and people who would love to figure out how to decorate. I have never had the decorating knack. I was not naturally inclined and never really saw someone who was passionate about decorating. Disclaimer: That doesn’t necessarily mean there were no decorators around; it just means, if they were, I never really noticed.

I say all that to say that since getting married, I’ve had more of a desire to figure it out. So, in the last couple of years I’ve begun taking baby steps. Baby steps for me and for our home.

I’ve been taking baby steps in the living room. And, my latest attempt to liven up our space is by adding some color to our couches.

BEFORE: Here’s what they have looked like for a few years.


I first experimented with pillow covers made by using hem tape. And, when I did, I realized I had just tapped into a whole world of potential. I got so excited that I shopped around and bought a sewing machine. These pillow covers can be made either way. Here’s what I did.

Measure The Pillow

Mine are 19″. In order to account for a 1/2″ hem all the way around, I added an inch to that number when cutting the fabric.

Cut the Fabric

I cut three pieces of fabric. The first was 20″ by 20.” Then, I cut two smaller panels for the back of the pillow (the goal is that they would over lap in the back. So, the directions I found said that I should cut two pieces 4″ inches shorter. However, since my pillows are fairly flat, I adjusted the numbers so that I could get the most use out of my fabric. I cut one that was 20″ by 14″ and another at 20″ by 12″.

Here’s what that looked like.

Then, I lay the two smaller ones face down on the big piece, just like a pillow cover turned inside out.

Then, I pinned it all up…and got so excited that I was so close to the finished product 🙂

Then, I sewed a seam about half an inch around! Then, I just turned the whole thing inside out and stuffed my pillows in!

After: Ta-da!


The goal was to turn them around and sew a half inch seam in the front for a little character. However, I didn’t get very far, as I realized that I’ll need a different needle for my sewing machine. Yes, I’m a total newbie at this!

I’m now on a mission to find a print fabric to accent these. There are a couple I love. However, they cost approximately an arm and a leg to purchase. So, I’m waiting for the right fabric at the right price. Meanwhile, we are taking baby steps in the right direction around here 🙂

What DIY home decorating project have you done lately?

Free Valspar Paint Sample (8 oz) at Lowe’s (First 150,000)

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by Freebie Felicia

The first 150,000 get a coupon for a free Valspar Paint Sample (8 oz) at Lowe’s – Print your coupon HERE then redeem in-store.

Save $10 off at ThredUP

Posted on January 21st, 2013 by Discount Debbie

What’s ThredUP? It’s an online consignment shop where you can buy and sell practically new kid’s clothes.

Haven’t tried it yet?

Hot new offer for you!

Save $10 off your first purchase of practically new kids’ clothes at ThredUP.

Use code: SAVE10 at checkout.

Offer ends TONIGHT, Monday 21st at 11:59 PST.

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