5 Mortgage Payoff Tips

The end of November Jason and I accomplished a big financial goal of paying off our mortgage.  This was the last debt we owed after I paid off my 2005 Chevy Cobalt in 2013 and my last student loan in March 2015.  Becoming debt free has always been a high priority for us.

We bought the house the end of July 2015 for 87k with a mortgage of $56,500.  I include these figures because I realize that 1 – the majority of people’s houses cost well over 87k and 2 – not everyone has a large of a down payment like we did.  I also want to mention that our house was not a “fixer upper” as I know those tend to be a lot cheaper.  Neither of us are handy enough or enjoy home projects enough to undertake that challenge.

Instead it is a smaller house of 1008 square feet on a 4900 square foot lot.  It is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath with a small kitchen, laundry room, hall with closet, large living/dining room and large attic.  It also came with a small shed and a fenced in yard.  For the two of us it is more than enough room and while I’ve always preferred eat in kitchens, I’ve learned to improvise when more space is needed.  I would encourage anyone looking to buy a home to consider buying smaller.  It will cost less initially and save money in utility bills.  It also requires less cleaning and limits the number of random items purchased to decorate.

With many people resolving to spend less and save more in the new year I’m going to offer a few tips we utilized to pay our house off in less than 3.5 years and achieve financial freedom.

1 – Pay more than your mortgage payment requires as often as possible.  Nearly every month since buying the house we made an additional payment.  In March 2018 we made it a goal to pay an extra $1400 a month minimum.  Some months we came up a little short, but other months we were able to pay even more.  This decreased the amount of interest owed and assured more money was going to the principal.  Even a payment as small as $50 a month can make a difference and ensure a mortgage doesn’t require 30 years to pay off.

2 – Put any “extra” money towards the house.  This can include bonuses, money from side jobs, tax refunds, etc.  I coach track and line judge volleyball games and the money earned from those went towards paying down the mortgage.  Jason picked up extra “on call” shifts whenever he could to increase his paychecks and pay more on the house as well.

3 – Limit eating out.  I feel like this tip is offered all the time on money saving articles, but it really is a huge way to save money.  There were some months where Jason and I only ate out once at a restaurant.  Sometimes we would treat ourselves by just going out for a shared appetizer and drink or picking up a pizza.  We also chose to eat out for breakfast instead of dinner if we wanted to eat out since it was a cheaper meal.  The best plan to stop eating out calls for cooking at home and meal planning which is a subject for another blog.

4 – Cut the cable cord.  Last spring our Comcast package lost a few of our favorite channels.  We took this as an opportunity to explore other options.  Jason found Philo and for $16 a month we receive 43 channels, some of which we didn’t even receive with our Comcast package such as HGTV.  I will advise a streaming device is needed for the service.  We already had a Roku because we had Netflix.  We also bought a cheap indoor antenna to receive local channels.  We had to retain Comcast’s internet services as my work’s VPN network cannot run on satellite internet, but we reduced our Comcast bill from around $120 to $75 a month by cutting out TV.

5 – Break the consumerism mentality.  I’ve come to realize this is a big challenge for most people as consumerism is ingrained in the brain.  It requires a change in mindset and philosophy towards buying “stuff”.  I recommend reading about simplicity and minimalism.  While it’s not needed to go to the extreme of these concepts, the overall principals are very applicable.  Once the desire to buy unneeded items (clothes, electronics, etc) is overcome, the extra money saved can be put towards paying off the mortgage.

What are your favorite money saving tips?  Does being in debt bother you and if so, do you pay extra to get out of debt faster?

 

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About TracyNicole

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental advocate. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights. Inspired by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elon Musk.
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9 Responses to 5 Mortgage Payoff Tips

  1. Congratulations. We’re next – 11 more months and we too will be free. We also cut the cable cord and do not miss it. Being in debt has always bothered me. I chose to take a loan for a new car this year and I plan to pay it off as soon as possible. I want to be free to travel and experience – however in reality – life is a balancing act. Everyone for the most part must work to support themselves. Living within ones means is the key – as well as understanding / deciding what you need versus what you want. An occasionally want is only human and one that I enjoy. Way to go!

    • TracyNicole says:

      Thanks! Great job yourself, less than a year to go must feel wonderful! I much prefer having Philo to cable as it has channels we actually watch and with having a limited number there’s less browsing through channels to find something to watch. Debt has always bothered me as well; I began paying my student loans off during the 6 month grace period and they were all paid off in 6 years instead of the allotted 10. I agree living within means is key; too often I hear people complain about not having money for emergencies yet they’re also buying lunch out everyday at work. It definitely requires a shift in mentality to know a want vs a need. Good luck becoming debt free!

  2. Wow! Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment to have paid it off so quickly. I’m working on our mortgage but we still have quite a ways to go. We’ve bought our last 2 cars straight out with cash so we didn’t have to finance them and that’s saved us a ton of money over the years.

    • TracyNicole says:

      Thank you! That is great you were able to buy both cars with cash; car payments are the worst because you know you’re paying for something depreciating in value. We hope that if/when we need to replace our cars that we’ll be able to pay cash as well. Good luck getting the mortgage paid off!

  3. Laurie says:

    Tracy, you have a great financial IQ! Way to go to become debt free. My hubby and I paid off our mortgage several years ago. Then we went right back into debt by adding on a master bathroom addition. Oh well! I am enjoying our bath and we still are in good shape financially. Now we spend most of our discretionary income on travel.

    • TracyNicole says:

      Thank you! Congrats on getting your mortgage paid off; I would tend to think that cost more than your addition! Travel is a great use of money, I’ve always been for experiences over material items.

  4. mhhomes says:

    Very good article and your “tips” are excellent! I tell everyone I can to put something extra on every payment even if it’s only $5.

    I just finished writing a book on this topic. It was published last week.

    Congratulations on paying off your mortgage and all you other debt!

    Matt – REinvestWise.com

    • TracyNicole says:

      Thank you! I’m not sure why the concept of paying extra or even saving an extra even if it’s a small amount seems so difficult for people. I recall a coworker telling me it “wasn’t worth saving money” if he could only save $5 even though I made the argument that it would add up and he’d have it towards and emergency if needed. Congrats on publishing a book!

      • mhhomes says:

        Thank you!

        I am with you on this. I also can’t understand why people argue that they shouldn’t pay extra on their mortgage. The earlier you start making extra payment the more money you will save in interest! I guess people have a hard time looking forward.

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