I just wanted to take a moment to give you all a big thank you for your comments about paying off our mortgage. I could have never imagined that I would get such a great response! Y’all poured your hearts out – telling me your success stories, struggles, and how you were inspired. That post quickly racked up more comments than any other post I’ve written. I also received a TON of e-mails from people thanking me and asking questions (I still haven’t responded to them all, but I’m working on it). So thank you all for your response and for the congratulations :) And you know what else? I didn’t even receive one mean e-mail. You guys rock :)
Anyway, I wanted to share some of the most inspiring comments. I could really just post the entire comments section, but I will refrain. (I hope no one minds me posting these…and just FYI, none of these are e-mails…I don’t feel that those are mine to make public.) I hope that some of you can be encouraged by these… not all of them are success stories, but you can glean knowledge from them all.
We don’t pay cash for everything, but we have very few bills and our house has been paid of for years. It is a good thing too. A few years ago, when I was a 5 month pregnant stay at home mom with two other children, my husband was laid off. Since we had so little debt and our bills were minimal, my husband was able to go back to school after the baby was born (three days after), and I was able to pay the bills with 2 part time jobs. Living within your means feels great doesn’t it?
We are huge Dave Ramsey fans too. We became debt free (all except our house) February of last year and it feels great! Now, we’re cracking down on our mortgage and possibly refinancing to a 15-year as well. I tell ya, the last big purchase we made was buying a family car right before Logan was born and it felt so great to pay $9K in cash for that car! Such an amazing feeling to pay for things in cash. And to learn that the “All Mighty Credit Score” is crap! Yes, people, it’s shocking but true. :)
And, you’re right, it’s just money. It’s so funny how really learning about money and figuring out how to control it makes you not feel weird to talk about it. It’s the same for us too and, I think, many Ramsey followers. We want to spread the word about our success just as much as you do!
Big huge congrats! We are hoping to have our primary residence paid off in 5 years, then our rental property. We HAD to move and couldn’t sell. Thankfully, we bought below our means in both instances :) Real numbers? As of today, we owe $69K on our primary residence and $58K on our rental property. And we’re doing all of this on a teacher salary, AND we have six kids! It’s pretty crazy.
Congrats! We are in such a mess with our house… We had our house paid off and got stupid. We decided to get a Equity Loan to fix it up and sell. We “bought” a house in Florida before we sold our house. So we used the loan to make interest payments on the new house. How stupid was that? Anyway, the sell of our house fell through and we had to short sell the Florida home and now left with a hugh Equity loan. We are on a fixed income, turning 70 and now our life is in a mess. It is so great you are young and debt free. Please pray for us. Thanks for sharing.
We have also just paid off our house, after 15 years of a 30 year mortgage. My husband is the saver. I wish i was more like him. Even through a one year layoff at a steel mill, we were able to stay afloat. Only because of him! I really need to get my act together regarding money.
Be proud, be very proud for your attitude is rare and so very refreshing. Too many people think they NEED bigger, more and better of everything with no means of paying for it. Your attitude is truly refreshing and I admire you. Your philosophy “If you can’t be happy with a little, you’ll never be happy with a lot”, should be turned into a bumper sticker.
For many years after my divorce I supported my children earning $15000. per year and going to school. Long story short, I ended up working for Microsoft and did very well there. Friends would ask me why I didn’t purchase new furniture, or buy a car or home. I was very happy with what I had and even when I had only $5. in my bank account, I was happy. I have two wonderful children who look back at those difficult years and are amazed that they didn’t feel poor.
Jennifer B. –
Congratulations!!! That is really something to be proud about!!
We screwed up on the first item on your list. We bought a house that we could afford with *both* of our salaries, but when I stopped working when our son was born we are basically hand to mouth now. Had we thought ahead when we were looking at houses and taken a moment to calculate things out we would have adjusted our budget accordingly and not be in the situation we are now. Lesson learned. We’re stuck here now because selling the house would mean a *huge* loss and we can’t accept that right now.
My husband and I have been doing the Ramsey ‘thang’ for a little over 2 years and were lucky that we started before we started house shopping. We were able to buy a house well below our means and now I scrimp and save and pay for everything in cash. We’ve been debt free for awhile and hope to be done with the mortgage in about 4 years. It’s so exciting, and I am so happy for you that you are already there! I am 28, and I have such peace of mind knowing that we will be able to retire early and enjoy financial freedom thanks to our early decisions and money management.
My husband and I refinanced earlier this year to a 15-year loan at, I think, 3.375%. Our loan is bigger than I would have liked, but we don’t have any car payments/cable/fancy phones, and we’ve been able to live on my husband’s salary and save all of mine. Now that I’m not working (had to get out of a bad situation), I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to save anything (and I’m sure my husband secretly worried that I’d spend more time shopping), but our discretionary spending actually went down by half since I finally have the time to DO projects instead of just buying supplies for things I don’t ever get to.
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for sharing! I thought Dave Ramsey might be in there somewhere:) I really appreciate how open and honest you are in this post, because I think for most people, money does define us. Or scare us. Or intimidate us. Or make us feel less worthy. Or, alternatively, it makes us happy. My husband and I try really, really, hard to not let money define us. When we have enough to play for extras, great, but the money isn’t making us happy. When we have less and have to cut back, we try to focus on the kids and our health, and realize that it’s just money, it’s not our family, or our values or morals.
We are also Ramsey graduates…paid off over $20,000 in car loans and home equity loans in about 15 months and are now working on our mortgage. We just refi down today to a 20 year from a 30 year, went from 4.5% to 3.87% but we plan to keep paying what we were paying before so we will get to make some extra principle payments each month. But now having read your post, I’m inspired to go find some stuff in my house to sell so I have even more to slap down on that principle. I would love to be paid off in 10 years…but to do it in 3…so inspiring!
Jen Y. –
We also paid off our mortgage early! We bought in 1989. Our loan was $50,100 at 9.5%, that was good for then. We refinanced about halfway through for 7%. We were able to pay it off in just under 10yrs. We were earning less than $30,000 a yr when we took out the loan & $30,000 when we paid it off in 1999. We also had a baby, bought one used car, did a lot of travelling (my father-in-law fought cancer during those yrs so we travelled a lot to see him & help with his care), moved my mom & helped with her with her care & a few other unexpected things. Our #’s are very small compared to many but we live in a cute small house on a lake with almost 5 acres of land.(no roughing it – we have more luxuries than most now without our debt) We’ve been here 22 yrs & it’s been so freeing to live most of that time with no debt! We were able to do things with & for our son through his teen yrs that we never would have been able to do had we bought a house beyond our means.
THAT is an amazing accomplishment and something to be very proud of, since it’s something that many people struggle with. There are many people out there that feel the need to always want the best and newest of everything. I think the bad economy has started forced many to re-evaluate their spending habits, and if they do it long enough, it can become a natural habit.
We only have a small credit card balance ( no interest ) that we will pay off in less than a year and a mortgage that we shaved from 30 years to 15 in 9 years and saved 7% in interest in refinancing and re-amortizing. We are much further ahead than most of our friends.
My husband and I paid off our first house in 4 years and our second (dream) house in 9 years doing exactly the same sorts of things that you mentioned.
I was always surprised about hearing how Americans get 30 year mortgages and wondered if 15 year ones were not available (I’m Canadian). I guess that the banks just don’t want people to know about them and how mortgage’s work. The more a bank can keep you in the dark the more money they will make from you.
I hope that this post goes viral because it is SO important for people to start to understand that they are not slaves to their mortgage and with careful planning they can lead amazing debt free lives!
Hub’s and I had royally screwed up our finances, with the ‘if I only had’ mentality. Then we found Dave Ramsey’s FPU program and began working our debt snowball, with a plan to get about 50k in debt (NOT counting the house – scary, huh?) paid off in about 3 years. We actually sold the house and moved into an apartment, then found a (bigger-than-we-needed) rural house that we could buy without PMI through an FDA loan, and pay just a few hundred a month more than we were paying in the apartment and still work our debt snowball, so we jumped on it.
Literally days before we closed on the house, my husband was in a near-fatal car wreck. God was in the car with him and followed him through a miraculous recovery, but we were in a state of shock and weren’t thinking very clearly. Doctors told us he would be able to return to work (and if not, he had long term disability through work), and our lease was ending on the apartment, so we went ahead and closed on the way-too-big-house while hubs was still in the hospital (NOT a smart move!)
Fast-forward almost two years later, and we’ve since lost everything. Hubby wasn’t able to return to work and the disability ended after just a few months due to a loophole pertaining to his particular type of injury. Oh, and utilities for that way-too-big-house? They were through the roof. We hit rock bottom, and filed (ugh, I hate this word!) bankruptcy. As hard as it was (and still is to admit), it’s also the most freeing thing that we’ve ever done, and in our position there literally was no other option.
We’ve eaten so much humble pie and learned so many lessons (the hard way!), but now God has us in a place of freedom and redemption. We’re back in an apartment, hubby is back to work (just this month, praise God!) and we are now debt-free with a clean slate.
We’re paying cash for everything, and we intend to either save up enough to buy the next house with cash, or follow your plan (buy WAY under our means with the full intention of being paid off in just a few years). Until then, it is apartment-living for us!
Oh, how I wish they had taught FPU in high school and college, back when we were young and stupid. But I praise God for His redeeming glory, and though we’ve been through Hell and back (and I am sure we have more struggles that lie ahead of us), I honestly don’t think I would trade any of it for the world!
Congrats to you!! We, too, are on the debt-free train – we paid off the last of our consumer debt in December 2010 (a total of $122,000 in 47 months), drove to Nashville to meet Dave Ramsey and do our debt-free scream and have totally loved what it’s brought to our marriage, our family and our faith in God. We teach Dave’s Financial Peace University at our church and love being able to help others get to the same place – budget, save, give. Our house is on track to pay off in about 7 years, sooner if things keep on the track we’re currently on. Thanks for sharing your story and sharing real HOPE!!
I found this article from Addicted2Decorating, and I am so glad I did! You are an inspiration to all young couples that you CAN get your finances in order from the get-go. My husband and I are y’alls age and we have been proud of being financially savvy enough to be on our third house and pay off both of our vehicles. We knew we would love to shrink the pay-off time of our mortgage but never imagined you could do it so quickly! I showed this article to my husband and he immediately began crunching numbers and now we are on our way to having our house paid off in 4-6 years.
Thank you for this wonderful post to show people that with hard work and some belt-tightening, it can be done! Also, love your blog, it’s great following fellow Texans!
Congrats! Very impressive. My husband and I set up our home on a fifteen year loan. We refinanced it a few years later at a lower rate but shortened up the time to a ten year loan so we wouldn’t be pushing back our timeline to have our home paid off by a certain age. We will also have ours paid off this year. I can’t wait. It is really something to be proud of and I understand the not wanting to brag but it is kind of like staying married to the same person. Rare and worthy of a pat on the back.
We are Dave Ramsey fans too. We just paid our house off the end of March following most of his steps. It is a great feeling.
Our three step plan for paying off our house:
1.If we didn’t HAVE to spend money, we didn’t, and we put all savings toward the house. I treated saving money as my part-time job. Because we’re “poor” (if you go by government income guidelines), we were very extreme. All fun had to be free fun. A good attitude helps!
2. Buy a relatively cheap estate property or other really good deal.
3. Find a house where you can rent out part of it. We found one with a mother-in-law apartment in the upstairs. This practically covered the mortgage, so all extra could go toward principal.
If you’re blessed with good health and no other debt, it can go really fast, even if you earn a pittance.
I love the way you wrote this post…we just paid off our house in June of 2009, and then decided to purchase a fixer upper cabin in Dec. 2009…which I just paid off 2 months ago (feb 2012). I used to talk about paying off my house quite a bit, and then I felt kind of bratty and tried not to share as much when I was working at paying off the cabin, until people told me that I inspired them and they started paying extra too. My thoughts are you spend what you make…unless you are SUPER disciplined.
We are also on a plan to pay our house off in three more years. After getting use to our budget, I didn’t miss the silly extras that ate up our money. Congrats! All your hard work paid off. Your lucky to have a husband that is on the same page as you. When two people work together, it’s amazing what can get done.