Keepin’ It Real

As First Foundation’s resident blogger, I traverse the information highway each week, searching for useful yet interesting information that hopefully educates and empowers our homebuying and homeowning readership. This year, I’ll be detouring down a more personal road once a week with the new segment, Keepin’ It Real.

Outside my professional life, I’m a single mom of four children and one Shitzu ( insert Reba theme song here). I’m a small-town Alberta girl who still lives on the outskirts of Edmonton, loving both the culture and glamour of the capital city and the grounding comfort of my home town. Like most of you out there, I do my best to balance my income every month to buy both groceries and kicks cool enough for my 13 to tolerate wearing to Junior High.

If I do it all correctly, I sometimes greet the end of the month with a few dollars in the ‘ol savings account but sometimes, I don’t. However, this year, I have a dream – two dreams really – the first is to actually contribute to my saving each month to create a proper buffer fund and secondly, to save enough on top of the buffer to make an extra mortgage payment this year.

“Wow, you’re dreams are boring”, says you. Not so, my friend! In an economic climate that sometimes makes it hard to simply pay the mortgage payment I agreed to, wouldn’t it be something if I could do more than that? I believe it’s an achievable goal, even on my limited budget and yet it’s remarkably impactful, especially if I can manage to do it every year. And that’s just financially speaking. On an emotional level, making an extra mortgage payment every year is an empowering habit to get get into. I mean, if you can actually save for and carry through with a goal that provides you the exact opposite of instant gratification ( ie. long term savings on interest charges and time) then, by gum, you can save for anything! ( ie trips to cooking schools in Tuscany, etc.)

Keepin’ It Real will give you a peek into my weekly journey to meet those two goals and will include all the tips and tools I dig up to achieve them as well as the unavoidable speed bumps that I am certain will pop up to sway me off course. It may include deals I dig up to spare you a few dollars on groceries this week or the most/least effective budgeting method I come across. I’m certain it will include tales of woe in the battle against needs and wants and all the while, the purpose will be to determine if making an extra payment is a reasonable goal for the average Albertan family and what it takes to make it happen.

To make it really fun, I’m putting the challenge out there to other Albertan families to join me. I’m tellin’ you, a good time on a Tuesday night is to play with our mortgage pay-off calculator and see how many years and interest dollars you can save yourself by making an extra payment or two each year. I dare you not to get addicted to adding another $50 to the payment to see how far it will take you and I guaranteed you will exclaim, “ that’s all it takes??”. When you’re looking at it there on that attractive graph with its red and blue lines, it all seems within reach and totally doable. However, is it really that easy to come up with a spare $1500 or so each year that you’re willing to put down on your mortgage instead of on a trip to Mexico? That’s the “Keepin’ it Real” part. Come along with me every Friday and we’ll see how she goes!

P.S – Don’t have a mortgage yet? That’s OK – tune in anyway, you’ll probably find these tips helful for any money saving endouver such as saving up for a downpayment!


As the company’s first employee, Jennifer has been a Licensed Mortgage Associate since 2004, but her current role is not focused on mortgages. She is the resident blog writer and…

Learn more about Jennifer Rochford