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Why I am Paying Down My Mortgage More Aggressively

I never thought I would say this because initially when I bought my condo I thought I would use the mortgage interest to offset my work at home income or to offset future rental income when I end up renting out my condo to save on income taxes.  However, a couple things kind of put a little bug in my ear to get me to think otherwise.  Mainly I have to thank my boyfriend who is very debt averse who spoke to me about my mortgage debt (yes, I am dating someone more financially savvy than me, how wonderful!).

When You Sell Your Home You Should Add in the Mortgage Interest Cost

You know that price you have in your head when you first bought the home?  And you get excited to see what it’s worth now because you’re selling for a profit?  Well, if you think about it, you’re not selling for as much profit as you think when you factor in the mortgage interest that you already paid for your home.  That mortgage interest does not go into your home equity, it does not pass “go” on the game of Monopoly.  It only passes go to the big wallets of the bank, of course.

Related: What To Consider Before Buying A Condo

In This Low Interest Rate Environment It Doesn’t “Pay” to Invest in “High Interest” Savings (If You Have a Fixed Mortgage)

Why I am Paying Down My Mortgage More AggressivelyWith the recent cut in the bank cut rates the high interest savings account are yielding even less money for investing your hard earned cash with them.  If you have a variable mortgage this is pretty good news for you.  However, if you have a fixed mortgage, the money you have in cash, just sitting there, could be working to cut down on the thousands of dollars of interest income you have to pay on your mortgage.  It might be a good idea to put it to work.

I have a bit of cash (about 20% of my net worth) in high interest savings accounts earning a very measly 1.25% or so (haven’t recently checked) and my fixed mortgage interest rate is at least double that.

I haven’t even mentioned how the high interest savings accounts or GIC’s doesn’t even keep up with inflation too!Continue Reading

Kuaui On The Cheap

On my first visit to the Garden Isle, also known as the beautiful island of Kuaui, I was pleasantly surprised by its beauty and simplicity.  As someone who has only been to Oahu on my Hawaiian island adventures, I thought Kuaui was beautiful and well worth a visit.

Although I only stayed for about three days, I was able to go around the whole island and see the Napali coast.  Kuaui is famous for the beautiful Napali coast and the Napali coast hike.

Here are some ways in which you can save money on your next trip to the Garden Isle:

Save on Accommodation

One thing I found apparent when we were researching places to stay in Kuaui in comparison to Oahu is that the condos and hotels in Kuaui are expenive in comparison to Oahu and Waikiki.  To be honest there wasn’t much selection.  There are a few popular places to stay on Kuaui, Poipu in the souhern part of the island is probably the most popular place to stay, then Princeville in the northern part of the island.  Because we were coming in on a late flight, we chose Lihue (on the eastern part of the island) because it was only about a 10-15 minute drive from the airport.  We were happy with Lihue because it was in the middle of the island and allowed us easy access to other parts of the island.

Related: Backpacking and Hostels

Kuaui On The CheapInstead of booking through hotel booking sites like Kayak, Trivago, Expedia, and Orbitz (which showed average hotel costs to be well over $200 a night) we looked on VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and Homeaway.  We found a lovely studio unit that was about $120 a night and included a very basic kitchenette.Continue Reading

Wyndham Timeshare Presentation- How to Get Out Unscathed

My boyfriend and I were strolling along one of Waikiki’s streets and were approached by a salesperson selling a free gift and buffet breakfast or lunch in exchange for about 3 hours of our time (including time for lunch).  We knew it was a timeshare presentation, I personally have had very little experience attending time share presentations (and knew very little about them) so was interested in learning about it.  We had about 8 days in Oahu and the weather wasn’t so great so thought, heck, why not?

The only prerequisites for qualifying for this timeshare presentation is that you have to meet the minimum household income requirement, you have to be able to read and speak English, and you have to be at least 28 years old to attend the timeshare presentation.  There were a few other requirements but my memory eludes me.

The Sales Pitch

Wyndham Timeshare PresentationThe sales people try to get to know you, they show you pictures of their loved ones and try to develop a connection in a short time.

The lowest price options are a one-time payment (including financing) of approximately $23,000 USD for 210,000 points every other year.  There was a lower price option around $13,000 USD for 165,000 points every other year.  They take you to a showroom to show you what a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom unit looks like.  The maintenance fees can vary between $35 to $50 per month.  They tell you that you can use your points towards “RCI” which are other units around the world.  To give you an idea, 7 nights in Waikiki for a 1 bedroom unit is 160,000 points.  The points can be gifted, sold, and they tell you that you will “own a piece of Waikiki”.

They tell you that you are purchasing a “vacation investment” because there will be inflating hotel prices over the next 20 years.

How it Works for Them

The people on the street get $60 USD for each timeshare presentation sign up. You pay $20 to secure your spot and guarantee to them that you go to the presentation. They get 100’s of couples/ potential buyers per day, and apparently 25% of potential buyers actually end up buying time shares with Wyndham (which is a pretty high rate if you ask me).  60% of Wyndham’s sales come from current time share owners purchasing more points (so if you become an owner, you can expect a lot of phone calls and harassing emails to increase your points I assume).Continue Reading