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That one time when we paid off our house.

Thanks to Dave Ramsey and his Endorsed Local Providers program for sponsoring this post and inspiring us MAJORLY.

GOSH I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START. Okay, this is going to be a long one. I have lots to say.

I’ve been thinking about this post and debating whether to write it for a long time. I’m REALLY nervous to tell you all this but I think paying off your mortgage relates pretty well to budget-friendly house talk, am I right? (And when I read Ashley’s post about the same thing a while ago, I was SUPER inspired.) Anyway, I’m nervous so be gentle!

WE PAID OFF OUR HOUSE. Completely. As in, no more mortgage payment for the rest of forever. No debt of any kind, at all.
Awesome tips and inspiration for paying off your debt!
How we paid off our house!


I just blacked out for a little bit.

Our initial goal was to pay off the house by my 30th birthday. We missed the goal by 12 hours, but I’ll take it! On October 30, we sent in our last payment to the mortgage company and just looked at each other in silent disbelief. I may have gotten a speck or two of dust in my eye. *ahem*.

This is how we did it.

1. We agreed on our goals.
Even before Andy and I were married, we knew that when it came time to have kids, we would want one of us to stay home with them. In order to do that, we had to be able to live on one income, so we just… started living on one income, from the start. That one income, by the way, was Andy’s teacher’s income. (Read: not much.) We knew we’d eventually want some breathing room in our budget, and with no hope for Andy making substantiallly more money as a teacher, we thought the best way to do that would be to buy – and pay off – a house. (At the time, it seemed like such a distant goal!)
motivators
2. We paid cash for everything.
While we were living on Andy’s income, we used mine to save for a down payment for a house, and when we bought that house, we kept living on one income and used all of my paychecks to pay cash for the improvements. All the before-and-after photos on my blog and all the projects were financed with cash, as we went along. If we didn’t have money for something, we waited until we did.

Everything extra we could scrounge went toward the mortgage, and this is what really fueled the DIY fire and pushed us to do our projects on the tiniest of budgets — because we knew our goal: be able to live comfortably on one income so one of us could stay home with the (still-unborn) kids.
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source

3. We bought less house than we could “afford.”
The bank wanted to loan us more than double what we knew we could comfortably pay. We sat down and made a written budget so we knew exactly what was a reasonable monthly payment for us, and we bought exactly that much house and not a cent more, on a 15-year mortgage so we could pay it off as soon as possible. (This is where having a good real estate agent will come in handy! You definitely want someone who respects your budget and wants to abide by it. In other words: someone who has your best interests at heart. This is an excellent place to find a real estate agent who will work within your means.)

4. We drove crappy cars.
It seemed like all my coworkers and friends were driving shiny new cars, but we were still driving beater 15-year-old cars with LOTS of miles. Now I drive this gateway-drug-to-mom-jeans. It’s ten years old and has almost 150,000 miles. We paid for it with cash we’d saved and, after driving older, grosser cars for years, it totally felt like an upgrade. (Except the whole slippery-slope-to-teddy-bear-wallpaper thing.)
Violet Terror (Medium)
5. We kept a tight written budget.
We wrote down on paper exactly how much we could spend each month on each category of expenses, and we each got a small amount of money to spend on whatever we wanted. (At first it was only $25 a month!) We had exactly $300 for groceries, and at the end of the month if we had spent it all, we had to scrounge in the dark recesses of the pantry and make it work until the next month began. We stretched every dollar, became crazy coupon people, and learned to tell ourselves “no” when we wanted something outside the budget.

Check out this post for some of the creative ways we saved money!

We didn’t make a crapton of money during that time.
During the time when I was working full-time, my salary was decent but nowhere near six figures – pretty close to the national average. When we had our first kid two years into owning the house, I went down to part-time work and cut my pay in half. Then two years later, when we had kid #2, I was laid off and went down to making almost nothing. We’re back to both of us working now – me on the blog and Andy on his new business – and making a moderate income, but we didn’t win the lottery and, to our knowledge, neither of us have any wealthy great-aunts who left us a giant inheritance.

I’m still holding out hope on that one though.

The Joy in the Process

Freedom
I was shocked to find that this whole process of budgeting led to freedom. Before we set a budget, I felt a tiny twinge of guilt whenever I wanted to spend money on clothes or decorations, but once we had a space for that in the budget – we have a small amount of money set aside for decorating each month – and money designated for the purchase of small brass animals, it was practically required that I buy them. Guilt free.
brass deer
Peace
Having common goals brought Andy and me together in a huge way. There’s nothing like setting goals as a couple, dreaming together, and getting on the same page to make them happen. We would lay awake at night and talk about what life would be like when the house is paid off. We would dream and plan together, and it was SO good for our marriage. Because we made a plan for every dollar we made, we never had to fight about what we were spending. Our priorities had already been decided, and now it was only a matter of following through.

On giving

Our main motivation was long-term freedom: to not be tied down by a mortgage, to make choices that were not constrained by bills.

But I had a few inner struggles along the way. Being out of debt ROCKS and it matters, but I had to keep a constant check on my motivations and my heart. The best prescription I found for that was to keep giving throughout the process, even when it didn’t make sense. Giving for me has been like a cooling salve, a medicine to keep me from becoming a scrooge or losing focus of what is important (and that is loving people).

I once sat on an airplane next to this amazing lawyer who told me the goal of his family is to increase the percentage of their income they give away. He was currently at 50 percent. I LOVED THAT and I never forgot it, so Andy and I made it our goal to increase our giving percentage as well. Being able to give more freely since we paid off our mortgage has been one of the most amazing blessings of my entire life. I want everyone to know what this feels like!

On hope

Y’all, there are two parts of me screaming inside: one part that’s screaming for JOY, and the other part that’s screaming for you to understand my heart on this post. I know for a lot of people, times are tight right now and I’m absolutely terrified that you will think I’m boasting. Hear me on this: I am thankful beyond words. God has blessed us. And we have sacrificed for YEARS to reach this goal. I think you can do it too; I really do. It’s HARD and there’s a lot of sacrifice there, but even setting small goals (like following these baby steps by Dave Ramsey, who is an author and financial speaker) will give you hope, motivation and space to reach for gradually bigger things.

I’m Not Happier Now.

Now that we’re on the other side of things and have had a couple months to let it soak in, one thing that’s really struck me is this: I’m not happier now. I was really, really happy eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a crappy rental house as broke newlyweds. I was content clipping coupons with a newborn baby sleeping nearby. And I’m equally happy now, because being content really is not about how much you have. If you can’t be content having little, you won’t be content having more. It’s really, really true. (This cheesy hallmark card brought to you by the number 9 and the letter F.)

What’s next

I LOVED what setting goals did for our family. In addition to our giving goals, we’re setting other goals for our future.

Raise your hand if you think “investing” is a sexy word.

No?

No one?

Us either. So we’re reaching out to someone who can teach us the right way to invest (for retirement and the kids’ college funds) because that’s just not what we’re good at. We’ve signed up for an Investing Endorsed Local Provider through Dave Ramsey. It’s a person who will walk us through what to do and teach us the mysteries of investing.

It’s really hard to find the right, trustworthy person to help with things like investing, or a good real estate agent or a CPA, so I’m SUPER excited to have this access to local people who have been endorsed by Dave Ramsey (whose principles for getting out of debt helped us a TON) so I definitely recommend starting right here! They’ll send you a name of someone who lives in your area and who will help you learn what you’re doing, not just tell you what to do. (Everything we’ve ever used from the Dave Ramsey site has been amazing. We’ve worked with his ELPs before for insurance and were honestly shocked at the great rates they got us.)

We went on the radio

EEK! Dave Ramsey has a radio show where you can call in and yell “WE’RE DEBT FREEEEE!” and we went to Nashville Tuesday (the day this post went up) to go on his radio show. I WAS SO NERVOUS. One of the camera guys gave me a highlighter pen to fiddle with during the interview and it worked wonders. You can see the magical highlighter pen in the video. :)

Be sure to visit to find out how much money your family could be saving, just like we did!

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Whew! I knew I had a lot to say about this but it kind of got out of hand there for a bit, didn’t it? Hope it’s okay to veer (kinda?) off topic. Tell me what’s going on in your world!

Awesome tips and inspiration for paying off your debt!


This post was sponsored by Dave Ramsey, but all opinions are my own, as always!



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Comments

  1. So so so inspiring Kelly! I’m so happy for your guys. That’s amazing!
    We aren’t as fortunate as to have our mortgage paid off. Not even close and we are already living in a tiny house. But we do pay anything else with cash. Never financing anything and we have no car payments. A lot of money goes into me seeing my family in Germany every year. If I wouldn’t be doing that our house would probably be paid off already but I just can’t make myself give that up :( It’s so important to me to have my kids see that part of me.
    It’s so true that if you can’t be content having little, you won’t be content having more.

    • JoAnne says:

      Wow! What a great story.. First congratulations to you and Andy not only on”the pay off ” of your mortgage but the” investment” into your marriage. Well Done! Things do not make people happy. Family does. As I always tell my children stuff is not important, things will come and go , family is the important and therefore important. Never live beyond your means the best of times are the struggles. I am so glad you shared your story . Everyone young and old can learn from the both of you~ Many continued blessing to you and Andy and your family

  2. Kelli says:

    Congratulations!!! You are so weird! ;) If my little ones allow, I’ll be listening for your debt free scream. Stories like this help to motivate me to get back on it…right now we’re stagnating at step 4. We’ll be having a budget meeting tonight, my husband just doesn’t know it yet!

  3. cassie says:

    WOW- i am so inspired by this! i don’t know if it’s viable for us, but we certainly need to be budgeting better.

  4. Michelle says:

    That is amazing and wonderful – congratulations!!

  5. Jody says:

    Congratulations! And thanks for sharing!! I really enjoy your blog and I too, am a Dave Ramsay fan!! I hope today is awesome… Enjoy it!

  6. Meghan says:

    So proud….and envious of you! My husband and I have been using Dave Ramsey’s rules since shortly after we were married. We are still a longgg way from paying off the house. I would love it if you could share some of your budgeting wisdom or tips how you made the little budgets work when there was needs for certain items like maternity clothes, baby gear, etc. Ah, I have sooo many questions since this is our goal too! Hope you make this into a “series”!

    • Kelly says:

      Ooh I love the idea of making it a series! If you have any other specific questions, please send ‘em over. I’d be happy to post more about it but I’m not really sure what kind of stuff to talk about. :)

    • Jane says:

      As a mother of ten children, I *might* be able to say something useful to your question. Gently used baby gear, clothes and maternity clothes can be bought at resale stores like “Once Upon a Child” or garage sales, or Craig’s List. You can borrow baby gear from friend’s who don’t currently have a kid at the age of whatever the baby gear is (aim for a friend with a relaxed nature who isn’t going to freak if your kid adds a scratch to their item). Reuse things from one baby to the next (my 2-speed baby swing I got from a garage sale for baby #2 was still in perfect working order for baby #10. Sure there were much cuter ones, smaller ones, one’s with mobiles, lights but it didn’t seem like wise spending to replace it). Your children need less clothes than you think, don’t buy more than you need. And don’t buy hardly anything under 6 month size because pretty much all baby gifts are under 6 month clothes. Wait until after the baby is born and fill in the gaps of what you need.

    • Kelli says:

      I am currently pregnant with my first and have been trying to do things VERY thriftfully. My biggest rec for maternity clothes — size up and go to the Goodwill and any other thrift store you can find! I just bought a bunch of really blousy larger shirts and it has actually worked out great for me! I also got some maternity pants while thrifting for $2-5 each! I completely built my entire maternity wardrobe at a fraction of the price. The best part? I can continue to wear these clothes after the baby is born since I will have a little extra weight. I doubt I would want to wear a bunch of maternity specific clothing after the baby is born, so it’s nice to know I’ll be wearing “normal” clothes. I also highly recommend gently used baby items from garage sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist. Check your local Facebook groups too. I have found some groups where people post things dirt cheap (for example, I got a baby bath + newborn sling for $1, a baby bjorn for $2, and a Fischer Price play mat for $2). There really are good scores to be had!!!

  7. Monica says:

    Awesome!! We are working towards paying everything off too.

  8. Jena says:

    Kelly, you are such an inspiration! I’m so glad to see you post this. I’ve been struggling with posting about a similar topic because I too worry that it comes across as boastful, but really I just want to inspire others since I know this is a topic many struggle with. We are also in a similar boat where we are paying off our mortgage, and the final goal is to be financially independent so that we are no longer dependent on our jobs. I really want to delve deeper into how we are doing it without over sharing or turning people off, so I just keep writing and re-writing my posts on the topic. So nerve racking. Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Rachel says:

    I love listening to his podcasts of his radio program and hearing the success stories. It is so inspiring!! Good job for you and Andy. Congrats girl!

  10. This is very inspiring! We took the FPU course last year and paid off a couple of bills and was ecstatic. Definitely a good feeling but as time went by we didn’t stick with our budget and we still have bills. Our church is doing another FPU starting this month and I told my husband I really wanted to get back on the ball so we can have peace of mind. So so so happy for you and your family! =)

  11. You’re my HERO! The hubs and I just started hunting for our first house and we got the ODDEST LOOK from our loan officer when we said we wanted a 15 year mortgage. Not sure if we can pay off our (yet to be purchased) house in 5 years, but I’m up for the challenge! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  12. That is awesome! Dave Ramsey has been a blessing in our life too – my goal was to be debt free by the time we were married and with his plan, we were! What I think is important is that his plan does not just tell you what to do, it also completely revamps your thoughts about money, credit and budgeting – which I, with my car payment and credit cards needed. I will say that a paid off car does drive better. :D

    BTW, your minivan post was solid gold funny.

  13. Me, me!! I think investing is sexy! And paying off a mortgage! It is one of the most rewarding feelings ever. Congrats to you guys!

  14. Linda says:

    That is wonderful! Can’t wait until ours is paid off!

  15. Kelly G. says:

    Gosh. This is incredible! I can’t wait to see you and Andy on Dave Ramsey’s Instagram feed!!

    Also, God is so good. Yay!

  16. That is so inspiring. Stories like this sometimes makes me want to move to the east coast where housing is so much more affordable than here in California. Sigh. We are working towards the same goal, but with housing prices out here we have to go about it a slightly different way. I love all your tips on getting there. We follow those too. I am totally with you on the car situation. My last car which I had for more than 10 years actually came with a pair of mommy jeans ha ha :) Congratulations on moving towards your goals and dreams!!

  17. Liz says:

    Not boastful at all…totally inspiring!!! It is good to know that normal people can do that! I know we could budget more per month toward our mortgage (which is pretty depressingly hefty as we bought a house with land last year) and we sat down earlier this year to go through all our expenses and see exactly how much we can save/pay off. We are getting rid of a car payment by buying a used car in March and then we will be driving two old beaters. : ) At least for a few years…but that car payment will be a huge amount we can immediately budget towards our mortgage or savings. : ) I have been thinking about this a lot lately…so thanks for pressing publish!!

  18. Nancy says:

    Great story and such good advice for your readers. The next phase you mention is saving for college and I want to say that I did that very thing…I had an amount set aside for my son and when he was ready to make a choice, I showed him the total saved. I explained that he could go out of state and have this pay for possibly 2 years or stay in state and have his entire 4 years paid…he chose the in state option and has thanked me many times since his 2004 graduation. He is now married and has just purchased his first home and was thankful that he had no tuition to repay. I too was thankful that I put away the money when he was 5 so it had time to grow…my home is paid off as well and now that I’m 60, I can look forward to retirement and some grandkids to enjoy.

  19. Kim says:

    First, congratulations! That is incredibly exciting. I did Dave’s “Total Money Makeover” right after college and it has really shaped how I save and spend. Second, thank you thank you thank you. My husband’s and my goal is for me to be able to stay home when we have kids, but since I have the higher income (he’s a teacher) and we live in an area with outrageously expensive housing, we’ve wondered if it will be possible. Your post has given me hope that just because my husband’s passion doesn’t result in a huge income, we can still reach our goal.

    • Kelly says:

      You can totally do it! I was the one making the most money and we prayed and prayed and prayed about which one of us should stay home with the kids. In the end, God made it really clear. First, He gave me a job that I could do from home with the baby, then I got laid off the exact same day I found out I was pregnant with #2, and we never never EVER could’ve foreseen how He was working things out so they are now better than we ever could’ve dreamed of.

  20. Leah says:

    This is the coolest thing ever! I’m so stoked for you and your family! My husband and I took FPU shortly after being married. We’ve since paid off 2 cars, and are working HARD at a student loan. After that, we hope to have our home paid for ASAP. It’s such an inspiration to see other people working this hard too. And I cannot wait to hear your Debt Free SCREAM – I listen everyday at work and they give me goosebumps every time!!!

  21. Candace says:

    I love this so much!! I did think it was sad that your hesitation in posting this is the reality that some people are so blinded/delusional about their poor financial choices that this would make people upset. The truth is, these kinds of amazing moments come from YEARS of making good choices — you & your husband decided years ago this was what you wanted & made GOOD decisions to keep you there. If people get upset, they need to start making better decisions so in years to come they can understand & experience these kinds of declarations. But I think it is fantastic & I can not imagine how amazing you must feel. I am continually reminded by the scripture of being faithful with little — God honors & esteems your faithfulness of being wise stewards of His money. You are an inspiration & I’m so so glad you have shared this to inspire others, like myself!!

    • Jane says:

      I agree, Candace! It is especially a problem in this instant gratification society… and is compounded by people not wanting to take responsibility for their own actions (and the consequences of those actions).

  22. Patricia says:

    Yes, yes, yes! We did this too. We spent all our money buying our first (and forever) home and about $500 on getting married and the honeymoon. The first few years were a scramble to cover the mortgage each month (we were paying 12% in those dark days), refinanced to a 15 year mortage at 10% when the rates dropped and paid it off in nine years. And we started investing. Plan to get rich slow and you won’t make foolish mistakes. Now, after 29 years of marriage, we’re debt free, fully retired and traveling all over the world. And yes, donating to worthy causes has always been a part of the picture.
    We did it and others can do it too. You can’t have it all but you can have any one thing if that’s your priority. For us, it was a paid off mortgage and world travel. Someone else may love boats . Or a second home. Figure it out and make goals together. A boat rows a lot faster and goes further when you’re both rowing in the same direction.

  23. Amy says:

    I am amazed and soooo Happy for you and Andy!! I know how hard it must have been at times, and that you pushed through and stuck to your plans is something I would never have doubted you could do. And yes, Most definitely God has blessed you all. Congratulations!!! :D
    ^5′s for everyone! lol
    p.s. Love this blog today, was very uplifting, other’s Blogs this week seem to be about their most saddest and personal heart-breaking times for all the world to see, and that’s just another reason yours is the BEST!!!

  24. This is amazing! The best part for me…”I’m not happier now.” Money doesn’t define happiness and your reasons for wanting to share with all of us are genuine! Congratulations! ~Sonya

  25. Erin says:

    Debt is a terrible thing. You are right to feel so relieved about it being gone! We lived off of my (teacher) salary until I went on maternity leave and put most of Rick’s salary toward his student loans. We’re way over-paying still on those, but it’s so worth it to be (hopefully) debt-free sooner than the lender wants us to be. (Interest=ew.)

  26. Kelly, you guys should be so proud!! You’re one in about a gazillion people who can say they’ve done this! You guys did it the right way and stuck to that budget! I’m in Finance and so I’m probably the only person who thinks investing is a sexy word (hah!)

  27. CONGRATS!! that is amazing awesome and inspiring news! we are on the road to being debt free. By the end of this year we will have no more student loans…then just our mortgage to tackle. Congrats again, this is a HUGE deal! and so cool you will be on the dave screaming the debt free thing! i love hearing that!!

  28. I have those exact same brass deer. Hello, Goodwill $3 purchase! Make sure you have good life insurance. That’s my tip for the day. Kiddos need it too, and if you get them a whole life policy make sure it earns you money and that it provides guaranteed coverage for your kiddos (meaning if they get diabetes, cancer, or some other uninsurable disease (God forbid) then they are guaranteed to have a certain amount of coverage when they’re older). I wasn’t really worried about it until I got my cancer scare and couldn’t get coverage for myself. It’s terrifying to think that if you do lose the battle there won’t be any money for your kids prom dress, first car, college, wedding, etc. My husband is an insurance agent and he’s often coming home teary eyed because a client came in with news of a terminal illness and needs to shell out mega bucks for insurance to provide for their family after their gone. Had they had the coverage before it wouldn’t cost 1/4 as much.

    Great post, I’m super jealous and started my debt paydown in early December. I felt like a superstar until I ran my credit report…darn those student loans!

  29. BG says:

    Congratulations! I haven’t listened to the Dave Ramsey show in a while, but I will be for sure today!

  30. Marjie says:

    Congrats on the home! That doesn’t convey how deeply I really feel about your wonderful news…because our 3rd child wasn’t really “ours” until he was three years old (unfortunate events meant we paid every penny ourselves) and it was very unsettling….because we paid off our house in less than 15 years (we’ve been here 29 years)…because we haven’t had a car payment in years…because I know that when my husband was laid off several years ago, the ensuing unemployment/underemployment scenario with which so many are familiar meant that we still live in our house because we own it–and if we had had a mortgage payment, we would have lost the house. Thanks for the reminder that having 1800 sq/ft while raising 10 kids is OKAY!! Half are grown, married, and have their own houses…and half are on their way…and I don’t think any of them hate us because of it.

  31. As a blogger you want to inspire people. If this post didn’t do that I don’t know what would. This was so NOT boasting, it is a perfect example of the power of being practical, focused and determined. That can be applied to decorating projects as well as your budget. Congrats to you and Andy on this major accomplishment, especially at such a young age. You guys rock!

  32. so, so inspiring. I’m working on baby steps now… paying off the debt we already have and not accumulating more (including currently paying cash for my husband’s masters degree, ughhhh). our goal is to own a new-to-us house (sell our current, buy a new) by age 40!

  33. Jessica Lundgren says:

    Way to go guys!!! This post inspires me SO SO much! The hubs and I are in the process of sitting down and documenting our debt so we can start crawling out of it. Thank you, thank you for putting a little more spark under the fire.

  34. Congratulations! How exciting for you and your family. My fiance and I are fans of Dave Ramsey and plan to follow his practices once we are married. We have already started talking about goals and budgets and it is actually a very intimate experience, I would highly recommend it to any young couple. I wish I could listen to you on the radio today, good luck!

  35. Heather says:

    Congrats Kelly! What an awesome goal for you and your husband to reach together. I think you told your story perfectly. I completely understand how you may feel that some people think you are boasting. I am currently on the Dave Ramsey plan. Have been for almost a year now and am on baby step two. I have a student loan left and will be debt free by the end of May. Talking about your debt free journey can be difficult with friends and family. They can see the reward but they don’t see the hard work and sacrifice that has to happen everyday to get there. I hope to have a paid for house one day, thank you for sharing your story!

  36. Tammy says:

    Congrats! That is so amazing & inspiring. I am so glad that you decided to post this story! You made a brave decision that I think will inspire many that you may never know of. You may have offended some, although, I doubt it. You made very clear, your heart on the matter. If people choose to be offended rather than inspired, you can’t own that.
    I, too, am familiar with Dave Ramsey & his financial principles. It is a great way to look at money & how to live within you means. Alas, it is so much easier said than done. Because we want what we want & somewhere along the way we became a society of instant gratification so not only do we want it but, we want it NOW! I’m so guilty of that! My husband & I have recently re-committed to put Dave’s ideas into action. (Hopefully, this will be our last “re-committment”!) Way to go! You and Andy should be so proud! And what a great way to teach your children about money so they don’t become part of this instant gratification/entitlement mentality.

  37. Britten says:

    Thank you for sharing. My husband and I sold our home this summer and were able to purchase our “new” home debt free. We don’t have a nice house (we’re saving up for a remodel) and I drive a 23 year old truck but somehow it still seems like bragging to say that everything is paid for. I really appreciate your willingness to share. You’ve done something tremendous for your family!

  38. Gloria says:

    Congratulations! I’m inspired. I’ve always been the saver in my marriage. Dave Ramsey brought my husband onto the team too. We bought a tiny house with a small mortgage in a very nice neighborhood where everyone else’s home is worth 2 to 3 times ours. We can’t upgrade too much : ) But we can pay off a mortgage. I know it is possible and your post has given me fuel. Thanks! I live in Nashville. Wave as you drive by!

    • Kelly says:

      I totally waved! :) We got out and saw the Adventure Science Center and explored the city today with the kids. We love Nashville!

  39. Whoa–great work–congratulations!! I’m a little suspicious of Dave Ramsey because I feel like he probably doesn’t want me to go to Disney World ;)….but I was just thinking yesterday that we really need to meet with a financial planner at some point–we have some weird quirks in our finances that make it a little hard to figure out how to prioritize things (I mean even aside from my love of Disney World)

    • Hannah says:

      Give Dave Ramsey a try! His principles are really simple, and I definitely don’t think he’s against a splurge – but how great does it feel to splurge when you know that you’re spending your money right, have a grip on your debt and you know you have the money?? It’s about knowing what’s coming in and going out and making the BEST choices so you can be FREE with your money :) GL!

  40. You go girl! You and Handy Andy are two smart cookies! Your hard work has paid off and now your children can benefit from it greatly. Kudos!!!

  41. Adrienne says:

    Hi Kelly, Thanks for this post and your inspiration! You often inspire me with your creativity and now with your awesome financial feat! I am a bit :) older than you and got inspired via Ramsey a few months ago and my husband and I just finished FPU. I can’t even imagine where I would be today had I done this years ago. We are still on Step 2 and pushing. Enjoy your paid off home!!

  42. Arlene says:

    I don’t know why you put that off and were so nervous about it. It is totally inspiring!

  43. wow. Just wow. That is amazing; congratulations!!

  44. Branalyn says:

    Congratulations! We are nowhere near that point in our journey (not to mention currently living in a parsonage) but we will be debt free except for student loans this June, while we have saving significant amounts of money for things along the way! Once we get a few more things saved up for, we will hit those student loans! It’s exciting and seeming like a very far off goal at the same time!

  45. Brittany says:

    I’m so excited for you guys! That has got to be such a liberating feeling! I love the fact that you said you’re not happier now. I love that you mentioned that you can be happy no matter where you’re at. And I love that you mentioned the brass deer. :) I am interested to know what you guys budgeted in for decorating every month. We’re on a pretty strict budget (to pay off all debt and save for a house) and I need a little support in the ‘pretty things’ department! :)

  46. Jessica says:

    I think you are amazing and a HUGE inspiration. No where in that post did I take it as you boasting. You all sacrificed and it paid off. Congratulations. I don’t even know you all and I’m excited for you.

  47. Sharon B. says:

    How inspiring and I love that you shared this! It really is inspiring (I know, I’ve used the word twice already, might use it again) to see someone set goals that so many people have a hard time setting and then actually DOING. Seriously, this is INSPIRING! Congratulations, so happy for you and your family! There is so much freedom in working towards and achieving your goals together like you have.

  48. Shauna says:

    So, so cool! Good for y’all! We just bought a house and pay a little extra each month, but haven’t committed to the no-debt plan. It’s a constant internal debate because even though having no debt would be awesome, if this isn’t the home we live in for 30 years, and with the history of the housing market, we don’t want to end up “stuck” with cash in the house and none in the bank, instead of the other way around. Plus we’re interested in income properties, so we want to keep cash available to buy some vacation stuff down the line, make money from it (and save money on travel) and then start to pay things down. I know, it’s kind of TMI, and I know that the major Dave Ramsey goal is “DEBT FREE!” but does he ever address ways to leverage debt responsibly to create more income? Anyways, congrats again!!

  49. Mindy says:

    Congrats on the “status symbol of choice!” You are such an inspiration!

  50. Christy says:

    Wow! Your story is really inspirational. We have no credit card debt or car payments, but we do have a mortgage. It would be awesome not to have to pay that every month! Going back to check out some of your links, thanks for sharing! XO

  51. Congratulations! That is so WICKED awesome :)

    • Rebecca says:

      Congratulations! We live the same way and it is great. I loved hearing about the man whose family gives away half of their income. Fantastic! Thank you for telling your inspirational story. May God richly bless you and all your readers.

  52. My husband and I took a Dave Ramsey class at our church and we are 2 payments away from paying off his truck and only 10 payments away on my vehicle (once we snowball his payment into mine)! We have no credit card debt (after paying off thousands of dollars) and only pay cash. I am so inspired by your story and can’t wait to write a post like yours someday. Congratulations – this was SO well deserved!!

  53. Praise God! That is so awesome – and what’s even more awesome is your “I’m not happier now” statement.

  54. Investing is quite sexy. There’s no magic, though; even advisers can’t beat the market in the long run. Get a book like Bogleheads guide to investing and plop your money in some index funds. Voila! You’re there. Even if you hire someone to help you out, I’d be careful with Dave Ramsey’s investing advice. It’s very optimistic, borderline delusional.

    Anyway, congratulations on paying off your house!

  55. Holy crap lady, this is SO SO SO WONDERFUL!! I am listening right now, waiting on you to scream! Inspiration is your middle name right now. I love this. I am about 15 years away from a paid off house, but dude… you are totally making me want to buckle down and make it happen for us in the next 4-5 years. Congratulations to you both. So proud of you guys!

  56. Hi Kelly! I read your post first thing this morning and adore you even more now! I SO ADMIRE the choices and sacrifices you have made. I do not think you come across as boasting at all, but you would be justified in boasting, in my opinion. You accomplished paying off your mortgage through incredibly hard work and smart choices. GOOD FOR YOU!

    Like you, my husband and I have tried to be smart about paying off our debt and only paying cash for renovations. We even felt strongly about paying cash for our fertility treatments/IVF to get pregnant with our twin girls. Guess what that meant?! We had to wait longer than we wanted to to become parents (5 1/2 years, to be exact). It was a sacrifice, for sure, but I did not want to have anything negative (i.e., debt) associated with having our children. And we lived with the nastiest, run down kitchen you can imagine in our old house until we had the cash to renovate it. Being thrifty is absolutely one of the reasons we are such hard-core DIYers. You have been an inspiration to me for a while, but you have now taken it to a whole new level.

    I am not overly familiar with the David Ramsey approach you followed. When we got married, we read David Bach’s “Smart Couples Finish Rich” and have applied those principles, the biggest of which is when you pay off one debt, “pretend” like you don’t have that money and apply it toward something else. We are 35 and our only remaining debt is our house and a portion of my law school loans. Now you have inspired me to really start chipping away at our mortgage!

    Like you, I am grateful that I have been able to save money and chip away at debt. I know many, many people would like to do so and are unable to financially. But there are also many families that are in a position to reduce debt that I think will be HUGELY inspired by your post.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Kelly! (Wow…sorry for the long comment).

  57. That’s so awesome Kelly! Congrats! You have totally motivated me!

  58. Amanda R. says:

    So inspiring! Just heard your debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey show and had to find your blog and I did! Congrats to you and your family! My family and I are working on baby step #2 and we’re chugging along and hearing stories like yours keeps us motivated. :)

  59. Yay for you! That’s a huge accomplishment! We did a similar thing (paid off mortgage in 5 years) but never really told anyone because I didn’t want to boast about it. Way to put it out there! We also bought less than we could afford, didn’t have any other debt, but we never have had a budget. They don’t work for me but I feel like we are doing well financially ;) so no budget works for us. Loved reading about your journey!

  60. mary says:

    that is great! congrats! I think the biggest thing people don’t understand is that just avoiding credit card debt is huge. you don’t even have to literally pay cash for everything, just don’t spend more money than you can afford to spend. it’s not rocket science! from there you can do things like pay off your mortgage 10 years early, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you can actually buy a house that cheap!

  61. Tamara Anderson says:

    CONGRATS!
    That is a huge accomplishment, and you should have nothing but pure pride and joy in not only being able to do this, but learning to live within your means and be HAPPY!!! Not many people in this world can say that! This was VERY inspiring…and I have set a few goals myself for this new year, in terms of reducing debt! Thank you for sharing!

  62. Amazing!! I love this!! I really do! And oh how I wish my husband and I had those same goals (well we did I suppose but didn’t implement correctly ;) ) when we were your age!
    Fabulous post Kelly…and congrats to you and your husband on a job well done!
    xo
    Nancy

  63. Ashley says:

    Hi Kelly,
    Thank you so much for posting this! It is so nice to hear about other people who understand saving and what freedom it gives you. My husband and I did the exact same thing, almost. I wanted to stay at home with my kids, and in order to do that we knew we would have to NOT have a mortgage. So, at ages 22 and 24, we sat down and made a plan. All of our student loans were first priority and once we paid them off, we too lived off of one income and simply saved the other one. In our minds it didn’t even exist. We lived in an extremely cheap apartment for 4 years, paid cash for everything, drove two paid off & crappy cars. Then we bought our first house with a tiny loan, paid that off in a year, and about 6 months after the house was paid for, we had our first child. And we were able to just keep living how we were because we were used to just having one income. The most important thing for us was that I get to stay home with my kids, so that was our motivation. I hope that young couples really think about what is going to be most important to them and let that guide their choices. It did stink when everyone else was buying new homes and new cool cars, but now all my friends are jealous that I get to stay home when they have to send their babies to day care. It was totally worth it to me, especially now. Thank you for sharing, and I hope others can read your post and realize that they can do it too!

  64. Katie @ PPS says:

    LOVED this post!!! I love that your happiness isn’t settled in money or “things.” AND, I LOVE that you get to scream I’M DEBT FREE today!!! !!! YAY for Dave Ramsey!!

  65. I saw today’s show and my ears perked up when you said you were a blogger. I was hoping you would say the blog name, because I wanted to read the post that you talked about. Instead I just googled “January 14, 2014 we’re debt free” and found you. You and your husband were awesome and inspiring! Congratulations. We are on baby step #2 and are looking forward to the day when we can drive down to Nashville to scream “We’re DEBT FREE!”.

  66. Jenny B. says:

    Congratulations! That is a wonderful accomplishment! We started Dave Ramsey a few years ago (we used his book Total Money Makeover), and I was amazed at what we were able to pay off. My student loans, which I thought would haunt me all of my days… gone. I always tell people that it doesn’t matter if you think you can do it or not. Just pray about it, and start following the steps. God will make it happen! We’ve been slacking a bit the past year or so, and we really need to get back to being diligent with our budget. Thank you for the encouragement!

  67. Carrie says:

    I love your story. You guys have made some smart, tough choices and God has truly blessed them! I missed the live show today, but was able to find the recording on Dave’s site. You did great. :) Rocky and I have always lived by most of Dave’s teaching, and the only debt we have is our house. We’re slowly working on it – I know you understand the joys of a teacher’s salary! Thanks for sharing your story, both here and on the show today, you inspire us to keep plugging away! (P.S. I can’t wait to hear your review of Dave’s new book! :) )

  68. Wow! Super congratulations on being debt free. I’m inspired.

  69. Stephanie says:

    I knew it was you! I listen to The Dave Ramsey Show via podcast on my commute from Gwinnett to Buckhead every day (yuck!). When I heard more and more of your story, I had a strange feeling it was going to be you. I couldn’t wait to get home to check the computer…and sure enough! WOO HOO and CONGRATS!

    I have been following your blog for a little over a year. I’m not even sure how I found it, but it’s been a joy getting to know you through your posts and your DIYs. I think I was even more compelled to follow along since I live in the Atlanta area. Small world, huh?

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that even though I’m not always commenting, I’m an avid reader, avid fan, and now a SUPER proud of you and your family. My husband and I are on baby step 2, and it’s such an inspiration to see another young family reach the goal. Enjoy living like no one else, you wierdos :)

  70. Mary says:

    Congratulations–what an incredible accomplishment! That is amazing, I can’t imagine how great your family must be feeling right now.

  71. Diana says:

    Love this!! We also paid off our mortgage in about 5 years by doing the “live on one income” thing even though we were both working. Feels amazing to have it done and know we are completely debt free! It’s a nice peace of mind. And now I can fairly easily stay home with our baby and it wasn’t too painful of a drop!

  72. Claire says:

    CONGRATS to you!! My husband and I took the Financial Peace University course last year (thanks to winning the Thrifty Decor Chick giveaway) and have been doing cash envelopes, budgets, the whole 9 yards. We just purchased our first home and can’t wait to pay it off- although I feel like it will take much longer. You are an inspiration!! Thank you for relighting the fire for me to get back on track!

  73. Wow. I am so impressed by you. We’re really good about not going into debt for things like house projects or clothes or other things, but I can’t imagine paying our mortgage off a day sooner than 30 years. Maybe because we JUST got it :) But still… Just, wow.

  74. That is just amazing, Kelly! Congrats to you both for your hard work!
    xo Heidi

  75. Gwen says:

    Oh, my gosh! I’m so happy for you guys! We’ve been fans of Dave’s for years. We’ve managed to get through seminary debt free and stay that way for 10 years. I’m hoping we can work on paying off the mortgage. Talk about the Windows of Heaven opening up and pouring out blessings!!!

  76. Alisa says:

    Kelly!!!! I just watched you guys on the show and I am sosososososo proud of you guys! My husband is also a teacher and we just sat down tonight to reevaluate our debt pay off plan because it does not feel like it’s going quick enough. Seeing you guys on the show made me teary-eyed. We want the same thing for our daughter and it was awesomely encouraging to know you did it on a similar budget. We have been incredibly frustrated lately, and this is just what I needed to hear. CONGRATS!!!

  77. Catherine says:

    As I was reading this, I was thinking “this sounds exactly like Dave Ramsey’s plan!” We just discovered Dave Ramsey and are two months into our debt payoff plan. We have a long road ahead and need all the motivation we can get. So happy you shared this story! Congrats!

  78. Hannah says:

    Kelly, that’s AMAZING!! I came into our marriage 3 years ago with no debt, and I’m so happy that we’ve been able to pay off my husband’s student loans and our car! We (eek!) actually own TWO houses, because my husband was smart to buy a duplex as his starter home and rent out the other side. Circumstances came about that we needed to move, but we now rent out both sides of our first house and that will be fully payed off in 3 years! I’m so excited for that day because we can roll that money into our new house (out of state) to pay it off faster. Sometimes it makes me nervous to have so many “assets” but then I realize that it’s been a blessing to our family and to others. Thanks for the reminder that working hard pays off in a big way and that God will be glorified when we remember that our money is HIS! I also needed this reminder to be a bit stricter with myself on my home decor budget. I have been reading so many blogs lately and have started to just swoon after too many things I can’t afford and I am so thankful for what I already HAVE. Thanks lady :)

  79. So so so excited for you! I’ve realized that I’m totally susceptible to the blogmagazine cycle so since it’s January I’ve been wanted to cut back spending (not an actual issue since I didn’t spend on holiday stuff), and lose weight (also tricky since I’m pregnant).

    Your story is so inspiring, and as someone who gives 10-20% away (and wants to always make more to give more), I’m so happy that you and Andy are on that path!

    Jessica

  80. Elena says:

    Kudos to you both! Not only are you smart and wise to do this for you and your kiddos, you are also blessed with a GREAT marriage to work in sync towords solid common goals -enjoy and cherish! Great lesson for all married couples- thank you for sharing!

  81. Jamie says:

    My first comment! But I couldn’t not say how amazing this is!!! We started Dave’s plan 2 months ago and have a student loan that will be paid off with my husbands summer work over two years. And then to attack that mortgage!! I don’t want the shiny new cars! It’s nice to allow a few things each month! Thank God for Goodwill ;)
    Anyway, congrats and you are my inspiration!!

  82. Awesome job guys!! What an inspiration! We are almost there for everything but the house debt, but given our area, it is okay and we are fine with it. Enjoy it and continue to be an inspiration.

  83. CONGRATS TO YOU! The hubs has been trying to get me to read Ramseys book… and I think you actually motivated me to pick it up! I love reading a success story! Good luck to you in your debt free future!

  84. Jessica says:

    OK, I *loved* your blog the moment I happened upon it. I spent two weeks reading *every single post* and then I forced myself to stop. Like as if I was sane.

    I happen to be a huge Dave Ramsey fan, and listening to his podcasts is pretty much my version of an educational soap opera that I listen to while washing the dishes.

    I am *so excited* that you are a Dave Ramsey fan, too. Didn’t know how I could love your blog more, but you found a way!

    CONGRATULATIONS on being debt free, including the house. You rock!!!

  85. Whoo hoo! Kelly and Andy, I’m thrilled for you guys! Mark hopped on the Dave Ramsey train about mid-way through the year last year and after listening to just a few of his podcasts, I was on board, too! It helped spur us on to pay off my student loans faster, so we’re debt free now, too! (Although we’re renters, so the whole mortgage thing has yet to happen.) But we’re really putting away as much as we can right now so we have a nice chunk of change for when we DO find that home of our dreams to put a down-payment on. We’re content with our clunker cars and working on a budget to follow this year. Anyway, it’s super inspiring to hear a story like yours…and you can bet I’ll be tuning in on Tuesday to hear that debt free scream! (We sometimes joke that some of them are so awkward if they don’t yet with their full voice, so really go for it, guys! Let the vocal chords reverberate!) “Freeeeeeeedom!!!!”

  86. What an amazing and truly inspiring story Kelly. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment. This is exactly what prompted my want to downsize our home. Financial freedom. Thank you so much for sharing this. Its just another testimonial to what it could feel like reach this goal one day:)

  87. Jenna says:

    I just completed Dave Ramsey’s The Legacy Journey. You absolutely have to get it. It’s designed exactly for people like you. “We did it; now what?” I promise he will not disappoint. Such a great series. In my opinion, better than FPU.

  88. Laura says:

    I heard your debt-free scream on Dave Ramsey’s radio show yesterday and when you said you were a blogger I just knew I had to come find your blog. Congratulations on becoming debt free! Enjoy doing anything you want now that you don’t have any payments. Being able to give is such a fun experience.

  89. Kelly! I love this. This was the motivating post I needed. We’ve taken Dave twice, and have the dream of me having the option to decide if I want to stay home with our kids or not (whenever we have them), and have just begun our debt paying process. If we are able to stick to goal we should have all our commercial debt, including cars paid off this year! My husband is a teacher too, and he drives a beat up minivan we got for free. I loved everything you wrote. So cool. Congrats girl! :D

  90. Natalie says:

    AMAZING!! I’m inspired! Could you tell us how you started- what you paid off first, etc.? It seems so daunting when there are so many bills. We don’t have credit card debt but where do we go from there? Canceling cable today!!
    Thanks!!!

    • Kelly says:

      Thank you so much! I really like Dave Ramsey’s debt pay-off plan. He sets up baby steps, so baby step 1 is to save $1000 emergency fund. Baby step 2 is to pay off all your debts, smallest to largest, except the house. So I would do that. Put them in order of smallest amount to largest, pay as much as you can on the smallest one, and when you pay off the first one, roll over whatever you were paying on that one onto the next one, and keep going until they’re all gone. YOU CAN DO IT! So excited for you guys!

  91. Jaime B. says:

    Hi Kelly!

    I read your blog often but actually got to hear you on the Dave Ramsey show yesterday-YOU ROCK!!! I didn’t even realize it was you at first until I heard you summarizing your story and then confirmed it once I read your blog today! SO proud of you guys for being such an inspiration to everyone! Love your blog, your humor, and your happiness!!!

  92. YAY! I found you! I saw your spot on the Dave Ramsey videocast yesterday and I was yelling at Dave, “Ask her the name of her blog! Ask her the name of her blog!” Arrgh! It took a good deal of googling and searching, but I found you. Congrats on paying off your mortgage. Don’t feel sheepish or embarrassed about letting others know you paid off your mortgage. I wish more “weird” folk would share their stories about being debt-free. Most people in our society think that is not even possible. They need to know it IS…even on a modest income.

    I love another person’s idea (in comments above) about making this a series…maybe you could call it “Frugal Friday” or something like that. Just share different things you have done to help your family make ends meet while paying off your mortgage. These money-saving tips may seem obvious to you, but believe me, there are a lot of people who have never been taught how to live frugally.

    Our family recently relocated cross-country and are currently shopping for a home. We are hoping to find something affordable that we can pay off as quickly as possible. I am looking forward to browsing your blog for inspiration…now that I found it! :-)

  93. angie l says:

    so inspiring! love this! we just finished dave baby step of paying off all debt (note:we do not own a home). while it feels good, it is sometimes overwhelming to continue. this was just the push i needed to keep living like nobody now so we can live and give like nobody later!

  94. Bliss says:

    A page out of my book dear Kelly. And let me just say one of the truest things ever said is written in your post… “If you can’t be content having little, you won’t be content having more”.

  95. Super inspirational post! I love living debt free. It’s such a weight off our backs. I can’t wait to have our house paid off, it will be the icing on the cake. You are an amazing example. I’m grateful to know you!

  96. jessica says:

    Kelly,
    Thank you for your story… I have read others and they are so motivating! I have started to so something like this for my family. Im a newly wed and my husband and I both have college debt and we would like to save for a house. I have a plan and I’m trying so hard to stick to it. My husbands job doesn’t give him a chance to save like mine does and we cannot live on one salary at the moment but that’s the goal. Baby steps… and hopefully this will all be achieved before the babies come along. We are waiting so that one day we can give our childen a good home environment. . And not worrying about bills and making ends meet all the time. Thank you again! You have reignited the fire in my motivation!

  97. Marty Walden says:

    Oh, Kelly, what a beautiful and heartfelt post! I love it! Your blog is way more than just a good DIY project. It’s your life lived out loving and influencing others for God. There is no greater blessing! Your point about contentment is spot on. When you’re where God wants you it doesn’t matter if you have nothing. That peace transcends all! Doesn’t mean it’s not hard, but those memories shared together are the building blocks of your life.

    My oldest is now 25 and married. I have a son in college getting ready to get married at 21. I have two adopted children in 9th grade, and I’ve homeschooled for 20 years. In some ways it has passed in a blink! I started blogging to share our adoption story with all its heartbreak and miracles and have ended up as a DIY blogger in a different season of life. At the heart of it all for me is to encourage moms especially to embrace the life they’ve been given and to be CONTENT with little or much. Thanks for your transparency!

    And by the way, I’d love to use Andy but he’s requiring 300k pageviews :( Congrats on his new business as it seems like he’s hit a homerun!

  98. Desiree says:

    I am really glad I ran into this! My husband and I just bought our second home after trying to sell the first one (which is a trailer) for three years. We were having our fourth child and I don’t think I could have lived in that 1200 square foot home and kept my sanity with a family of six. However now after buying a new car to accommodate the family and the medical bills we acquired with our new addition I have been feeling like we are suffocating in debt. Although my husband and I already both full time and now live very modestly while we try to get out of this debt, this has inspired me to concentrate all extra money solely on our mortgage!

  99. I am so happy and proud for you! We too did Dave Ramsey when we were newly engaged and we’ve been on this same journey ever since. We’re also hoping to be debt free by my 30th birthday!!! 4 years and counting…that’s why we keep selling houses :) So proud of y’all and I totally agree with everything you said…we’re much further back in the process, but it brings us together in unbelievable ways. It feels good to have a plan and be on a journey for our family :) Can’t wait to hear what comes next!!!

  100. You two are such an inspiration! So many great tips for anyone, but I think the bottom line is living below your means and always being able to pay for what you buy. (Sort of two sides to the same coin.) Ryan and I have always been adamant about paying cash for renovations and rental properties. We may not have been able to do everything out of House Beautiful, but it was truly beautiful being able to afford our homes.

    I love that you touched on how much home you could afford vs. how much the bank said you could afford. It’s crazy to watch shows like House Hunters where the people go OVER what the bank said they could afford. Just makes me shake my head.

    You guys are awesome and so smart. I know you’ll inspire others through this post!

  101. I give you the highest of fives! That is AMAZING. We totally don’t save as much as we could, but we’re working on building up a more substantial nest egg. Thanks for the inspiration!

  102. CONGRATULATIONS!!! No debt? No mortgage? How exciting!!! I’m so happy for you guys!!! :D

  103. Bree says:

    KELLY!!!!! WOOHOO!!!! I was so excited seeing you guys on there. I can’t believe how much Weston has grown since we just saw you in March, but hello- Carys is huge now too. I totally got teary excited for you guys when you got to yell out that you were debt free. What an awesome amazing thing!! You guys rock hard core.

  104. Woohoo! That is amazing! Well done! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. And randomly, I happen to know a lawyer who has increased his giving by a percent every year and is over 50% now. Hmmm…wonder if it’s the same person you met! :) Congrats!

  105. Brittney says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for this post! I’m totally lost when it comes to budgeting and staying on track. I’m definitely going to check out David Ramsey. Thanks again for the recommendation :))))

  106. Loved hearing your story! I think it’s amazing that your finances were driven by what you wanted…not wanted materially but what you wanted at a more significant level — to be able to stay home with your kids, to be able to give more, and to be able to be on the same page.

  107. Absolutely incredible Kelly (and Andy)!!! I’m so excited for y’all! What an exhilarating accomplishment and a wonderful example for all of us. It’s so inspiring because it was done without a huge lump sum of money or a drastic change in lifestyle. It was simply your choice and dedication…also a ton of hard work I’m sure!!

  108. Tara says:

    Wow! What an amazing achievement Kelly! Congratulations! What a feeling, huh?!? You 2 are role models!!

  109. Wow, wow, wow–congratulations. I just learned of Dave Ramsey last month! Isn’t it funny how that happens. No coincidence here, Im sure. We lost everything but our house when the bottom fell out and my husband lost his job 5 years ago. We are nearly 60 with no retirement funds left because we used it to save our home. This is the first time in years that I have felt hopeful and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Im so happy for you and your family!
    Karen

  110. Praise God! The sacrifice has a sweet reward; hope we are there someday. We’ve been through half a dozen hand-me-down cars and couponed a 3 year stockpile of deodorant, but I would love to pay off my mortgage!!

  111. Amy Anderson says:

    That is amazing! Congratulations! My favorite part of the post is Andy’s purple car. That’s hilarious! Also I do love that you said you aren’t happier. Sometimes I miss the days of struggling actually – eating ramen noodles. It was simpler and I appreciated things more :D

  112. Bob says:

    We are so Proud of you both! I was really impressed with the comments you made about giving. Most people who start to get money stop giving it away which is a huge mistake. We have been lucky to have Bob giving away money to people who use it to improve themselves and in turn they become Bobs themselves. Bob’s giving has made us financially wealthy but that is nothing compared to the spiritual wealth we share. Bob is still alive and giving (and he has a new jet).

  113. Hollie says:

    So crazy, My husband I were listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show and heard you guys. We are also “weird” people who don’t have any debt (besides the house) and pay cash for our cars and everything else. We too have driven horrible ugly cars at one time. ;) We are working towards the same goal of paying off the mortgage. We thought you guys sounded so fun and it was nice to relate to someone, even total strangers. Anyway, I totally happened upon your blog from Pinterest tonight and realized this story sounded familiar. Congrats to you guys! That is awesome!! Love your pictures of your home as well, it is beautiful. Very much my style. I’m excited to follow along from now on. :)

  114. Wow Kelly! I am so inspired. I was listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast, and when you guys came on my ears perked up! We just bought our first house and have dreams of paying it off by the time we are 30, and I also started a blog last year and hope to someday turn into a paying gig (www.allpreciousandpleasant.com). When you said you were a blogger, I quickly did some googling and when I realized it was a blog I already follow, I thought “hey I know those people!”

    So excited for you. So inspired. Thank you for sharing!

  115. Leah says:

    Thaaaaaaaaaaaank you for sharing this!!!!! My husband and I have always been “ok” with spending, and we have long been listeners and fans of Dave Ramsey…without ever taking his advice too seriously (I mean, c’mon, beans and rice versus eating out?) But a few days ago, we decided “YES, it IS worth it.” We just started working on our budget and are excited about the changes. We are starting the debt snowball now, and part of our motivation is the fact that right now, we can’t afford a stay-at-home parent. Although we don’t have kids (yet), I really hope to be a homemaker one day. Debt-free freedom will help us get there. THANK YOU for sharing!!!

  116. Sooo excited for you! That’s beyond huge!!

  117. Nicole says:

    Congratulations on such a great accomplishment. I am also a big fan of Dave Ramsey. Someone from our church gave my husband and I the “Total Money Makeover” book as a wedding gift and I read it in about a week – seriously one of the best gifts newlyweds can receive.

    Your goal (and the reasons behind it) is exactly what I dreamt to do when we first got married a 1.5 years ago. We are currently working on paying of student loans, which should be all gone this summer. We are currently not doing the 1 income thing, but your post has re-inspired me to do so come summer.

    Again, thank you so much for posting this message. I know it’s not easy living like no one else. I feel like I’m in a constant struggle between making the sacrifices for what I want in the long run (doing what you did) and wanting to keep up with the Joneses. Your post reminds me that it CAN be done and it IS worth it. Again, congratulations and enjoy your newfound debt-free freedom!

  118. This is so inspiring. We are living this right now and it’s nice to see someone who has accomplished it! Sacrifice is definitely a word that comes to mind a lot. We have been thrown quite a few curve balls along the way…unexpected surgeries and health issues, but God has always provided for our needs and even sometimes wants in some really surprising ways. Thanks for being so candid about it. I hope we can be mortgage free soon! 4 years to go, but hopefully sooner! xo Kristin

  119. Helen says:

    I’m so inspired! Thank you for sharing! My husband and I are a condo now but we want to get into a house (that’s less than what we can afford) and have it paid off quickly. I listen to Dave Ramsey every day at work and I just heard your debt-free scream today!
    SO excited for you and your family!

  120. Shannon says:

    Wow, way to go Kelly and Andy!!!!

    I read your post early Tuesday morning and rushed off to tell my husband about it. He was also so excited for you and even tuned us into Dave’s show to see if we could catch you live. We also follow Dave’s plan and are currently debt-free BUT have not yet purchased a house (eek!).

    Your post is such a blessing and I hope that we are in the same place when I turn 30. It is so inspiring to hear from two people who have made it happen!! Thank you so much for sharing! You go girl!!!

  121. Erin says:

    Congratulations!! You should not feel worried that this is bragging at all. I wish people would talk MORE about money. Why aren’t we allowed to disclose our situations and strategies to each other? One of our friends confessed that they “weren’t able” to save anything while their kids were in day care. (They are “gadget people” and couldn’t fathom not having the latest and greatest everything.) When my husband told them that we were still saving like mad every month with the same basic income and day care expenses, they rethought that strategy and decided to readjust their budget so they could keep saving. If that conversation hadn’t taken place, they might have gone YEARS without saving a dime! I think money talk could be a little healthy competition between people. What percentage of your income do you spend/save/invest, etc.? Everyone’s so afraid of offending other people, but we all really need a kick in the pants, according to the studies on what people have saved for retirement.

    • Shauna says:

      THIS! And also, for people who are good at money stuff to share with people who aren’t good at it– so helpful!!

  122. Lauren says:

    Kelly – I am SO excited for you! My husband just quit his job to come and work with me on my blog too! We are only $50,000 K away from having our house paid off too!!!

  123. Such an inspiration! We’ve been trudging along, using the same techniques as you guys. Unfortunately decent homes can be expensive in our area in California so it’s taking us more time. However it’s so nice to read your success story for motivation when the budget is tight! I’ve already book marked your post for future reading! Great job guys! Looking forward to more posts.

  124. Allison says:

    We are currently working our debt snowball and can’t wait to work our way up to paying off our house. I bet it feels amazing. Great work!

  125. Stacey says:

    This is so wonderful! Made me tear up a little, and is totally motivating. I just turned 30, and its just me and my husband right now. We got married 3 years ago (I was married before and came out of that about $15,000 in debt- worked 2 jobs for 2 years to pay that off before I got remarried) Since then, we have paid off my car, all of our student loans, and any random credit card debt. All we have left is our mortgage and a car. I think we can totally knock those out by the time I’m 35, right?!
    Thanks for sharing and congrats!!

  126. Congrats! That is so amazing Kelly! We are working on paying off our student loans now so they can be gone before we start a family. It’s no easy task, that’s for sure!

  127. Nicole says:

    I bet that was a great feeling to finally have your house paid. Congrats.

  128. AMAZING! When I paid off my car this year, I felt like a big deal, but this is HUGE. I’m knocking away the credit card debt and then will be focusing more on the house. I’ve considered refinancing into a 15 year mortgage, but there’s a move to FL slightly on the horizon, so I’m not so sure that’s the right move. I’ll have to look into what Ramsey might say about that!

  129. Congrats! We’re about 2 years out. Pesky $100,000 in pharmacy school loans didn’t help our cause. (This is why the world has pharmacists. We can’t quit until we pay off our student loans. :P) And I have to keep talking Nate out of new cars. I shared this with him and he actually mentioned the car thing. (Thanks, friend! :))

    It makes me sad for blogland that you were hesitant to post this. There is so much “stuff” and look at my “new” and that’s totally okay. But Kelly paid off her mortgage. How braggy. Blogland needs more of this and not “how i got out of credit car debt used to buy restoration hardware couches and anthropologie curtains”. Rant over.

  130. Kindra S. says:

    My husband and I are trying to pay off all, or at least most, of our debt this year. We have credit cards, medical bills, our mortgage and student loans. Our plan is to pay off all but the student loan and mortgage. Then all that extra money will be put towards the student loan and mortgage. My husband works 2 full time jobs and it’s very hard. I miss him and so does our daughter. But we know it will be worth it in the end. We also have cars that need fixing and some home repairs that need to be done. I recently started working again so now that we have 3 incomes, it should help. It’s good to hear from your story that it’s all worth it in the end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  131. Twila says:

    Ok, I don’t want to be a kill joy here, and I am super happy for people who do this. :) Really, I am….it’s my dream!! But I would really like to know what kind of income people who post blogs like this, have?
    My husband and I and our two kids live off of $28,000-30,000 a year. He was in online college for 6+ years, part time, so we have a college loan to finish paying. We don’t own our own home, but neither are we paying rent. We are involved in prison ministry, so we get a house with the ministry. Even so, we can’t seem to get ahead! :P (We did volunteer prison ministry for 2 years, living off of support from our church and family and friends, which pretty much depleted any savings we had)
    I read posts like this and wonder if this could ever be us, a one-income family. We don’t even have $$ for a down payment on a house at this point!
    You probably don’t want to post something so private for the world to read, but I’m curious…..can people who make $30,000 a year do this too? ;)

    • Twila says:

      I should say, the house we are living in is a ministry house….not one given to us! ;) We will have to move out of it someday!

      • Kelly says:

        I do think you can do it on an income of $30,000. Dave Ramsey has some really good baby steps that will give you a solid plan to get ahead: http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/. And I STRONGLY recommend his book “Total Money Makeover” to get started. With an income of $30,000, you’ll just need to be smart about how much house you buy when you do, don’t buy unless the payments are less than 1/4 of your take-home pay and you can do it on a 15-year mortgage, AND you have 20% to put down. There’s no rush to own; there’s a lot of wisdom in renting in a lot of situations, especially if you still have other debt. You’ll just need to be very careful with every dollar, but you CAN do it. :) Even during the time that I was staying home with the kids and not working at all, I still found ways to bring in a little bit of side income, and that helped a TON.

        • Twila says:

          Thanks for taking the time to reply! :) And for the advice! I would like to find something to help bring in some income, just have to keep looking!

  132. Amy says:

    Congrats!!! That Is So Awesome. I’m finally Buckling Down On My Budget. Reading Your Post Inspires Me That I Should Do Better. Thank You For Sharing.

  133. Lisa says:

    Congratulations Kelly & Andy!! What an awesome goal to have achieved!!!! I’m so excited for you, and I think it’s GREAT that you shared your story here!!

    • Taylor says:

      Hi! I’m not exactly in the same place as the blogger, but I feel like you and I are similar. My husband makes $32000, and i will be making about $20000 this year for the first time, after making about nothing last year. We have no children. So here is what our situation looks like: my money goes to my substantial student loan debt. This way, we are able to already “live” off just his income, so when my debt goes away, so will my need for income (meaning I can stay home while our future children are small). We bought a house and pay about $450/mth – cheaper than renting! We live so frugally. You have to cut everything, then cut some more. No cable. Cook almost every meal. $25/mth for eating out. Line dry clothes. My husband does powerlifting, consuming about 4000 calories a day, mostly meat, and we spend $200/mth on groceries (I’m estimating his food alone equals one “normal” man and two young children). You CAN do it, you just have to live as though you have no other choice. If spending is a problem for you, cut up all credit cards immediately. I know the road seems so long…trust me, it still does for us too. Our home will likely not be paid off early. But we keep going because we know our goals are so important to us. Anyway, just wanted to hopefully encourage you, as a fellow $30k-er. Good luck!

  134. Alicia W. says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!! My hubby and I are planning to do what you guys have done when we buy a house and this is soo helpful to preparing us for what we need to do before during and after… Not to mention how encouraging it is to us to know that there are other people out there who can understand how we do and will treat our finances. Thank you.

  135. Samm Castro says:

    I just heard your debt free scream on Dave’s podcast and just HAD to come find your blog! You guys are so inspiring! Awesome job!

    Also, you didn’t sound nervous at all during the interview! :)

  136. You have no idea how deeply this story has touched me…. We are currently working on our debt and also follow Dave Ramsey. I can’t wait for the day when we can do the “We’re Debt Free” scream. Kuddos to you too, and keep up the good work.

  137. M says:

    Congrats!! Unfortunately there are major factors in this equation that make this impossible in certain parts of the country.

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks! I respectfully disagree that it’s impossible. :) There are places where houses are much more expensive. We lived in some of those places while we were renting and before we moved where we are now. If we’d stayed there, we would’ve done the same thing, but it would’ve taken us a little longer to buy to save up the right down payment, and we would’ve bought a smaller, worse house. I really think it can be done anywhere if you’re willing to make (a lot of) sacrifices. :)

      • tram says:

        We bought prob the second to worst home we saw, during the pits of the recession, meaning we got a great deal. My husband and I together make an ok income. We did 20% down, and monthly mortgage stands at 380k. Did I mention we bought a bank owned home that hadn’t been lived in for a year? Then proceeded to renovate everything ourselves? Followed shortly after by baby #1? Phew! Really hope to accomplish what you have, even in somewhat different circumstances.

  138. Amy says:

    You both did GREAT in the interview! And the magical, incredible yellow highlighter did it’s job!! I’m so happy for you both!!!!!!! :D

  139. Anabel says:

    Congratulations!!! This is awesome!!! This literally brought tears of joy to my eyes!! I am married and have an 8month old. When i became pregnant with my son my husband and i sat down to talk about not just our future but the future we wanted for our son. It was then that we decided he would quit his job and go to school full time. (He had been attending part time) Talk about crazy! Everyone thought it was the craziest thing to do with a lil one on the way. Its been hard. Our budget has been tight but we are happy “looking in the darkest corners of our pantry” for food at the end of them month so i can definitely relate. His goal is to become a dentist. He should be starting Dental school next semester and i know that will be hard to finance but we plan on doing it with cash. We live in miami so our rent is soooo high! :( We have been looking to buy a home since a mortgage payment would be about the same as our apartments rent! We havent been so luck in that department :( But when we do hopefully we can pay it off in 5years too!! Just wanted to let you know what a huge inspiration this just brought me! Thank you for writing such an awesome blog! Best wishes and God bless!!

  140. Kim says:

    Ahhhhh!!!!! That is SO exciting! Congratulations!!! My husband and I are inching further and further into our 30s (ok, really only 32 and 34 this year, but you know…) and nowhere NEAR paying down all of our debt from student loans. I’m printing this post and totally sharing it with him! I’ve been following Dave Ramsey’s principles since 2008, and now that my husband is on board (he financed like all of his 20s on student loans for his Ph.D.) we’re finally starting to see progress, but we still have a mountain ahead of us. A mountain. Thank God He’s big enough to handle it.

    Also, I’m moving where you live because that house is like $2.7 million in my neck of the woods! I will swap you our overpriced and tiny NYC apartment anytime.

  141. Linzy says:

    While I think that what you have done is absolutely wonderful, I also think it is important to realize that no one seems to have addressed actual numbers (but correct me if I am wrong.) Different places in our world cost vastly different sums of money, and the work available to those who live there might not match up at all. Sometimes I get really discouraged because I live in the size house that most people would “downsize” into to pay off their mortgage in shorter time, but i have a 30 year mortgage and real estate is NOT cheap ’round these parts. And while actually small compared to all the real estate around me, and even cheaper than some of the crappy apartments my friends rent (single bedroom, no utilities, no back yard… yeah, this city is nuts), my mortgage is not that small. And compared to our incomes, well, most people would think we were over-reaching (but again, even if we were renters we would be paying MORE.) So when I hear about so-and-so paying off their mortgage in 5-10 years, I sort of want to cry. But I was never raised in a family with any money to spare, and my husband was brought up more comfortably, but sensibly. We are smart and thrifty with what we spend, and some day when this house is paid off it will feel so good, and I am sure our investment will have increased because we have put a lot of sweat into this place. But I just wanted to insert a friendly reminder to those who are trying SO HARD and are still not able to get where others are, even with smaller goals and smaller houses: anything you can do will matter in the long run. Even if you won’t be debt free by x time.

  142. Mackenzie says:

    I love this post! I would also love to see a series, my fiancé and I are finishing up college soon and looking to get married, as well as move out of state so this is great to see before we buy a house or save for one. It would be great to see a worksheet with each of the sections you allotted money for each month, (ex. Food, insurance, charity etc.) I’m not sure where to start or really what is a good amount say for food per month for two people. Hearing a little more about how you went about your budgeting would be great!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks Mackenzie! I’ll try to think about how we can share a budget breakdown of how much we spent for each thing. I will say that it’s really hard to know what’s the right amount for anything. You kind of just have to guess at first, then readjust throughout the month as you find out you way under-planned for groceries or over-budgeted for gas or something. It takes about 2-3 months to really work through it all and nail down the right allocations, so be patient with yourself and just expect to make mistakes until you figure it out. :) HUGE congrats on getting married and graduating! (We did the same thing — got married, then graduated, then moved out of state immediately.) Good luck to you both! SUPER exciting times ahead!

  143. Anneke says:

    Congratulations you guys! That is an amazing accomplishment and you now HAVE to tell people about it!!! It’s awesome!!!!!!

  144. WOOHOO!! So so proud of you guys! What an amazing story and what an incredible journey of hard work and dedication. My hubby and I have been on the DR plan since we’ve been married and are debt free except for our home. We live on a teacher’s salary and my blogging, so you know how that goes. :) We have a long way to go, though! But reading stories like this gives me hope that one day we’ll get there. So glad you shared!

  145. Kelly,

    Everything you said resonates in my heart! I came across your blog because of seeing you guys on Dave Ramsey’s Instagram. Love, love, love this and now following along! I especially love what you said about not being happier now, and raising the percentages that you give. Years ago we heard of a successful banker who lives off of 10% of his income and gives everything else away…so amazing! We live life just like you guys and are attempting to pay off our house as soon as possible. Thanks for inspiring so many!

    ~Sarah

  146. Maggie says:

    You are SUCH an inspiration! Ever since I found your blog I have been glued to it- going back to the very first post and working my way to your most current one. I’m 18 and you make me so very VERY excited for my future. I don’t know what I want to do when I’m grown, but I do know I want to live a lot like you do when that time comes. Your relationship with God is so inspirational and the way you speak about it reminds me there are still people out there who appreciate and live in their faith and inspire others through it. Also, the relationship you have with your husband; someday I hope that I meet a man who is just as supportive and fantastic as yours, because he really does seem to be a fantastic person. I realize that your blog is a simple snippet of your life and as readers we don’t see your whole life, but from what I do see, you have made a series of decisions that have lead you to the place you are currently in, and it just seems like you are living the dream. You are an exceptional example and your children are so blessed to have you and your husband as parents. Thank you for writing this blog and for everything you do, and congratulations on becoming debt free! I listen to Dave Ramsey all the time and I defiantly plan on using his guidelines in the future!

  147. Diane says:

    I enjoyed reading your story just now. We are faced with student loan debt and I’m hoping to pay it off in around 5-8 years. I”m just beginning to work on a budget. Dave Ramsey is one of my goals to either purchase his book or find a class to learn his technique. Clearly its not the budget part that is hard its getting started that is hard. lol. Congrats on paying off your house.

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks Diane! The Total Money Makeover book was a huge help to us. I know a lot of people love the Financial Peace University class, but if your hurdle is getting started (and I hear ya on that!!) it might be easiest to just grab the book to get you going. :) Congrats on working off those student loans and thanks so much for the comment!

  148. Pia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, your family is such an inspiration. I just recently moved here from Germany to be married to my wonderful husband and we are doing the living on one income to safe for a house down payment as well. I think more people should live like this instead of maxing out credit cards after credit cards…I feel like in Germany less people are in dept because it is not possible to max out your credit in that way. Way to go and I love how this made you have a better marriage even though saving money is usually what splits couples. I wish you the best of luck for your future with warmest regards from Ohio

  149. Holly Martinez says:

    I love this. SO. MUCH. You’ve inspired me, Kelly and Andy! As soon as I read this (I just watched the video today), I grabbed my notebook and started writing a budget furiously. I had always been discouraged because we don’t make much at all, I have student loans, I want to stay home with future babies, and we rent, we haven’t even bought a house! But God really knew what He was doing! I started watching Dave Ramsey’s DVDs (whom I had never listened to before) the day before your post came out. What??! Not a coincidence! And I read your post and I knew that we could do it. We could eat, be clothed, have a roof over our heads, decorate (the least well-known physical necessity) and still do everything we loved while saving and paying off debt! Thanks for sharing! You have inspired me and my husband. So grateful!

  150. Molly says:

    I am so blown away by all of your responses, so I don’t know if you will even read this! I must say, I have never responded to something like this, but I feel compelled to let you know that you have TRULY touched me today! I honestly had a few tears (all while smiling…?) as I read “That one time we paid off our house.” My husband and I have been married for 6 months, all while following ALL of the ideas/plans/advice you have given to become debt free and pay off your house in 5 years (this is our goal too!!). I suppose the “happy tears” I had came as relief that we CAN do this and that we are on the right track, no matter how hard it may be :) Seriously, we live in a house that is attached to my dad’s business – a funeral home. Yes, totally “My Girl” style. It’s hard. Everyone thinks we’re crazy – we CAN afford to buy a house and news cars etc. but we don’t…We WILL save enough in order to pay our (someday) house within 5 years as well! Also, thank you for the “I’m not happier now” piece. This absolutely matched the message at church last week about being “satisfied” and “content.” I think that is SUCH a huge piece to all of this. I’m rambling…I guess I just wanted to say thank you for your words – you gave me hope today that we CAN and WILL do this. You guys are inspiring!

  151. Sarah says:

    Just happened along this post from pinterest, but I feel so proud of you! You’re so wierd!!! Lol. I LOVE Dave Ramsey and all of his ideas, but in my marriage I’m the only “Weird” one. Slowly but surely I’m convincing my husband that debt free is the way to be. I’ve got him on a budget at last, baby steps for sure. Way to go, it’s got to be an incredible feeling to have accomplished what you set out to do.

  152. Jordan says:

    Wonderful to read your success story! And I absolutely agree it can be done anywhere, you just have to adjust your sacrifices and timeline accordingly.
    We did FPU for years in the US when my husband was a minister. Now we’re missionaries in Scotland and still apply those same budgeting strategies!

  153. Loved the video, love the tips, that’s awesome!!! We have always been adamant about paying cash for our cars, never had any debt except school loans and our home. Loans are almost all paid off, I’d love to look at turning my income into paying off the house. Thanks for the inspiration!

  154. Kelli says:

    Thank you for writing this….it really makes me want stick to the budget we have made in are house for that same goal(s) you had. Don’t feel bad for writing it, but more used by God to help others!!!

  155. Congratulations! That is awesome…My husband and I have not done a Dave Ramsey budget but we have some of the same concepts. I wonder, where do you live? I mean the state or area? We live in Los Angeles, where the median price of a home is $500,000 {and that’s for a teeny-tiny house} so to pay off a home would be AMAZING! I would love to accomplish that…

  156. Grace says:

    Congratulations! Your journey is so exciting and inspiring! I’m curious what kind of home improvements you did along the way? My husband and I just purchased our first home and are wanting to change/add a few things but not wanting to go into further debt to do so

  157. Maggie says:

    I just heard you on the Dave Ramsey show from last week and googled you to find your blog. Congrats on becoming debt free! My husband and I just really started the program in November and just paid off our first credit card. We were so excited when I logged on today and saw a big fat 0$. We still have another small credit card and small truck loan to go…then on to tackle the massive student loan. We are starting to try for a baby and i would love some advice on how your payoff worked/changed for you when you brought a little one into the picture. I am very frugal and am a believer that babies dont need a lot of “stuff” so I dont picture us really breaking the bank by bringing a baby into the picture. My mother in law will be watching the little one so we wont have to pay for daycare. I would love some advice. I feel like we are on ball with paying down our debt and im just afraid of it slowing down when we have a baby. Thanks and congrats to your family!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks for finding me and congrats on paying off your credit card! WOOHOO!! That is super exciting. You guys have momentum and will be knocking out all that debt before you know it. You’re absolutely right about babies not needing much stuff. I breastfed, so we didn’t need any food for the first six months of their life, and we used cloth diapers (more info on how we did that here: http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2013/02/cloth-diapering-101/)… So our costs for the babies were pretty minimal — mostly just the hospital bills left over after insurance, and a few of the baby gadgets that we didn’t get from showers, but we mostly bought those used.

      My advice would be to just go for it, if the speed of the debt snowball is your only concern. Babies are awesome. :) You’ll find ways to cut costs, and the joy of the baby will outweigh any small financial pitfalls. :)

  158. Leanne says:

    Kelly
    First….congrads!!!! Second….Your blog is fabulous!!! What an inspiration you are to other young couples. Your efforts were great and worthwhile. TFS….

    My hubby and I are twice your age but have managed to own two different homes debt free, as well. Ten years ago when we bought our first house with cash and no mortgage we were thrilled.

    We recently moved again and managed to be mortgage free the second time. When we were young and raising our two children we never imagined we would or could own our home someday. But like you we were both working making average money and never overspent and watched our pennies. We were lucky when selling several of our past homes and each time to be able to have equity built up from them and we re-used that equity wisely. It paid off.
    Much success to you and your family in the coming years.
    Leanne

  159. Traci says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this! I read this with tears streaming down my face! My husband and I are VERY familiar with Dave Ramsey! Several years ago we paid off $20,000 in credit card debt and sold our car and bought an old van. It felt so good…but it stopped there. My husband and I have $200,000 in student loans. It’s so much money it’s like a noose around our necks. We’re starting the process all over again. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming. It FEELS impossible…but I know it’s possible and it’s going to be soooo worth it! Thank you for sharing your story! This gives me SO MUCH HOPE!!!!

    • Kelly says:

      God is totally big enough! The debt feels insurmountable and overwhelming, but you guys can do this! It’s hard and it’ll take lots of work, but figure out what motivates you, and do that a LOT. (For us, it was talking a lot about what the end goal would feel like, what we would do when we didn’t have any more debt, and really visualizing it together.) Just think how amazing you’ll feel when you get to the other side. I’m so excited for you. You can totally do it. <3 Best wishes!

  160. mckenna says:

    Thats really awesome, but i have to say i am extremly jealous as right now i am renting not working and livibg on one income with thoudands of debt. And the only thing i can do right now is file for bankruptcy and im only 23! I so do not want to do it but i dont know what otherchoice i have. When my son was born with a disability i gave back my car and couldbt keep up on any payments.
    I eish i had your smarts and rescources to get out of that. Thank you for sharing though.

    • Kelly says:

      I just had to write back and give you some encouragement! You’re in a tough spot, but it’s not all bad. Renting is exactly where you should be right now, and there’s a lot of wisdom in that. (We rented for a LONG time before we bought, and I’m SO glad we did!) The Dave Ramsey people do financial coaching, and they would be able to help you through what you’re going through and dig into your situation and help you find some hope. <3 http://www.daveramsey.com/coaching/home/ (I wish I could sit you down over coffee and we could just chat together! But they’lll be able to dig in and find a light at the end of the tunnel for you!)

  161. Beth says:

    Congrats to you!!!! What a fantastic story. We are making our way down this path as well. “Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else.” :)

  162. Yasmina says:

    You guys are inspirational! Seriously! I am proud of you and you definitely should do a happy dance (totally deserve it) ..a lot of us can learn from you guys. Loved the video , didn’t seem nervous to me!

  163. Emily says:

    This is very inspiring!! Anyone reading this can certainly understand the honest, non boasting happiness that shines out from your words. That’s a huge milestone to cross….congratulations!! You guys ought to be very proud!! Thank you so much for putting the time in to write this. Can’t wait to read about the next adventures

  164. Alejandra says:

    Congratulations!! What an inspirational couple you two are! I could not contain my tears of joy while watching the Dave Ramsey recording! Me and my fiance are 22 years old and we have recently heard about Dave Ramsey program and are so excited to start this journey. We are both graduating college this May! Whooooo! So this will be our first year we start earning “grown up money.” Like you mentioned, being on the same page as your partner on setting goals and following through really creates a special bond. Now as we go into entering our careers (him a mechanical engineer, myself a dental hygienist) I cannot wait to enter this stage in our life, ready to take charge of our debt! Thank you again for sharing your inspirational story. I too hope to one day be able to say we paid off our mortgage in 5 years!

  165. Heather says:

    Congrats to you and your family! My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but we were able to pay off our house and pay off his school loans in 3.5 years! We however, still have a two more of my student loans to pay off. (Our house was not as big or expensive as yours though…it isn’t THAT impressive!) We are currently working on renovations…paying cash as we go. I love to hear other success stories of people who are able to get out of debt. Especially young couples…I also love sharing with other younger couples that it IS possible to live differently than the world around them. It isn’t impossible to actually live within your means. We have never been through the Dave Ramsey series but have always heard good things from our friends who have. Once we get out of debt, we are also wanting to look into some investment opportunities. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! God bless you, your family, and your future.

  166. Taner Simoneaux says:

    While I am happy for the couple in this post, I couldn’t imagine living like that. And frankly, I wouldnt want to. My husband and I don’t have any credit cards, or any major debt, but we both have cars in good shape, and we’re happy to just pay off the notes as best we can. Same goes for a house note. If we can pay more some months, we do! If we want to spend our money on other things and pay the minimum, we do that! We dont deny ourselves any vacations, or experiences so that we can pay something off. We just take care of our responsibilites and enjoy our lives together. Never forget that time isnt guaranteed! If the day after you paid off your house you were diagnosed with cancer you wouldnt think ‘oh, im glad the house is paid’ youd just think about all the things you want to experience with the person you love. Anyways, thats just my perspective. We’re saving up 10,000 right now. And that could pay off my car easily, but instead, we’re going to scotland and have an amazing vacation and an experience of a lifetime. And i know people say ‘well after we pay off the house we will do that’ ..but thats tomorrow.. and you know what they say about tomorrow, its NEVER guaranteed!!

  167. Bewildered says:

    Can I just say that I am happy that you all were frugal and payed off your debt…. but that this kind of made me mad. You all had money and having 300 dollars a month to pay for food is not scrounging in the back of the pantry ESPECIALLY when you are cuponing. I just feel very blah at how nonchalantly you had the idea that this would be helpful to people.

    • Jessica says:

      I think you missed the point here. The scrounging at the back of the pantry comes into the picture when you’ve spent the entire $300 that was designated for groceries. It’s the idea of sticking with a budget and getting resourceful when the funds for that category are gone.

      I believe this VERY idea of “stop spending when the money is gone” is super helpful for many people. Ignoring this principle is what gets people into debt. Don’t get mad at someone else’s success just because you (may or may not) have less. Learn and apply these skills to your own life.

  168. Jessi Otey says:

    WOWZA!!! This post made me smile the entire time to the point of my face hurting. I cannot wait to get home and share this with my husband. He is so much better with finances than I am and always has a clear goal in sight. With that said, he is trying to help me get on the same path. We are in the process of trying to get our forever home (3 offers in already and it is a major fixer upper but we are ready for the challenge) we own our home now with a little but left to pay off and we are going to keep it as our first income property to rent out. Your post has really motivated me that much more and I am so thankful that I came across it. Hey by the way….. CONGRATULATIONS YA’LL!!!!!!!!!! Happy weekend!

    xoxo Jess

  169. Benson says:

    I just watched your video and it brought tears to my eyes because I am so happy for you. The fact that you weren’t making $150k a year makes your story relatable. We are almost done paying off both vehicles and then all we have is our house. We also have the goal to pay it off in the next 5 years.
    We have been mocked by family, laughed at, called “cheap” and even “greedy” because we want to live debt free. Others in our church have been very supportive. You guys are proof that it can be done and an inspiration for those of us still in the process. I can’t wait to be able to just give the amount of our house payment to others instead of sending it to the bank! Thank you!

  170. Cassie says:

    This is really inspiring! It is amazing what people realize they can do when they set a budget for themselves. For me, balancing student loan debt, contributing to retirement, and thinking about buying a house is constricting my budget, but thanks for all the extra tips and belief that it is possible! I really love the buy less than you can afford point. Something people rarely think about. It has become such a norm to have a 30 year mortgage these days that people have started to think being in debt is a normal way of life.

  171. Bridget says:

    Congratulations! So inspiring what you have achieved in five years. Really looking forward to your blogs on how you did it :)

    • GOOD FOR YOU MOST PEOPLE DONT KNOW HOW TO SAY NO TO THEMSELVES. THAT IS WHAT YOU DID & THAT IS HOW PEOPLE DID IT WAY BACK WHEN. THAT IS HOW MY FATHER WHO NEVER FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL WAS ABLE TO LEAVE ME A 4 BEDROOM HOUSE & MY SISTER $250,000. BECAUSE HE SAID NO. I AM GOING INTO RETIREMENT WITH THIS HOUSE & A RETIREMENT HOME BOTH PAID FOR FOR & OVER $200,000 IN THE BANK. SO IM DOING OK AT 62 AFTER GOING THRU A DIVORCE & GIVING UP SOME OF MINE.

      • April says:

        Karen, thanks so much for saying that!!!! So true. So encouraging…. No with a period at the end…. hmm… a revolutionary concept, right? :) Let’s go vintage and bring it back!!!!

  172. Jennifer says:

    The only problem is, where I live, you can’t get a fixer upper for under $400,000.

  173. Msjbelle says:

    Very inspiring! I would love to hear more about your husbands business (and maybe become a customer).

  174. Jocelyn says:

    Oh my goodness, I needed this today! We are getting ready to purchase our new home. This post just answers SO many questions I had inside! Thank-you a million times over and CONGRATULATIONS! I bet it feels wonderful. It should!

  175. Nikki says:

    It is my and my husbands DREAM to pay off our house. We just bought a foreclosure and have been fixing it up. Your blog is such an inspiration and we have done a lot of projects that you have and followed your instructions to the “T”. Do you mind me asking how much you bought your house for? We bought ours for $442,000 so I am trying to compare to see if we can pay ours off like you did. Thank you!

  176. Leanna says:

    Kelly! I want to be your friend! I liked your blog before because its so funny and informative and you have great taste (im an architect with a very old house that I too, slowly fix up on a budget) BUT! I also am a Dave Ramsey girl. I listen every day and I became debt free last October (everything but the house, now working on that!) I am just ecstatic to see your post and you spreading the word. keep it up girl, you are truly a blessed!

  177. Jessica says:

    Just saw your debt-free scream and found your blog. Congrats!!! So inspiring and I’m glad you shared your story. My husband and I have paid off credit cards and cars on Dave Ramsey’s plan, and just have some student loans left. We have gotten a little lax, but your post has reignited that desire in me to get them gone!! Thank you and God Bless!!

  178. Stacy says:

    I just watched a debt free scream that Rachel Cruz had posted on Facebook and as I was watching I kept thinking something was very familiar about you and then you talked about your blog and I’m one of your readers (a silent lurker). I’m so excited for you! My husband and I just finished paying off our house in December. It’s amazing. Congrats to you guys!

  179. Lisa E says:

    Wow, seriously awesome and inspiring. Just the kick in the pants I needed to get back on track. Thank you so much for sharing and many congratulations!

  180. Toni says:

    Oh my gosh “WE ARE DEBT FREE” as of today :D We made our final mortgage payment today!! We didn’t do it in 5 years (15.9 yrs for us) but it feels wonderful and we still can’t quite believe we did it. We participated in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and it was just the push we needed to to get serious about it.

    Congratulations to you, your hubby, and your family!!

    God Bless,
    Toni

  181. Amy says:

    This is so inspiring! My fiance and I get married next month (3-23-14) and this week is our first week on our budget. I am only 26 and my goal is to be debt free by the time I turn 33! We only make about 50,000/yr before taxes between the two of us and we have about 100,000 of debt. 98,000 of which is our home. I can’t tell you how much your story gives me hope. Thank you so much for sharing!

  182. Jen C. says:

    Congratulations! I just bought a house 2 years ago. I am single and live alone, so I don’t think I’ll pull your feat off! But I pay extra every month towards the principal, and I pay bi-monthly, which I’m told will help save me 7 years of interest! I had to add a car payment after my last car died! (Which made the insurance go up!) UGH! But I keep it pushing! (Oh yeah, and I own my own business!) You inspire me to push harder! Congrats to you; and THANK YOU!

  183. Amy P. says:

    Congratulations! Your story is inspiring in so many ways. My husband and I have a plan to get out of debt, too. We have a house, two cars, student loans and an entire delivery charge for the birth of our daughter (ins co wouldn’t allow us to add maternity coverage to our policy when we found out we were expecting). After reading your story and tips, I truly have hope that we can do it, too. Thank you so much for telling your story!!

  184. Mindy says:

    Awesome. I also want to pay off our house, but I’m a student and have no income. And I want to go grad school, so that will take more time. We are still renting.

  185. Jake says:

    Awesome news guys and a great read. Can I ask what kind of price range a house like yours is in in the USA? My wife and I have recently bought a 3 bedroom house on a quarter acre block on the outskirts of sydney (35miles from the city) that had no kitchen, needed new floors, some new walls and doors and paint all over for approx $600,000US. That’s about average for prices in Sydney for a house at the moment. I’m also on roughly the same wage as you were and my wife has now stopped working because she’s 8 months pregnant. The average Aussie family has NO chance of paying off they’re property within a few years. We have a 30 year loan..
    One day, just maybe one day before we retire we’ll own this place.

  186. This is awesome! We aren’t going to make it in 5 years but we are working hard to make it in 10!! I recently wrote this post on how people can save over 100k on their mortgage (that banks don’t want you to know about). http://livelikeyouarerich.com/3-secrets-to-save-102533-35-on-your-mortgage/ I would love if you would stop by and tell me what you think. This is amazing 5 Years!! yay!!

  187. Caroline says:

    We are well on our way to a dept free life!! We are living very similar lifestyles. This blog encourages us to continue setting small goals! Thank you so much for the good tips … you guys are an inspiration :)

  188. Jennifer says:

    That’s totally awesome. Way to go!!!

  189. I just stumbled onto your blog today and watched your video. Thank you so much for sharing this experience and congratulations on being debt free. I am definitely motivated!

  190. Stephanie S says:

    Wow! What an inspiration. This is just what I needed to re-energize our attitude (on baby step 2)! Thank you for sharing!!!

  191. Jodi says:

    How do you go about paying as much as you can towards a mortgage while also saving for home repairs such as a new roof? Any advice/suggestions are appreciated.

    • Kelly says:

      We paid off our mortgage while completely redoing our entire house, so I know how that goes. It’s just a matter of prioritizing. Some home projects need to be done urgently, and in those cases you would save for that project as quickly as possible, finish it, then go back to working on the mortgage. Other times, you can save more slowly for a project and just have to wait to finish it until you have the money.

  192. April says:

    Kelly, So awesome…. We are actually 2 months away from paying our house off!!!!! I cannot believe the mix of emotions I have been feeling… I asked my husband, “Should we tell anyone? I don’t want to sound like I am bragging and like you mentioned I know so many who are struggling …. Also, I can understand what you are saying about not being happy afterwards… because contentment is being happy and okay with whatever you circumstance. But, as Dave said you ought to be proud still!!!! Seems there is a line, a balance somewhere in the middle of humility and audacity…. humble and pride … I don’t want to ever come off as a know it all snob!! Ever!! Thanks so much for the encouraging post…. Celebrate!!!

  193. parker says:

    Congratulations I’m going to school for teaching and when I see post about people who are teachers and they’ve paid off their house it gives me joy. I can’t wait to be in your shoes. Congratulations again!

  194. Karen says:

    We paid off our house early, also. I am so proud of/for you guys! The payoff came just in time, too. Not long after my hubby retired, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent mastectomy and recovery and chemo and the whole crappy nine yards. But now (happy dance) I am two years cancer-free. The beauty of this dissertation (Bo-ring!!!) is that I was able to take a leave of absence from my work, and my wonderful husband was able to help me recover, all because of GOD’s grace and mercy, since we did not have that house payment every month! Folks, you can do all the “keeping up” you need, but “things” will NEVER replace financial freedom.

  195. Trish says:

    Hi Kelly,
    What an awesome testimony. When you tell someone of your blessings to help them…then it definitely is not boasting. Just continue to give God the honor and glory for this wonderful blessing. And you are so right…things do not make you happy. I am learning this now…to be content with what God has bless me with. Thanks for sharing your testimony.

  196. Rebecca T says:

    Hello!
    So I actually came across one of your other blogs on Pinterest and just link jumped to this one! And I have to say I actually heard your debt free scream live on Dave Ramsey’s radio show me and my husband are big fans currently in baby step 2 and will be debt free ourselves before the end of this year, and your story when I heard it at work a while ago was so inspiring to me and my husband, we are young and ready to pay off my car and start saving for our house and future kids and your example for the kind of future we are wanting has been such a motivator for us! Just wanted to say that and I am continuing to read your motivating blogs! <3

  197. Jacque says:

    Thank you for posting your story. It seems like now a days when you tell someone you want to be debt free they look at you like you have two heads. My husband and I bought the big house with the big mortgage 7 years ago and then went on to have 3 children. We are now selling the big house and moving into a newly built metal building on some land we bought that is going to have 1500 sq ft.finished space. I am going from 4000 sq ft to 1500 until we are debt free, our goal is 5 years. We have made some big lifestyles changes and have survived so far lol! Your post has inspired me to keep plugging away and be brave because it’s all worth it. Thanks!!

  198. EllenMarie says:

    Hi! I am so excited for you and congratulations! I heard your debt free scream too and later found this on Pinterest- so cool! I also paid off my house recently and it is such a big relief of burden lifting off your shoulders! WooHoo!!!!

    We sacrificed many years and many things and I have to fix up the house a bit and hopefully now we can travel a little! But we are now on one income so hopefully we can do that ! But at least I don’t have to worry about one’s biggest expense usually and I feel more secure that no one can take my house away and we will always have a roof over our heads!

    Also I like to tell young couples all the time when they start out to live on one income, buy a house based on one income and that made a difference for us. I also paid off college tuitions for the kids so they are debt free to start but I have two little ones at home which I hope I still can do that!

    Anyway LOVE your posts n blog! Wishing you many blessings in life!

  199. Sukina Johnson says:

    Hey congrads on the house pay off! My soon to be fiancé and I just purchased a house cash so I know the feeling of wanting to be debt free. I have read Dave Ramsey’s books and he is spot on the money with the advice. Currently, I am working over time and under time to pay off the remainder of my student loans so that we can have a baby in a year or two following us getting married. I have the DIY bug myself and it can be so overwhelming but it is so worth it. Congrads again and again on your family successes! Continue to be blessed. P.S. I am so doing the velvet drawers for my jewelry too!

  200. Christy says:

    Loved your story, by the way! We also payed off our house in 15 years when we were in our forties. I KNOW that feeling your talking about too! For years I would not let my husband even mention the name “Dave Ramsey”although I have read his books and through the years I have come to appreciate his wisdom & advice. Never did the little envelope thing but nevertheless we got that sucker paid off despite adopting two kids in the process. I’m STILL driving my 16 year old Explorer though. Glad your blog is successful too. I am in the process of building one myself. Hope I have as much luck as you!!

  201. Ariel says:

    Just stumbled upon this post totally randomly through pinterest, so glad I did, it was meant to be because my Husband and I love Dave Ramsey and have just recently “committed” to paying off the house and being completely debt free by my 30th birthday too! Crazy! So lucky that you are at the end of your five years though, for us that’s 4.5 years away, and I already am realizing how “materialistic” I guess I am! Like seriously…I can’t just go out and buy this and that?! I’m sure its going to be quite the journey and I’m so excited to become a better person through it. And thankyou so much for your cheesy hallmark quote – “If you can’t be content having little, you won’t be content having more.” Love love love love. And so glad to have discovered a true budget house fixer upper blog, because some of those other “budget” makeovers are still higher than our (new) budget! Loved your debt free video, wish us luck!
    -Ariel —> crashingthroughglass.blogspot.com

  202. monica godoy says:

    Congrats! Wonderful story! Truly inspiring!
    BUT
    in the end can someone tell me how to payoff my house of $450k on one income.. which is my husbands .. who is self employed… ps we live on LONG ISLAND, NY one of the most expensive places to live!
    our home is a ranch.. so small with 4 kids – 8ys to 8months..
    thanks!
    but congrats again!

  203. Kay says:

    Thank you! This was just the motivation I needed!

  204. Mandee says:

    Thank you for sharing this post! I almost didn’t read it because we are already on track to pay off our house in the next few years. You didn’t really teach me anything we are not already doing. However, you have reminded me why we are doing it. I love the peace we are able to feel without the horrible wait of financial problems hanging over our heads but sometimes I forget. I see our friends building huge incredible homes with secret passageways, indoor basketball courts, and professionally landscaped yards and sometimes I wish we had just a little more. Not what they have, because I don’t want that kind of lifestyle for me or my children. Just a little more than what we have. Thank you for helping me refocus on the life I want and already have! We are truly happy and I love that we have the ability to give so much to others!

  205. Came across your blog through the internet, and wanted to say “welcome to the club”. We also just paid off our mortgage after doing much of the same as you guys. Or difference is we have 4 little ones and we lived off of my husband’s income of less than $50,000 a year (so it took a couple years longer than 5) but we are so thrilled as well to be debt free and be able to give more generously. I too was so nervous about posting a blog about our journey as well, because people can be nasty sometimes or just assume that you are now rich- which isn’t the case at all. We still have monthly expenses and bills to pay. ;-) Anyway, Congrats!

  206. Sharmaine says:

    What an inspirational post Kelly. I can’t hear any boasting. My husband and I have had the same mindset, but ours took a bit longer. We have a tiny mortgage still to pay off, and I get a great kick thinking about what pays for it. About 10 years ago, our 12 yo daughter took up a paper round and when she could get a part time job at Target, she handed the paper round to her brother. He did it until he got a part time job at a retail outlet as well. That was 3 years ago. My husband and I still do the paper round – out of habit, or just cos it gets us out walking perhaps. The paper round only pays $8 per round and we do it twice a week, so we earn about $60 a month for it. Glad to say that this more than pays our mortgage monthly!

    More than anything, I think the greatest joy is for us to see how our attitude and spending habits have become intrinsic for our children. We have never had a budget, never felt that we had to do without and this is on very average full time wages. We do not “collect or compare”. We try to live a minimalistic life and our joy is to travel – never buying keepsakes – we take pictures of things we like. I think that if you have a mindset of “enough” that you will always have enough. We believe that we are blessed – and find that we are always counting them!

  207. Amber says:

    Hi Kelly! This is awesome. I. New to your log and I’m really enjoying everything I reading. A lot of your goals also line up with my husband and mine. We currently are following Dave Ramsey’s snowball effect to get out of debt and instead of owning we currently rent. After reading some of your blogs I was wondering if you could recommend any sites or tips to couponing? We have cut everything we can out but I feel thus is one way we can still save. Thanks so much!

  208. Dawn says:

    Congratulations!! That’s quite the feat! Do you happen to have any advice for someone whose spouse is not on board?

    • Kim says:

      Listen to Dave on iHeart radio (he is on 24/7 on his own station). He has great conversations with folks in your situation. He uses analogies to help his callers explain WHY being out of debt, living on a budget and saving/giving/spending can be such a huge benefit. Your spouse might find one of these stories an eye opener. Good luck!

  209. Lou says:

    I’m so disappointed that, on visiting Dave Ramsey’s site, I have found there are no options for people outside of the US to access good people for financial advice. I’m really looking for someone who can help me plan for my future and teach me how to invest well. Unfortunately, financial planning in Australia is full of people who are out for their own gain and are not there to assist you to learn along the way.

    You should be very proud to have achieved your goals so well. I didn’t start my mortgage until way after I was 30, but I have been doing it all alone, so haven’t had the option to share the burden. I, too, am a teacher though I have worked in Christian ministry (with wages less than half of teaching) for several years. I plan to be finished in the next 2 years and am mighty proud of my achievements.

    Prices for housing in Sydney are completely ridiculous. I live in a not-very attractive suburb where the median house price is around $800 000. (In the nicer suburbs it is well over a million dollars nowadays.) I have a small apartment with a courtyard, minutes from the railway line, that is worth around $350 000. I would have loved to have had my own house, but I have always had the plan to live within my means. I’ve never lived off credit cards or loans (except for the mortgage). If I can’t afford something, I simply don’t get to do or have it. Simple.

    It’s really easy to get distracted (and jealous!) by what others have- all the holidays they go on, concerts they get to attend, their big houses, flashy cars and so on. I know that many of these people do all this by using money they don’t actually have. Quite a few have a good source of funds given to them by parents. Others are on inflated salaries.

    But when it comes down to it, I think about how much more I have, as a single woman, than many, many millions of women around the world. I then realise and remember how very lucky I am indeed.

    Congratulations on working out what is most important and setting your goals together. You have achieved something remarkable as a couple.

  210. Arbor says:

    I have followed Dave Ramsey’s plan for years and will probably never pay off my house. And the reason is college. Please do not follow his advice about college. Begin saving when your kids are little. I just cannot let my kids go into $100k (state college) to $200k (private college) of debt and student loan interest rates are unreal. Why would I saddle them with huge loans that I would not want to take on myself? Had we begun saving when they were born and made it one of our priorities we probably would have made different financial decisions the last 17 years. Financial aid is a pipe dream if you can afford to pay off your mortgage. Sigh…

  211. Tendai says:

    I’m happy for you truly that you were able to achieve the goals you and your husband set for yourselves. Not everyone can do such a thing when major life catastrophes like major illnesses or major accidents. Most people who file bankruptcy are doing so because of medical debt and not because they are spending money like your cartoon joked about. We had the same plan to live on one income while both of us worked but then we had a baby born three months early who stayed in the NICU over Christmas through February so we had to pay two years worth of deductibles and reach the out of pocket maximum twice ss well before insurance paid 100%. It was so much we thought it would ruin us. It didn’t by the grace of God but then we had a vulnerable baby who wasn’t supposed to leave the home for a year to be safe from germs and viruses.

    Then one year after that my back started acting up from an work injury to my back that forced me to have my first back surgery so young (made me uninsurable for health and accident/disability insurance) at 27. So when my son was 2.5 I had my second surgery because of the pain, neurological impairment and I couldn’t always walk. Then while I was recovering we found out that our 2.5 y/o preemie had autism with severe language delay.

    I have had two more surgeries and multiple procedures so I could get back to work but now it’s all over but the crying. I’m permanently and totally disabled plus chronic pain and fibromyalgia to boot.

    Still as hard as things have been, we are blessed because we are in this country with access to medical care and experts to help us. Things would be far worse if we had been in a third world country. I just wanted to share our story because we aren’t alone in tough circumstances and there are others who could never have done what you’ve done no matter the planning.

  212. This is one of my favorite things to hear! (I like your writing style too!) Every time I hear that someone else has paid their house off, my faith increases a little bit that it truly can be done. (My wife and I are debt free except for the home)
    We were also blessed to be able to give $80,000 since we’ve been married just 3 and a half years ago. Thanks so much for you testimony!

  213. Teresa says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is truly amazing. I can feel your passion for what you did and how you would like to impact others with your accomplishment. I read a book back in my early 30′s called Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. What a great handbook. Many of the principal’s you implemented on your journey were also in this book. I am now turning 53, selling my business and retiring. Thank you again for sharing your story. Teresa

  214. Lisa says:

    You are inspirational! And I love your perspective of our time here on this earth.

  215. Kim says:

    Kelly, thanks so much for sharing your family’s wonderful progress!! I have been out of credit card debt for a year and we are just 4 months from having our house paid off. I am not sure how I am going to feel when I will only need half my paycheck to pay my monthly bills, but I am excited to find out! Woo Hoo!! Dave Ramsey rocks!!

  216. Tammy says:

    Good for you! I’m on track for a 5 year payoff and have been a Dave Ramsey fan since 2008….I drive the 10 year old car and rent out extra rooms in my house on Airbnb for extra mortgage money….I love being weird! People can give me a hard time all they want – they’ll be asking how to do it when I don’t have a mortgage!!!! :-) Impressed & proud of you – congratulations! Thanks for the motivation!

  217. Kelly I am so proud of you and I know how you feel. I am debt free as well. I use a program called 101 Financial and is able to help people with there finances. We help them get out of debt, increase their credit score and more. 1st time home owners are able to pay off their home in 9 years or less using our system not changing what they do already. Priceless information. If you want more about it, look me up at 101 financial.com/dmedeiros. thank you and have a beautiful blessed day…Donna

  218. Al says:

    Love your site! Have pinned some of your pics because your makeovers are superb! Congrats on paying off your house. Got distracted by the brass deer, just got three at a garage sale and they make me smile every time I look at them.

  219. I read this post back in January and was so inspired to start paying off our debt. My husband and I started with the smallest one and have successfully completed out first “mission” (what we are calling them).

    Thank you for opening up so humbly to inspire others, I just shared our first “mission” on my blog and I hope I can do the same with our story of being debt-free one day.

  220. Courtney says:

    Wow. What an inspiring post. I am currently on Dave Ramsey’s budget, which many people are shocked by because I am a 20 yr old college student who is saving to hopefully buy a house one day and be able to continue to pay for college all on my own. It’s always good to see some encouragement on the way. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  221. Austen says:

    I just came across your blog and I love it!!! I cant even begin to tell you how inspiring this is to hear of a young family actually paying off a house!!! My husband and I have just bought our fixer upper and would love to pay it off as soon as possible but it seems so out of reach, I loved coming across your blog and hearing your story. It gives me hope and ambition to stay on track for our goal. I think you guys are awesome and such an inspiration!!!

  222. Jessica says:

    So happy for you! We bought an older home, that needed cosmetic work, but was something we could afford. We financed for 15 yrs & I went to work (part time) for 1 1/2 yrs, until our 2nd child was born. We are 7 yrs into our mortgage & at the rate we are paying (while living on one income for a family of 5), we will pay off our house 1 yr early. We did recently refinance, in order to lower our interest rate by 2.5% & we refinanced for 15 yrs, which lowered our monthly payment, but we continue to pay the original (larger) payment, which is how we will pay off early. Our youngest child will go to school next year & after I take some time “off” to work on me & some house projects, I may take a part time job to supplement our income. We have paid cash for our vehicles for the past 5 yrs & the ones we bought were used. We are on a tight grocery budget, in order to put as much as possible in savings. We did make the decision to finance a new boat (basic aluminum) that all 5 of us could fit in, because that is one of our things we do together as a family. It will take less than 1/2 of our monthly savings amount to pay the note, but we felt like if we waited till we could pay cash, our kids would be older & less interested in boating & fishing with their parents.

  223. john cliton says:

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  224. Rhonda says:

    Loved reading this… such an inspiration. My hubby and I are debt free except for our house and reading this reminded me of how much we truly did sacrifice to get to that point. We’re about to start paying extra on the house too so that’s the next goal!
    And I am jealous that you got that great house for such a great price!

  225. Cass says:

    Loved your comment about if you are not happy with little you won’t be any happier with more….so TRUE and thanks for the reminder! ;)

  226. Glenn says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Thank’s for the page and video. I bought a house last year with a 30 year mortgage and I’m now looking into differant options as to paying it off early. Such as adding an extra payement each year. This would cut the mortgage down about 4 years. Can you tell me how what process you went through to paying off this debt?

  227. Meredith says:

    Wow, Kelly. This is an incredibly inspiring post. I, too, have read Dave Ramsey and learned so much about budgeting. I really want to make a plan for us to pay off our house, too. Thanks for making it real.

  228. Giselle says:

    It’s a good thing you’re not in California. It would’ve taken you 25 years to pay it off since the average home is about $500k in my town. Oh and that $500k is about the 1/2 of your house size.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I had NO IDEA the incredible response the last post would get! I’m blown away. (By the way, I updated that post with the video of us on the radio, […]

  2. […] love the frugal living inspiration in How We Paid Off Our House In Five Years at View Along The […]

  3. […] The same day my husband suggested we live on one income and use the other to pay off the house this post from Kelly at View Along the Way was deliverd to my inbox. It was a sign, proof that real people could do exactly what my husband […]

  4. […] my post a couple weeks ago about how we paid off our house, I got lots of questions about how we budgeted and what we did to stretttttch a dolla, so I came up […]

  5. […] I was super inspired by this post with 5 tips on how a young couple paid off their house in a short amount of time.  If you need a kick in the seat of the pants to get on track (or stay on track) financially, […]

  6. […] of my favorite bloggers, Kelly from View Along the Way, actually paid off her house in 5 years using Dave’s principles.  It’s inspiring to […]

  7. […] first month after we paid off our mortgage, Andy and I each got to choose a splurge. It was also my 30th birthday, so I asked for a splurgey […]

  8. […] am so inspired by posts like these from Kelly at View Along the Way and Sean’s story at Learnvest . While we’ve shared our yearly financial goals, one […]

  9. […] one huge factor is being able to do something like this. I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan. I help coordinate FPU at our Church and it’s awesome […]

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