5 Year Mortgage Goal

We have decided to share our goal to pay off our mortgage in 5 years for accountability and to encourage others in their personal finances.

You see, we’re a family of 5 living on one income. While my husband makes a comfortable income, we’re not rolling in money. Our monthly budget is comfortable – we don’t feel we’re doing without but we do have to spend carefully and watch where our money goes.

Managing your money wisely helps you financially.

You do not have to have a large income to succeed with personal finances.

Our goal to pay off our mortgage in 5 years seems like it is an unattainable goal for a family living on one modest income. However, there are several factors that make this goal a realistic one for our family.

How does a young family living on a budget think they can pay off their mortgage in just 5 years?

1. We have no other debt.

We both graduated college debt free and we never have had credit card debt or car payments. The lack of these debts allowed us to focus on saving for a house downpayment upon graduation. 

2. We own our vehicles.

We began our marriage driving vehicles that our parents gifted us before college. We saved for years for ‘new’ vehicles and our savings coupled with the money from the sales of our old vehicles allowed us to pay cash. Our ‘new’ vehicles are both older models, I drive a 2004 model minivan and my husband drives a 2002 pickup.

3. We put 20% down on our home.

A 20% downpayment saves us from paying private mortgage insurance. And, the exciting part of a large downpayment meant that we owned 20% of our home the day we moved in!

4. We currently own almost 50% of our home.

Our 20% down payment coupled with regular extra principal payments for 2.5 years plus refinancing to a lower rate has really knocked down principal. We currently have paid almost 50% of the purchase price in the 4 years we’ve lived in our home. We believe we can buckle down and pay the remaining 50% in the next 5 years.

5. We bought a home below our price range.

We qualified for a mortgage amount that was nearly twice the amount of the purchase price of the home we’re in. Instead of buying a house at the top of our mortgage qualification range, we chose to purchase a modest house. Choosing to live in our smaller home frees up money each month to pay towards the principal.

6. We have budgeted extra principal payments.

We reworked our budget when we set this 5 year goal and have budgeted a couple hundred dollars each month to pay towards principal no matter what. Intentionally budgeting money towards the extra principal is playing a huge role in reaching our goal. 

7. We’re sticking to a budget.

We have a written budget and we’re sticking to it!  We’ve budgeted our entire marriage but we’ve had a tendency to cheat. We’ll overspend in certain categories and then move money around from other categories to cover our overspending. While we haven’t gone into debt doing this, we’ve been ‘stealing’ from other areas that could be used to pay extra towards our mortgage at the end of the month. We’re committed that when the money is gone out of the budget category, there will be no more spending.

8. Shopping is no longer a hobby.

Shopping at thrift and bargain stores used to be a hobby. We were finding all kind of great deals and ‘saving money’ on things we ‘needed’. If you stay out of stores, you won’t be tempted to spend! I’m convinced that succeeding financially has a lot to do with controlling consumer spending on smaller purchases.

We believe that paying off our mortgage in 5 years is possible for our family.

This is a stretch goal for us but we think we can reach the goal!

What’s your goal?

Are you trying to pay off your student loans? Finally ready to cut up the credit cards and get them paid off? Are you saving up for a house downpayment?

No matter where you are in your financial journey, the decisions you make today will have an impact on your future.

Set financial goals and work towards them.

Some goals may seem impossible today but with focus, discipline and a little frugality, they can be achieved.

Do you have financial goals? 

Creating Space in Your Home

We have a very small kitchen.

Our kitchen is functional but it’s lacking storage space. All of the cabinets hold our dishes, cups, pots, pans and bowls and there is little room for food storage. All of our food was being stored in a small cabinet in the kitchen that we call the pantry.

Existing Pantry

We’ve made this space work for the past 4 years we’ve lived in our home but as our children are growing, we’re needing to purchase more food.  We’ve been cramming the small cabinet full but didn’t have enough space to truly ‘stock the pantry’.

We needed pantry space in our home.

Of course, we could remodel our kitchen or purchase a large cabinet that would take up more floor space to serve as a larger pantry but both of these options would cost money that we don’t want to spend right now.

We decide to turn one of our hall closets into a pantry.

Our 1970s home is small but we do have 2 small closets in our hall.

One of the closets was considered mine and the other was my husband’s. My closet contained my sewing machine, art supplies, scrapbooks, yearbooks and other crafty things. My husband’s closet held his tech gear – cameras, tripods, cds, hard-drives and such.

We decided that the best thing for our family was for us combine the contents of these two closets into one and use the other closet for our pantry.

While our boys were visiting grandparents for a week, we emptied the contents of both closets into their bedroom and went through the contents.

Closet Contents

I went through pictures and old scrapbooks, purging items that had no real sentimental value. I moved art and craft supplies into our school cabinet that’s in our dining room. After I put my items back into the closet, there were 3 free shelves and half of the floor space available for John David’s things.

John David purged boxes (he’s always kept tech boxes), papers, cds, videotapes and cables. He ended up with a small pile of things to sell and a pile of items to bring to church to use (he does work in church production so these things will be useful there) as well as a lot of papers and boxes to recycle. And, we ended up with 2 bags of trash between us.


In the end, we merged the contents of our two closets into one and only put one small tote (that contains cables and other miscellaneous tech stuff) in the floor of the second closet which is now our storage pantry.

New Pantry

We now have a real pantry in our home. We didn’t spend any money or knock out any walls. We just spent a few hours clearing our home of items that were no longer useful to our family and created the space we needed.

Do you have a need for more space in your home? Could you create the space you need by clearing clutter?

My new eBook, Declutter: A Workbook to Rid Your Life of Excess will help you go through your home and create space by clearing your clutter. It’s available for purchase on Amazon!


When we bought our modest 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath brick ranch, we were a family of 3.

We paid thousands less than the initial house budget we had set and tens of thousands less than the mortgage amount we qualified for. 1,300 square feet was more than enough space for our family and we loved the large fenced in back yard.

Around the same time we purchased this home, we also started living minimally. We purged our already simplified home of excess, changed our shopping habits and minimized our wardrobes. We started realizing the benefits of living in a smaller space and living with less.

Continue reading on Smallish Blog where I’m guest posting today!

Mortgage Payoff Goal

Writing down goals is powerful and sharing those goals creates accountability.

We’ve been pretty open about our finances because we want to encourage others that it is possible to live well on one income.

We recently set some new financial goals with our big one being to pay our mortgage off early.

In March of 2011, we purchased our home. We put 20% down and financed the rest with a 30 year mortgage. We started making extra principal payments soon after we moved in, with the hope of paying off the mortgage earlier than 30 years.

We refinanced in early 2013 to a 15 year loan with a 3.25% interest rate. The monthly mortgage payment only went up $80 by doing this.

We strategically started paying $300 extra towards our principal each month because we didn’t want to be saddled with a mortgage for 15 years.

In late 2013, we stopped making extra principal payments and started saving the money because we wanted to make some improvements in our kitchen and laundry area. Thankfully we had that money saved because in early 2014, we had to replace our septic field lines (the joys of home ownership, our kitchen and laundry still haven’t been updated!)

Then in April 2014, we put our home on the market and continued saving the money that was budgeted as extra principal money.

Once we decided selling our home wasn’t the best move for our family, we stopped making the extra principal payments – we saved most of it but we also started dipping into that money for other things.

We started to have the attitude that since we’re living in a very affordable home, we can live a little and spend our money a little more freely. We lost sight of the goal of paying off our mortgage early.

In May 2015, we attended a Financial Learning Experience at our church led by Joe Sangl of I Was Broke, Now I’m Not.  We left the event ‘fired up’ again about our personal finances!

We took some time and wrote down some personal and financial goals for our family at the end of that weekend.

The big goal that we set was to pay our mortgage off in 5 years.

This is a bit of a stretch goal but we’re excited about the challenge and focused on achieving our goal.

To be honest, our 5 year goal looks impossible on paper but we know with a little creativity, frugality and focus we can reach our goal.

In the coming months, I’ll be updating you on our progress for accountability, sharing details on how we’re planning on paying off our mortgage in 5 years and posting about different ways we’re saving money to help us reach this goal.

*We’re sharing our story and this goal in a hope to encourage you in your quest for debt free living! We all have different circumstances due to consumer debts, student loans, mortgage amounts and income levels but we all can take steps to improve our finances. Setting financial goals is a great way to motivate you to work towards paying off debts, living within your means and inspiring you to set big goals, like paying your mortgage off early. No matter the state of your personal finances, you can take steps to turn things around!