Yep, at age 39, I paid the mortgage full. I bought my house when I was 24. I was scared back then, but I honestly felt like I was doing the right thing. Apparently so…as this house is home. Now it is truely my own.
How did I pull this off? I’ll tell you.
1) I have been gainfully employed and working full-time, non-stop since July of 1993. Thank God.
2) As most of you know, David and I don’t have children. No kids = easy way to save money. However, we do have two dogs and two cats. The four have proven to be quite expensive, but probably not as much as children. Maybe.
3) I saved money from every paycheck. I had this set up as an automated process.
4) Silly as it may sound, the main way I was able to save money over the years was through bringing my lunch to work almost every day. Yep, this saved a HUGE amount of money. The bonus? I typically ate healthier too.
4) When I had a comfortable 6-month savings cushion, I began applying extra money to the principle of my mortgage payment. I gradually upped that amount, but never more than a few hundred bucks each month. I still put money away in my 401k and my IRA (again, this is an automated process). Over the years, these extra payments really whittled away at my mortgage.
5) When I first got the mortgage, it was a 30-year fixed at 7 3/4% interest rate (hey, it was the mid-90’s!). I refinanced it several years ago to a 15-year fixed at 5%. After the ref-fi, my monthly payments were the same amount, but I was saving a BUNCH on both interest…and time.
6) Diligence. I always paid my mortgage (and other bills) on time and in full. Late and interest fees are my nemesis. I HATE giving money away for no reason. If I had to pull from my 6-month savings cushion to pay off a bill, I would, but I would always put it back as soon as possible (with interest) later.
That’s it! It took time. 15 years worth. While that seems like a long time, it sure beats 30 years! Now I am a giant step closer to being completely debt free. All I have now is to pay off my land in Tennessee. I’m following the same principles mentioned above. Hopefully, I will have good news to share with you soon on that too. First, I have to work on my 6-month savings cushion again. 😉
PS – I have to give a shout out to my mom and dad for all their help and support over the years. They taught me a lot about saving and being smart with money. Without them, I would not be in the good financial position I am in today. Thank you so much, mom and dad! I love you!