4 Steps a Couple Took to Pay Off Their Mortgage in 3 Years

  • Jackie Beck and her husband bought their Tempe, Arizona home in 2008 with a $ 99,600 mortgage.
  • After paying off their credit card, student loans, and car debt, they focused on their home.
  • They paid off by 2012 through regular back payments and refinancing at a lower interest rate.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

Buying a home is the most expensive purchase most of us make in our lives. And while most of us have been mortgaged for decades, we’d probably all love to end our mortgage payments early.

Jackie Beck and her husband succeeded in doing this. In 2008, they bought a house together and paid off their credit cards, student loans, and car loans. Then they had a wild thought: what if they paid off their house too?

“We knew how great it was to have no student loans, no car payments, and no more credit card debt,” said Beck, personal finance blogger at JackieBeck.com. “I kept thinking about how great it would be to be completely debt free. We wanted to make it possible so we could be free to do more of the things we love.”

Although they didn’t exactly know how to do it, they were determined to find out. A little over three years ago, Beck and her husband had used up their mortgage balance – just over $ 99,000 – on their home in Tempe, Arizona. That’s how they did it.

1. You have made additional payments on top of your principal amount

To destroy the client, they initially sent an additional $ 35 a month. As they got used to paying a little more each month, they gradually increased that amount over time. Beck did not wait until the end of the month to make the additional payment.

“When we got the extra money, we sent it to the headmaster,” says Beck, who is in her 50s and currently lives in West Michigan. In some months they sent up to eight additional payments.

Before the couple decided to make additional payments, they combed their mortgage contract to ensure they could make as many payments as they wanted, as often as they wanted, with no fees or penalties.

2. You have found ways to bring in extra cash

To raise the money for these additional payments, Beck and her husband worked as hard as they could to make some extra cash. Beck was working as a web content administrator at the time and her husband was a QA analyst. In addition to the income from their day jobs, they did odd jobs such as $ 5 surveys. Beck also worked almost full-time in her side business.

Beck remembers putting $ 5 checks on online polls and the cashier would laugh. “I always thought, ‘Laugh if you want, but we’ll have a paid house!’ I would say anything helps, especially if you want to make paying off your home a priority and focus on your goal. ”

3. You have refinanced yourself at a lower interest rate

When they decided to take the plunge and pay off their mortgage ASAP, their 15-year mortgage was $ 99,600 on a monthly minimum payment of $ 768.31. The interest rate was 4.625%. After paying off nearly half of the balance, they refinanced the remaining $ 49,500 on a 3.250% 30-year mortgage. That brought her monthly payment down to a super low level of $ 215.43.

Here’s the thing: even though the Becks only had to pay $ 200 a month, they continued to pay the old monthly minimum plus extra. How much extra varied widely, ranging from $ 31.69 to nearly $ 13,500 last month. (They deducted from their savings for this final payment.) “The closer we were to the mortgage, the more we sent in, on average,” says Beck.

4. You stayed out of debt

If she and her husband had accumulated debt while they focused on paying off their mortgage, it would have been more difficult for them to make additional payments.

In repaying their mortgage, the Becks made a point of staying out of debt by following four simple rules: only spend money you already have; think about the trade-offs of a particular purchase and whether it is personally worthwhile for you; ask yourself if you wanted or needed something before you found out about it through an advertisement; and wait at least 24 hours before making an unplanned purchase.

By following these simple rules, they avoided making too many impulse purchases or spending money on things they didn’t really need or value.

The Becks’ former home in Tempe, Arizona.

Courtesy Jackie Beck

Do not get discouraged

For those looking to aggressively reduce their mortgages, Beck says they shouldn’t be discouraged from living in a part of the country with a higher cost of living. “If you think you could prepay your mortgage if you owe less than $ 100,000, or that you don’t because you live in a high cost of living area, you’re missing the point,” she says. “You may not be able to do it that quickly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. You can still make progress. ”

At the end of the day, she adds, it’s not about how much you owe. It’s about what you do with your money. “Make it a priority and keep tinkering until you’re done,” Beck says. “It doesn’t have to be the same amount every month or on a schedule. Just keep broadcasting! Every little bit helps.”