Thursday, March 1, 2012

Debt Free - Paying off the mortgage

Many of you may already know of our goal this year of paying down our mortgage. Jennifer got me interested in blogging about our progress for two reasons - 1) it will in some small way hold us accountable, and 2) it might inspire others towards similar goals.

How we got started
One day I started to listen to Dave Ramsey's radio podcast and became familiar with his 7 Baby Steps. It was entertaining enough to hear the different callers discuss their various financial situations and how Dave would advise them. But then I took notice to the callers simply calling in to scream, "I'M DEBT FREE!" Dave would interview how and why they did it, etc. What stuck out to me is that there were several people paying off more debt than we had with less money than we make (moving more dirt with a smaller shovel)! How is this possible?! This got me to run through some calculations of what it would take if we were to really attack our debt. To make a long story not quite as long, it actually turned out to be possible. And that simple realization, that it was possible...within our grasp to pay off our mortgage completely was enough to get us excited to try.

Progress so far...

Jennifer and I feel like we really started this January. At that point we were done with updates to our property, had just paid off the last of my student loans, no car payments, no other debt...except for the house (~$192K). We paid roughly $1200 in extra principal in January and February, then with our money back from the government (tax returns) we saw the biggest drop in our mortgage today from $188K to $182K. It doesn't seem that crazy, but we figure that payment alone will save us approximately $1.8K in interest avoided!

Overall goal

We know there may be some bumps along the way, but even so, we think it is entirely probable that we pay off our mortgage completely before my 35th birthday (about 5 years from now). We put together a budget that will require some discipline (an "envelope system" methodology using Apple's Numbers app and cloud capabilities), and Jennifer continues to save with her coupons and various deals.

We'll keep you all updated from time to time on our progress. We hope that this might inspire others to become debt free as that possibility becomes more apparent.