My wife and I purchased our house with the intention of paying it off quickly! Neither of us wanted to be a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt – let alone be in that much debt over the course of 30 years, our current loan length.
We didn’t find anything super fantastic about the loan process. We took the 30-year loan because it had a lower interest rate, aimed at profiting off of people in interest over the long haul as most people can afford the lower payments.
For us, the loan is a little bit more expensive than renting in our area at roughly an additional $200 per month. We are always going to need a place to live, so building equity in a house for the cost of rent was a no-brainer for us.
Eventually, the house will be paid off, and we can live rent free!
Here is how we got serious about paying off our mortgage and paid off 40% of our mortgage in 2 years!
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Financial Peace University
My wife and I took Financial Peace University early on in our relationship, and it set us up for successful money management.
I must say that I didn’t want to take the course when my wife brought it up as a suggestion. She’s the smarter one of us, so we went anyway. It ended up being one of the best decisions we could make.
It helped us become budget ninjas, prepare for financial emergencies, and learn about investing. Financial Peace University pretty much ensured that we would never fight about money.
We decided to save enough money for a 20% downpayment to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you aren’t familiar, PMI is mostly extra money the bank makes you pay monthly to protect themselves from you defaulting. Essentially, they don’t trust that you’ll pay back the money because you haven’t put down 20% of your money.
That extra money stays with you until the end of the loan term! If your PMI is $80, over the course of 30 years, that’s an extra $28,800 because you didn’t have 20% at the start of the loan.
Interest rates are pretty low at the time of our loan, so over the course of 30 years, the expected interest the bank would collect was somewhere between 60-70k (If I remember right). Tack on PMI over 30 years and our 200k-ish house rapidly begins to cost 300k-ish. Yikes! This is why we are so motivated to pay it off early!
We Increased Our Minimum Payment
When we set up our budget, we made sure that our base payment (that we paid each month) was above the bank’s minimum payment.
Paying the minimum each month would ensure that we paid it off at exactly year 30. Increasing our base payment by three or four hundred dollars ensures that we would pay it off sooner rather than on time.
Increasing the base payment gives us an agreed upon amount that we will pay each month. If we get extra money one month then great! If we don’t have any extra, at least we are paying more than the minimum.
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Budget on One Income
One of the biggest advantages my wife and I had was setting up our budget to live on one income. The second income would be used to pay off the house or towards a secondary goal of ours such as new furniture, house projects, etc.
Budgeting on one income let us pay at least double, if not more, our minimum payment each month and it all went towards principal! Paying $1,000 extra in principle knocks $12,000 off of your loan each year!
I’m fortunate to have a job that offers overtime pay. The unfortunate part is that overtime at my job is usually highly encouraged. Luckily for me, I used that encouragement to my advantage as it was not uncommon for me to work an additional 18 hours of overtime in a two week period!
Our budget was established on my base pay, so no overtime was included. Any extra money that was made from overtime was used to help pay off the house.
- See our guide to pay off debt quickly
- The ultimate guide to budgeting
- How to save your family more money!
Now and then we would get a nice cash surprise that we could use toward principal on the house. Maybe it was a tax refund, a bonus at work, Christmas gift money, etc.
It’s hard to be responsible when you get a lump sum of cash, but the sooner you hit the submit button on your online banking the better. The longer you hold onto your extra cash the easier it will be for you to spend it on something…. fun.
Are you wanting to save more money? I offer a free course on budgeting and saving more money. The course is aimed at changing your families finances so that you have more money each month.
So what is your favorite way to pay off debt? Let me know in the comments below.