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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!)
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.


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

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
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 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!

* * *


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!

Let's connect


  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.

    • 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

      • Congratulations!! It’s great that you are sharing your story because most people don’t even think it’s possible to pay of your house. I’m sure you will inspire so many people 🙂

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    • Roxanne Gordon says:

      This article is very specific for two employed couples. I am single trying to pay off my mortgage in 5 years. I have $52,150. more to go. I don’t make a lot of money because my education is only an Associates degree, not a masters that I wanted to get. My then husband said whenever I approached him about me finishing college said: “Money’s kind of tight right now” ……just what you said in your article about buying something. Well, I wanted to buy an education, not a table cloth, or a new sweater.
      So here I am trying to support myself, pay utilities, no credit card debt, getting that mortgage down to zero. I went to a realtor to find out what I qualified for BEFORE I went house hunting. I was smart to buy less then what I was approved for.

      Anyway……..your posting is very specific for families. Good for you…..not so for me. I’ll keep plugging away.

      • I am so happy for you getting rid of that douchebag who didn’t feel that finishing college was important and an investment! And you don’t “only” have an Associates degree – you have an associates degree. And you are smarter than many people who simply buy a house they can “afford” without thought of the future. Good for you! And thank you – it isn’t everyday you hear a single women who by her own accounts doesn’t make much money making the plan to pay off her home! And I bet that Master’s degree will be paid for in cash!

      • This is where a good bit of perspective comes in. In 2014, my husband made $54,000 take-home cash. I made a little over $3,000 with a small business I started. We have a two-year-old son and just bought a house at the end of 2014. Both my husband and I have Bachelors and incurred a lot of debt getting them. So, to me, $52K on an Associates degree and being single would mean I could seriously live it up!

      • That’s what I thought as I read it, what I wouldn’t give to have another income in my household. As a single mother, with only an associates – that I’ve been able to parlay into a bachelors level job – I’m also in the market to finally make my purchase, with just three years on my solid job. The rest of my employment history built my makeshift college degree (worked for free = college level experience/exposure) but hey I’ve got very little student loan debt – at the end though debt free and living within your means by whatever your method is success – at least in my book

      • Robin Grzybowski says:

        I was single and working 30 hours a week as a waitress and I paid off my house in less than 3 years…it’s not that hard really if you focus and don’t let other people pull you in every direction, a person has to learn to say no to people and their parties, and other invites or at least keep it in control. I feel like you don’t believe in yourself. My original goal was 7 years to pay off my $77,000 mortgage but then a year into it I changed it to 5, I actually paid it off in 2.5 and it wasn’t that hard…no number crunching just passion to pay it off! YOU too can totally do it! 🙂

      • Hello, I just want to say that being a single parent was the best decision I ever made! I was 35 yr old with two children (14 and 12) and NO child support. I built a house (I gave up all to my husband except this building lot) on my own without a general contractor….sold after the kids were out of high school for a $100,000 profit. Bought a old barn and turned it into a storage business and built my house into it too. I was disabled at age 50…… Had to have a income,therefore the barn house/storage business came to lite. My son and another carpenter built for me (yes ,I paid them,however, very proud of my son for stepping up). Sold out with a $250,000 profit and am now retired and living debt free ……no credit card debt, paid cash for house and car , at the age of 62. When you do not have a willing partner , it is best to strike out on your own. I never went to collage …. You have a advantage their…. You are showing your children they can do anything, have anything they want…. If they are willing to work for it. What really helped me was not being bitter….at first I had to work on it , eventually I saw beyond the internal rage at what had been done to me and my heart healed….my life became easier and my kids became happier. Believe in yourself you can do more then you think..God Bless and good luck. LLB

      • Suzanne Seale says:

        I say in this economy, roommates are great. For one person to live in a house alone is overspending. Here’s where boyfriends can help. Get one and have him help with the mortgage and heavy lifting.
        I’m a woman who paid off her house and did some big time renovation for tenants to live in. I paid off my house in 8 years. It would have been a lot less time if I wasn’t married to someone who loved to spend but earned almost nothing and didn’t like to strip wallpaper or paint.
        I’ve noticed a lot of single women who own houses end up marrying they guy who can help them fix things in a house. After all, things need fixing and sometimes on an emergency basis. It’s very expensive and if you don’t know about plumbing, you can end up paying a lot, i.e. getting ripped off.

        It’s wonderful if you have parents or brothers around to be sure this doesn’t happen but as for me, I had no one. I did have youtube however and when something needed to be fixed, I watched videos.

      • A good way to start is to increase payment frquency interest is calculated using time multiplied by rate
        So.. this works for lots of other debt to. So if you pay monthly change to weekly it will shave years off your mortgage. Never underestimate the compound effect, even if all you have is five dollars put it on your debt. Banks make millions counting pennies and fractions of a penny so don’t ever think your not putting enough on your mortgage.
        This also works really well for paying off credit cards or loc, if all you can afford is the minimum payment then divide it up into 2 payments per week lets say. Your not paying extra, but, the interest is calculated on the average daily balance which will go down every month you do it. Eventually your payment will be lowered but I kept making the same pament. This is how I paid my debt when all I had was enough for the minimum payment. Hope this helps

    • Congratulations! My husband and I paid off our mortgage on our 25th wedding anniversary! That was our gift to each other! It is a wonderful feeling!

    • I know what you mean about priorities, I am paying for most of a vacation this year because that is more important to me than having my home payed off. My dad is 81 and I don’t know how much time he has as he is getting up there in years.

  2. 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. 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.

    • Suzanne Seale says:

      Just think about the average income these days. If you took one salary for house payments, the place would be paid off in a short time. I think it’s good for kids to see their parents accomplish things and prioritize. They will probably use this experience in their futures.
      Why give kids toys, when work can be as fun and productive. They can see their accomplishments in your house. They can contribute and get praise for their work or some money. When they earn their money, they will spend wisely.

  4. That is amazing and wonderful – congratulations!!

    • Hi,I bought a fixer upper on one income.I was really inspired by your story.I rescue dogs and that is a big expense but not one I am willing to forego.I am going to get on track and do every thing cash.Thank you for the inspiration.The old saying goes If you are not happy with a little you will not be happy with a lot.Thank you and God Bless to you and your family.

  5. 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. 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”!

    • 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. 🙂

    • 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.

      • Suzanne Seale says:

        Having kids is an expensive hobby. It seems you know how to do it economically. I know kids can feel bad in school when they don’t have fashionable clothes. But this can make them more productive as adults. Much better to start at the bottom. Those doctors’ kids have a hard time getting to where their parents are and most never do.

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

  8. 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. 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. 😀

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

  15. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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!!

    • 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. 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. 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!!! 😀
    ^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. 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!

    • Suzanne Seale says:

      I have to say I’m on the opposite side with insurance. By not buying insurance, I was able to save so much. Of course it’s important to assess your risks. If you think your risk is low and you have good car insurance, I’m happy. Most problems are while you are in your car. But of course, if you think your health or life is at risk, I’d go for the life insurance.

      • Suzanne Seale says:

        I was hit by a reckless driver 2 years ago. He almost killed me. I don’t have anyone I’m responsible for. Most people have kids or dependents. If they do, yes, I agree, get insurance.

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

  30. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!

    • 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)

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

  50. 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 🙂

    • 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. 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. 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:

    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!

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

  71. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!


  80. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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! 😀

  90. 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!!

    • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!!! 😀

  103. 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. 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. 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!

  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. 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 😀

  112. 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. 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 ( 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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

  122. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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! 😛 (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? 😉

    • 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!

      • 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: 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.

        • 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. 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. 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!!

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

    • 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. 🙂

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

  139. 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. 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. 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. 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!

    • 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. 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!


  146. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!

    • 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:… 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. 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.

  159. 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!!!!

    • 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. 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.

    • 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 (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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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


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

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

  174. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Oh my gosh “WE ARE DEBT FREE” as of today 😀 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,

  181. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). I would love if you would stop by and tell me what you think. This is amazing 5 Years!! yay!!

  187. 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. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 —>

  202. monica godoy says:

    Congrats! Wonderful story! Truly inspiring!
    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..
    but congrats again!

  203. Thank you! This was just the motivation I needed!

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

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

  215. 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. 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 thank you and have a beautiful blessed day…Donna

  218. 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. 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. 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. 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!

  224. 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! 😉

  225. 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?

  226. 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.

  227. 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.

  228. Thanks so much for sharing your story. You inspired me and I too have just paid off my mortgage today ! I am 43 years old and I did it. I am officially debt free – no mortgage, no credit card debt and no car payments. Debt Free and it’s still sinking in. I think I will need to crack open a bottle of champagne tonight. I still can’t believe it – Cheers !

  229. Kelly,
    I love hearing stories like yours! My husband and I have been following Dave for the last 9 months and have paid off over 18k (just by getting on a budget), but have paid off over 31k in the last 2 years. I really like how you pointed out that you’re not happy now, but that you’ve been happy all throughout the journey. My husband and I have found that happiness and contentment through our united efforts towards common goals.
    Mad props to you guys!

  230. This is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing this with the world. I recently moved from Hong Kong to be with my now husband. Since moving here, I have had trouble finding a full time teaching gig that pays even half of what I made abroad. We are essentially living off one income (my husband is also a teacher) and have a mortgage…and lots of driving to do since we live in California! Great to know that house projects are still doable – just need to plan and budget accordingly! Thanks again! Your posts are wonderful 🙂

  231. Congrats! This is awesome! We are currently working on it and stories like this help!

  232. That’s awesome! We only have our mortgage right now, so we hope to eliminate that for our triplets to benefit from in the *very* near future!!

  233. alvin banagale says:

    i love to hear your story.. since it sounds the same for what im doing.. i also have a house mortgaged for 15 years and know were on the 2nd year. i also owned and a 6 yr old car which i financed 6 yrs ago. right now im still paying off my last cash loan and make sure to be my last one. hopefully next year after paying my remaining debts, all my transaction would be cash and spend only what you have..

  234. Hello. Stumbled across this post on Pinterest…what an inspiration. I’m curious though…what was your yearly income if you don’t mind sharing? Ty!

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  236. i paid off my house just before Christmas last year.
    It’s a great feeling.
    I’m a single mum with 4 boys in Australia, So it was all done on one wage.
    Next year is my trip to Europe!

  237. WOW – that’s impressive!
    I’m not sure how this would be possible given my income of 47k working two jobs and my boyfriends 24k income….
    If you would like to share your budgeting sheets that would be awesome.. would love to have the house… AND the cottage paid off in 5 years, and be debt free by the age of 30!


  238. Well it’s a very nice story…and pretty easily accomplished if your buying a home for 50k – 100k range to pay off within several years. The thing is that all the hard work and dedication you both shown is great, you did it. However giving credit to “God” is a bit odd because it’s the two of you who did it not “God” so why give credit to a fictional character , give credit to yourselves because You are the ones who did it, not “God.”

    • wow, so really you just going to down God like this, oh well

    • It saddens me to hear that you feel that God is a fictional character. Who do you think put those ideas in our hearts in the first place. Sponge bob???????????? I just happen to believe in God, and that he wanted us to be positive people, not negative. I’m sorry you feel the way you do. : (

  239. carrie anthony says:

    Thanks so much for the great decorating ideas and sharing your story! Huge Dave Ramsey fan and your story is such an inspiration! Was close to being debt free and had a few setbacks and bad decisions. Will stay focused and get there 1 day!!

  240. Thanks so much for this post! This was actually super helpful to me. Keep up the great work on this blog!

  241. This is such a great accomplishment!! Congrats to you guys. My husband and I are in our mid 20s and we took FPU a couple years ago. Since then we have paid off all debt except the house, have a 6-month emergency fund, and are saving 15% for retirement. My question is…Did you save that much for retirement while paying down your mortgage? The reason why is ask is because we never have any money left to put towards the house after that. It’s discouraging! Any advice would be appreciated 🙂

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  244. Congratulations! That is a lot of hard work and dedication. I enjoyed the post and it serves as a little reminder that our day will come!

  245. Great job! You guys really made the sacrifices to make this happen!

  246. Great article, although I wish it had given more detail. Size of house, size of mortgage? Area of the country you live in? I’m a single mom of three and live in an area where housing is expensive. I renovated the basement to have a suite so I can supplement income. I had to get a new vehicle because of credit that was wrecked due to my ex not paying bills when he should have. All in all though I can’t complain. Life is going okay, but that mortgage won’t go away anytime soon!

  247. Inspirational!

  248. I think you’re a ROCK STAR! When I was young nobody seemed to talk about things like this to us. We had no idea how to manage our money. It was just a ‘go do it and make sure you don’t screw it up too bad’ thing. And nobody even said that.

    I would love for our children to have more information – to know how to make intelligent, well-informed choices.

    Thank you for sharing so much, including the links.

  249. congratulations on being debt free! however, I feel this story was a tad misleading. you weren’t truly living on one income. you had a second income to do home improvement projects and apply extra $ toward the mortgage every month. you did a great job sticking to your budget and deserve accalades for that 🙂 However, for a family who truly only has one income , it is not a viable option to use a second income to pay off a mortgage.

    • We never said we only had one income. We said we lived on one while we used the other to pay off debt.

  250. Congratulations! Paying off a mortgage that quickly is admirable. You have great focus and determination.

  251. GoldStandard says:

    Congrats on such a wonderful acheivement! Paying a house of by 30? WITH TWO KIDS!? WOW!

    This a wonderful post! Before Dave Ramsey came along not many people were doing this. I am so glad that he did to offer great common sense to those who honestly do not know.

    My daughter finished college that she paid for with cash, went to a local 2-year college and had enough money left over to buy a foreclosure. That foreclosure is actually in better shape than much of the retail market offerings. She is 24, not married and has a phenomenal job. She is buying with cash. Taking her time with renovations. I emailed her this story for inspiration!

    Most people your age have enslaved themselves to payments! Congrats again!

  252. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very inspiring! My wife and I have just started our journey to pay off our home as well. We are documenting our journey at our blog ( I think I’ll print this story and put it on my fridge so I can continually remind us that we can do it too!

    We are also Dave Ramsey fans and have been debt free, except our house, for years. I can’t stress enough how important your number 1 is. When you and your spouse are on the same page you can accomplish anything!

  253. Kelly!!! Thank you soooo much for this post!! I found you on pinterest and am I ever glad I did! As a single mom of two, I struggle a little (just a little) with money. I do have my budget set up but sometimes it’s just hard to keep within when you have extra kids activities and what not. Very rarely that I indulge or splurge on myself. I’ve been thinking on start saving for a house (which are REAAAALLY expensive here in Canada) but never thought of doing all in cash. I get paid at the end of the month and I will get all my money out of my account and start paying all in cash!! Thank you so much for the wonderful tips 🙂

  254. Thank you for posting this! We have several loans we are working on right now, student loans, house and when both of our cars transmissions went out (I was driving a 13 year old car and my husband’s was 20), we had to take out a car loan last summer. Currently, we are building our emergency fund and have the order we want to pay those bills off in. It’s not easy, but we can do it!

  255. Just wondering how you managed $300 a month on groceries? Did you also eat out? With only my husband and I we have $350but that’s just two.. no kids!

    • Hey Chels – check out emeals. They are a budget friendly meal planner and the meals are generous so you can freeze the left overs for extra meals. Great way to get costs down regarding food

  256. Your story is very inspiring and I admire your hard work. Congratulations!! Enjoy!!

  257. We, too,are being inspired by Dave Ramsey. What fun it was to read your blogs. You’re just the kind of person we can imagine sitting down and sharing a glass of wine. We enjoyed your personable, witty asides, as well. Thank you for sharing your personal stories(along with the pictures with corresponding subjects). Congrats on achieving your goals.

    Dan & Lisa Pfleger

  258. My jaw literally just dropped reading this. While we have owned our house for the last few years, we are nowhere close to getting there as we are working on outside debt and working on a 6 months of income savings plan. This was super inspiring! I am excited to take the $300 a month we have been spending on our oldest sons braces and rolling that into eradicating one debt after the next!! Thanks for the inspiration that this is totally doable!!

  259. Wow, this is so inspiring!! It’s crazy what a team goal and self control will do!! Congrats on being debt free.. I look forward to living this life in the near future myself! And I didn’t feel you were boasting at all. It’s exciting and inspiring 😉 Thanks for sharing! Jen

  260. I LOVE your story! This is fantastic. My husband and I are passionate about debt-free living and aspiring to do the exact same thing. We are currently debt free and living in a temporary home before buying our next house. Praying God will do big things for us in this area! Thanks for sharing your hard work and I love that you were on the Dave Ramsey show too!

  261. Congratulations to you!! THat is an amazing accomplishment. We are Dave Ramsey fans as well and have a goal to one day pay off our home also (although it will be awhile still . . . ). It’s inspiring to read your story though and to see that even with a modest income you can make major progress in financial areas. Yay to you your family!!!

  262. So inspiring!!!!! Sometimes I forget why my husband and I decided to go with a 15 year mortgage on a fixer upper vs a brand new shiny home like the ones all of our friends are purchasing. My husband’s coworkers are driving their fancy new Teslas and we are driving our practical, far less sexy, vehicles so that we can pay of our home and so that I can be a stay at home mom… and I can’t lie, sometimes I miss “things” and wonder why we chose to make these sacrifices…But this was a fabulous reminder as to why we are working towards our financial freedom!!! Thank you for sharing! I loved this!

  263. We are 31 years old, have 1 child and have paid off our house!!! It was hard work but it was well worth it! Took us 9 1/2 years to pay a 30 year loan off!

  264. I am inspired after reading this story! Congrats, the determination and resolve to pay off the mortgage is great. I am sure you will reach your other goals with the same gusto and success :)!!

  265. Michelle says:

    A big Yeah! to you and your family. I have always thought the most important, and difficult, job on the planet is raising well adjusted humans to go out a do good in the world. Our home will be paid for in a year and I can’t wait. We have been married for 32 years but this second home we purchased 8 years ago I didn’t want another 30 year mortgage hanging over our head. A fifteen year morgage is so the way to go. Even if you have to refinance to one a couple of years down the road you need to do. And do not let them talk you into buying a home that on paper you can afford, you must be comfortable in real life with real life issues that might come that you have to be able to pay for. I have always been a penny pincher and felt guilty buying myself anything. We watched our friends and family just grow deeper and deeper in debt. I too always believed in living on one income in case something ever happened, we were never able to have children, and when there were slow times in construction for my husband I was always busy as an R.N. Unfortunately though my husband walked out and left me so very u expectantly 1 1/2 years ago. Right after that I fell and broke my hip and femur 3 times in 3 months. I only received Disabilty for few months as I was doing 1099 work as a nurse so no Disabilty insurance. So needless to say I have gone through all my savings, 401 k, cashed in bonds, even began rolling all the change in a big full Sparkletts bottle my husband and I started in 1981, by the way I thought that was going to be quite a bit but is turning out not so much. Also as I wrote I was always thrifty, well, I went out of control when I found internet shopping while home now in a wheelchair now 50% of the time. I did applied for SDI in January but that is going to take a year or so and that’s with a lawyer who is not very helpful at all. I started spending wildly I had no idea that my income would be gone and I would keep breaking requiring hospitalizations and surgeries and those bills, with insurance, adds up. My husband agreed to leave me the house, out of guilt I’m sure, so I am doing anything I can since I’m so close to save it. It’s all I will have for my future at the not so young age of 53. And at this point Since I truly am still in shock about my marriage and feeling bitter and angry, I am in no mood to even look at another man, talk to one, date one, or share a life with one. So I would definitely recommend everyone get a 15 year loan and add extra monthly to the principal when making a payment even if it’s only $20 it will add up. Sorry for the whoa is me sob story but I felt better getting that off my chest, thanks

  266. Whoa! Great read and hell of comments.. ( Sorry I couldn’t read them all ). We chose a property in Toronto and got the necessary finance from Northwood Mortgage Services, since we did not have enough t pay them in full cash. I hope I will be able to pay off the mortgage by a year or two.

  267. Nice plan and all, but only works for a two-income household. 🙂 I’m all by my lonesome making under 30K … I do pay some extra towards principal to reduce the life of my mortgage, but I CANNOT wait to pay it off; I HATE owing money. On the plus side, that’s my only long-term debt, everything else is monthly or yearly expenses.

  268. Lovely article! Me and my family, we decided that it is time to buy a house because our apartment is too small for the three of us. We already found the house and now we started packing our stuff. I hope that I will find a good moving company which will help us with the moving process!

  269. Thank you for sharing your story!

  270. We bought the lowest price house we could find in the best location in our town. We gave up a 3rd bedroom, a 2nd bath and FULL basement to live here. (We could have had all that in a little less desirable area).

    My husband makes the bulk of the money and I work 2 jobs and still don’t make what he makes. I would love to do this. I do use only cash except for 1 Best Buy card that I couldn’t part with. We barely take vacations except like every 2 years. Not sure why we have trouble saving as we don’t even have children. There was no way we could go lower on our mortgage as it would put us in a non desirable area for us. We even put down $60K on our $250K house. You can’t go any lower than that and have a nice home here. Our yard is amazing and we have all wood floors, live across the street from the water and walking distance to town and the train to Manhattan.

    We are definitely going to try to do this. Thanks for the info. I would love to retire with no mortgage someday.

  271. Way to go!! So amazing! This is totally my dream to do this so thanks for the inspiration!!

  272. What does this mean. “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”?

  273. This is a really great story. My husband and I bought a real fixer upper, it was an eye soar but we saw potential in it. We did everything off one income too. It seemed like when we fixed one thing another had to be fixed, we felt like we weren’t going nowhere but we pushed hard and we are so close (weeks away from a 2 yr long project). We will have our house paid off in 5 years as well.

  274. Hey!! I just stumbled on this post although I’ve read bits and pieces of your blog for a while now. We are mid-Dave-Ramsey-debt-payoff-plan (aka: baby step 2) and I am so inspired by reading your story. Congrats (from a while ago) and thanks for sharing 🙂

  275. Telling this story is not at ALL boastful. ANYONE is able to do exactly what you did if they are willing to make the sacrifices that you did. It is within their power and your story should INSPIRE them. I know that the more stories I hear like yours, the more I realize what can be done and what I CAN do. People need to hear MORE stories like you and your husband’s. Congratulations! With your sacrifices, you both deserve it. You’ve earned it.

  276. Hi! can you please show us how to coupon? That would be great thanks!

  277. I am so happy for you both! You have made a real partnership of your marriage and a real success of your family. Continue to work together toward your agreed upon goals, with God as your foundation. You guys are unstoppable!

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  279. Great job on paying off your house. We have been fortunate enough to get ours paid off early as well. Just like you we had children, had set goals and went without in other areas (very little eating out, cheap travel and cut areas we could). I laughed when I seen a picture of the car your hubby drove, we had a similar vehicle. It is all worth it in the end and the money saved in interest over a “25 yr mortgage” is amazing.

  280. I would love to know how to pay off a mortgage in 5years.. Do you have to make the payments at a certain time of the month? Please let me know.

  281. wow!!.
    this is so inspiring. i am still young and i already have debt. study loan. now i see how important it is to have early plan on how and your money should go . this is very very inspiring. thank you.

  282. Stephanie K says:

    A great read and such a great reminder for us all! I came across this on Pinterest and am so glad I did. My husband and I have committed to be debt free and only have our house left to pay off. We have goals we’ve made together and it’s a wonderful feeling to know that we’re moving in the right direction as a team! Giving is so important through-out the journey and it’s great to hear your story! It inspires us and fuels our gazelle intensity! “Live like no one else so that later, you can live and give, like no one else!”

  283. I think this is awesome. I have three kids and owe up to my neck on student loans. My husband and I also rent our home and have been looking for a house that we can afford. I’ve felt so hopeless because everything we have looked at is over our budget. But reading this has given me hope. I needed this inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

  284. Had to tell you how much I loved your article! My husband & I are on our journey climbing our mountain, started two months, cash only for everything now. Your story really resonated with me, thank you for speaking from your heart & sharing your experience. I hope one day we can yell we’re debt free too!! God bless your family.

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  286. Lorna eldridge-pike says:

    I’m doing Dave Ramey. .. i owe on 5 credit cards and house payment as well. I want to have everything paid off in 5 years. I have all his books and tapes.
    I just wish I had someone to talk with about this.
    I have 1400 in my emergency fund. And I’m a truck driver with my husband. We drive together. Just need to get rite of this debt.
    Thank you for your story. I bet it feels great.
    I can’t wait till it happens.

  287. Cheryl Caves says:

    Thanks for your inspired story. I love your discipline and joy through the process. My kids have successfully used the Dave Ramsey method of paying off debt. I am so proud of them. My husband and I are retired from the military and should do the same thing for our mortgage. I am going to get on this with him. We can be extremely frugal when we need to be.

  288. Following Dave Ramsey’s advice is almost always good for you. I would just say, now go buy a rental property and use the same systems to pay it off in ten years as a forced retirement system if you live in a growing part of the country.

  289. That is awesome congratulations !! Can you do a post on the process such as how much you put down on the house and your monthly payments were and what you put towards it every month. etc. that would be great !!! Thank you we are looking into buying our first home ever bit of information helps !!

  290. Wow! What an inspiration you and your husband are!!! Thank you for sharing!!

  291. I love it! Thank you for the encouragement! We just got Dave Ramsey’s books, three of them actually, for Christmas and have started budgeting. It is a very scary process, but the rewards will be worth it! I like the tips you give along the way!

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  293. y 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

  294. 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.

  295. Wonderful post! Congratulations!! This is so awesome! This is definitely a goal of ours and it’s inspiring to know others are working that way too and accomplishing it! In a world where people are trying to tell you to buy more, bigger, newer, and better, it’s inspiring to know people are saying no. Way to go!!

  296. Thanks for sharing your story. So inspiring to learn these tips and I hope to emulate you.

  297. Great story Kelly! Congrats on your debt free success. Speaking as an old guy that has been debt free for many years now, my family and I have been through the same process ( minus the Dave Ramsey debt free scream 🙂 ), it is a great feeling to have the freedom from debt! We were even able to get debt free while having six kids and one income. It was worth all of the weird looks and lack of understanding from many people and the sacrifices we had to make. Keep up the great work. Congratulations!

  298. What an inspirational story Kelly. I am happy for you and your family that you not only paid off your house but also did investments for your marriage. You guys are a true inspiration for the people who are in a debt trap from years and feels ashamed and suicidal.

  299. Despite Dave Ramsey’s advice, paying off your house fast is an error that people make when they are afraid of interest payments. When it’s all paid off you have no more interest payments to make, but the equity in your home stops growing as well. With the exception of large markets, most home values grow more or less at the rate of inflation which is about 2% per year. That means when you sell your house you’ll have no more purchasing power than the day you paid it off.

    I see interest payments differently than David Ramsey. The bank is my business partner and an interest payment is their fair share of our income growth. Every 4-5 years when my mortgage renews, I refinance at 20% equity and take the remainder out as a down payment on my next rental investment. It’s only been 6 years and between my wife and I we own 4 properties valued at 930k. I have enough equity to pay off my primary residence, but I won’t. My money works for me, and my strategy has put me further ahead then Dave Ramsey’s advice.

    • Hmm… I can’t see any way that paying off your house would cause your equity to stop growing. Paying it off allows you to save like crazy for future rental homes, which you can then own outright with cash and never owe anyone a dime. That’d definitely be my preferred route.

  300. I’m reading this about 10 minutes after I walked in the house from grocery shopping. Whew, 5 hours (I travel to the next county to shop, about 15 miles each way). Long story short, we’ve been married 38 years & have 3 kids. 2 married daughters and a 16 year old son. This morning as I was leaving, my son asked if we could please have meat this week. ????. I bought a total of 15 items between 2 stores. Total was just under $60. My husband is a custodian & I lost my pharmacy position 4 years ago which cut our income in half. I have several health conditions that I’m unable to work now. I don’t know if I should be encouraged by your story or just go somewhere to cry. Perhaps I’ll do both.

    I applaud you for your success, and for sharing your story. I only wish someone would have mentioned this information back when we were younger, perhaps we wouldn’t be in this situation that we find ourselves in.

  301. Wow, thats truly amazing story. I got really inspired. Its amazed me how you sacrificed in order to pay off your mortgage house.

    Well Done!

  302. Nilam Vaughan says:

    First off, congratulations! You are very impressive for a plethora of reasons. Secondly, I live in Atlanta too and I can’t imagine paying off my mortgage but am totally inspired to do so.

  303. everyone here has inspired me to get this mortgage payed off, I have survived 2 bad relationships and got my associates degree at the age of 60. thank you all for the encouragement.

  304. It’s all in a person’s perspective. I worked two and three jobs, and used a cell phone with only texting and calling for two years in order to pay off debt that I had. So many people use the words ‘I need it’, instead of realizing that they really only want it. We moved last year from CA to TX. Once we sold our home in CA and began to look, the snowball effect took place! We can buy a huge house here!!! And on we went, until we realized the purpose of moving to TX (besides work) was to buy smaller and cheaper. Six months later, we are in a 4/2 that is perfect for our family of three. We have so much more room to breath than in CA, even though our home is smaller. We love this opportunity and are applying extra money to pay off our mortgage early. Thanks for the super motivational share 😀

  305. I have always been in the pay-off-the-mortgage camp. I tried for a bit to ignore my gut and go with the statistics of likely getting a better return by investing the money instead of paying down the debt but, ultimately my gut tied me down and beat me into submission. I’m back to focusing on eliminating the mortgage. Having fewer living expenses is as close as I can get to living in an trailer or an Air stream – here’s looking’ at you,

    Awesome work, ! In my opinion, financial flexibility is worth the possible earnings you might miss out on by keeping the debt.

  306. 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!

  307. This is such an inspirational and motivational post. Well done on you paying off your home in such a short space of time.

  308. Wow! What an amazing story you have to share – and how inspiring! Congratulations on your achievement!

  309. Margaret says:

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing! I like the means-based focus you have, instead of following what our culture says you “ought to” have or what you “need”. I am further along life’s road than you, and I learned those lessons a harder way. But finally living within our means for some time, and some wise investing and good fortune has allowed my husband to retire 10 years early, (and me 15) and we still live comfortably within our means. I especially like your wisdom that you aren’t happier because your mortgage is paid, and you weren’t unhappier because you didn’t drive a beemer or whatever. Well done you!

  310. Natha Cox says:

    Please let me know what a great strategy would be for a single person to payoff a mortgage in 5 to 7 years. I’m a very detailed person, so I would like to have a plan rather than just throwing anything extra towards the mortgage.

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  312. I agree just don’t buy new cars or expensive things before buying a home or while making payments on a home…….that’s the way I’m doing it, I got 134000 home for 30 years…so I pay 1,000 dollars every month on my principal no matter what my payment is each month and I pay an extra 1,000 dollars every 3rd check I received a month, that only happens twice a year….and all my income tax goes towards my principal so average about 20,000 dollar’s just on the principal every year..and I’m getting a raise pretty soon where I can average about 1,500 dollars a month on just the principal so annually I’m averaging about year 26,000 a year…But the point is, any large sum of money you come up with put it towards your home. because the way is see it, is for every 1 dollar I pay on my principal I save 1 dollar.

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