Eleven months ago, I had mixed emotions as we sat down to create our first budget after setting a new, huge goal – paying off our house in two years. As excited as I was to begin this journey and knock out our very last debt, I admit that a part of me thought living on one income with no exceptions would be a long, drawn out chore.
It has been quite the opposite. Living on one income is easy when your mindset is in the right place and your “why” is big enough. I don’t want new furniture, new shoes and purses or a beach vacation nearly as much as I want the security of having a home that belongs to us and the knowledge that we are one step closer to gaining financial freedom. Over $600 per month will be freed up in our monthly budget once the house is paid off, and purchasing these smaller wants will be very attainable.
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Discipline. That’s all it takes. Not to say that our zero-based budget hits that perfect $0.00 at the end of the month or that we don’t overspend in certain areas. We overspent by more than $100 in eating out this month alone, which is literally flushing money down the toilet, but hey. We’re debt free except our home, we’re far ahead of our target date for meeting our goal, and we love to eat. I don’t feet guilty when we overspend. It just means that we chose to spend money we budgeted for other things on eating in restaurants instead.
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Since we’re on the subject of how we used our money last month, let’s look at how much debt we were able to pay off!
We put a wrap on July with $3,254.85 paid in mortgage principal. This brings us to $31,291.55 paid so far in 2017, and a total of $45,804.16 since beginning our journey in September 2016!
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If you’re new to my blog, the way we’re doing this is by budgeting each month, including the standard monthly mortgage payment, using solely my income. I am a salary employee, so it is much easier to build a budget on my predictable earnings. Every penny my hard working, hourly-paid husband makes, including overtime, is used as principal payments on our mortgage. Going against the grain of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, we chose to halt contributions to our daughter’s college funding, as well as lower our retirement contributions to just enough to receive our employer matches – 5% for my husband and 4% for me.
This past month gave us several unexpected expenses. Our daughter and I both needed dental work costing over $300 total, and I had to replace two tires on my car. My husband and I hit a deer on our way home from my Granny’s Independence Day celebration, and thankfully, we, the deer and the car were fine. All that needed to be replaced was the headlight housing. After ordering and receiving the wrong one, my frustrated husband suggested half-jokingly that we just get a new bulb and put tape on the housing, to which I laughed and said with over $13K sitting in the bank, there is absolutely no way we are doing that.
I finished reading The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, which was not only enlightening but extremely reassuring. It was awesome to see that the frugal habits we’re practicing now are shared by the millionaires of our country.
My birthday was on the 17th and my parents’ birthdays were on the 11th and 14th, so we all celebrated by taking a motorcycle ride to the beautiful Fall Creek Falls in Spencer, TN, and my birthday cake was in the form of my absolute favorite Coca-Cola cake from Cracker Barrel. It was a wonderful, inexpensive way to spend my birthday.
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I’m so excited to be 29, the age that we will become 100% debt free. We have $31,331.56 left to go, and I can’t wait to see how soon we can get it knocked out!
[Edit: We did it; we’re 100% debt free! Check out my very last mortgage post here.]
Where are you on your debt-free journey? Let me know in the comments below!