This year I'll have probably put in around three months' pay on the house, between soffit and ridge vents, insulation, and foundation repair (we need another six piers, which is over a month's pay. Fortunately, I happen to have just under a month's pay in savings, so I should be able to cover it w/o resorting to financing). Plus, we need sprinklers and about five grand worth of windows installed (the bedroom windows are ancient and not even vaguely up to code. They're alluminum-frame jobs that hemorrhage heat.
Needless to say, I haven't been making an extra mortgage payment every month like I'd intended, and there's a list of things that really ought to be worked on that fill half a sheet of paper.
a) I'm going to go to town with a ridiculously strict financial regimen to figure out how to make those payments without deferring maintenance on the house.
b) Going to, short-term, say "the hell with it," and get the house really, really nice so that we don't have to muck with it when kids start showing up, and *then*, if we happen to have anything left over from kid expenses, pay the hell out of the mortgage.
Each option comes with costs. "a)" effectively shuts down my research cold. You can't do material research without obtaining materials. "b)" leaves us committed wage-slaves for more years, since having the mortgage obligates us both to work, rather than giving one of us the freedom to quit the 9-5 racket and figure out how to make money from one of our various oddities.
Haven't figured out which yet. But we're way past "nickel and dime," and something's going to have to give a little.
UPDATE: Found a work-around that will let me have most of my cake, and a little bit of icing as well, though it won't allow for any of it to go as smoothly as I'd like. Should still pay the house down notably mroe rapidly, though.