We Paid Off $18,000 Worth of Debt This Year

793LQ3PKGMIt’s official. By the year’s end, we will have paid off $18,000 worth of debt. Instead of ordering ourselves a bunch of pink plastic flamingos for the yard or sending ourselves a delicious Edible Arrangement, though, we aren’t celebrating this milestone. The reason? We paid off a lot of debt. But we had no other choice.

We have a mortgage. A thirty-year mortgage that requires us to shell out just under $1000 a month to be exact. If math isn’t your strong suit, we also put an extra $6000 towards our mortgage this year. About halfway through the year, we started doubling our payments thanks, in part, to my decision to put all of my side-hustle money towards our mortgage.

When we first bought our house, we put down more than twenty percent and made sure that the size of our mortgage wouldn’t make us house poor*. We had also planned to always pay extra, if not double. However, life happened.

The only way for teachers to earn salary increases is to complete more schooling, so Mr. P is currently doing his time for his first Master’s.** In a choice to remain student-loan free, we are paying his tuition out of pocket one course at a time. As a result, we haven’t been able to pay down our mortgage as aggressively as we had hoped this year.

While we haven’t paid down nearly as much debt as we’d like, we have found several things to celebrate this year:

  • Reasonable side hustling that makes extra payments possible
  • Two salaries that allow us to afford a mortgage payment, tuition, and our other expenses
  • Fully-funded Roth IRAs for the third year running
  • The drive and determination we have to find ways to be more aggressive with our payments next year and beyond
  • The hope to be mortgage-free by 2025

*Ha. If I knew then, what I know now.

**One day I’ll write a post on the irony of a teacher who doesn’t like school.

So Tell Me…What are you celebrating this year? How are you doing on the mortgage front?


We Paid Off $18,000 Worth of Debt This Year

16 thoughts on “We Paid Off $18,000 Worth of Debt This Year

  1. Congrats! I say every accomplishment, regardless of how little they may seem, should be cause for celebration – though we certainly don’t need to spend money in order to celebrate. Paying off $18,000 in debt is awesome.

    Regarding Mr. P’s masters and the disliking of school, believe me I feel his pain. I went through three masters classes before I got so utterly sick of the whole “educational” process that I quit. I just couldn’t stand it. More power to him if he’s able to stick it out! 🙂

    1. For sure. If we celebrate anything, we try to do things like spend extra time outdoors, cook a favorite meal, or just give ourselves some extra free time to dream and plan and do nothing for a while.

      As for the Master’s, he better stick it out! 🙂

  2. This post made me actually look back on the year. We didn’t aggressively start paying down our mortgage until July, but we’ve paid down just over $14,000 on our mortgage and paid an extra $6,000 this year. Hopefully those numbers will look much better at the end of 2016! 🙂

    1. That’s fantastic! Knowing that you are trying to be more aggressive next year will motivate me to keep it up. It’s hard when it kind of feels like a drop in the ocean – but it all adds up.

  3. We haven’t been able to put much extra against the mortgage at all. Too many other goals. (Yay, impending $25k in medical expenses.)

    So this coming year will be focused on the IRA and hopefully a SEP IRA. Once we can fully fund those, I’ll start putting more toward the mortgage.

    The one good thing is that our mortgage is so ridiculously low that even $130 extra is 23% extra.

  4. Katelynne says:

    We are going to jump on our mortgage when my boyfriend pays off his car. I finally convinced him to be more aggressive on that – I’m hoping that when he realizes how awesome he feels to have paid off the car in less time he said he would, it’ll make him feel awesome and he’ll say, yes we DON’T need to take all 25 years to pay off the mortgage.

    Working on him slowly, but surely.

    Great post!

  5. Congratulations! This year we’re celebrating David’s graduation with his master’s degree and the $20,000 down payment we saved for our house. We’re also lucky that we’re buying the property from one of my husband’s family members, and she is open to us giving her the $20,000 down payment, putting the house in our names, and paying her the remaining $30,000 over the next couple of years. We’ll have the house completely paid off by mid-2017. 🙂

  6. Congratulations! Even though you had no choice, as you put it, that’s still a serious accomplishment. Maybe celebrate with some popcorn and a movie night at home?

    No mortgage (instead, housemates! so much to say.). I’m celebrating the end of grad school, but also freaking out about my impending state of unemployment, which I guess starts on January 1st. It is going to be an interesting time. My main goal is to try to keep taking deep breaths. 🙂

  7. Wow…$18k worth of debt. That’s impressive! My goal for 2016 is to pay off a $12k home equity line. Once that’s knocked out I’ll focus on my student loan that’s been hanging around for way too many years!

  8. Congratulations, this is a great accomplishment! It’s incredibly smart that you are funneling your side hustle straight to paying off your mortgage versus increasing spending habits. As far as a mortgage, we do not have one but it’s a goal for 2016 to purchase a home. I just read that article about the mortgage payment that was under $700 with taxes & interest – amazing!

  9. Congrats! Whatever the reason, busting debt is always great.

    We made a big fat lump payment against our mortgage and … Eh. The darn thing was so big to begin with that it feels like it was just another few drops in the bucket. Intellectually I know this will save us at least 80-90% of the lump payment’s value in interest so that’s some major savings over time.

    I’d like to make a few more of these and get the darn thing under $100k in a few years, but we’d also like to find another place in that time so I’m back in that weird saving/but also paying down debt position again.

  10. I’m with Steve — celebrate anyway! “Celebrate” doesn’t have to mean buying a bottle of Dom — it could be clinking glasses of water and just saying, “Yay for us!”

    We haven’t been as aggressive with our mortgage paydown this year as we had planned to be, mainly because we wanted to grow our investments more, and because we still don’t know where we’ll net out on bonuses (Mr. ONL finds out later this week — his is the biggie), which we usually sock against the mortgage in a big way. So TBD!

  11. Killer post! my goal is pay off at least $10,000 in debt by the end of the year. More if you factor in the our lease running it’s course. Life does happen and that saying carries so much weight when you are paying down debt or striving towards financial freedom. I hope you are able to make greater strides in 2016.

    1. Thank you! I hope so, too. My husband will finish his Master’s degree this fall, so no more tuition payments and then he’ll get a small salary bump. The tricky part is we both need to go back to get at least one more advanced degree. So I feel like we’re making progress, but we don’t get to reap the rewards as quickly. But no student loans – so that’s a plus! I look forward to reading about your journey!

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