How Our Basement Renovation Will Help Us Become Mortgage Free

Is it 2019 already?

Looking back at 2018, the year definitely got chaotic towards the end. I wish we could say we ended on a high note, but we didn't.

We had several loved ones dealing with serious health issues and a couple of weeks ago, we went to a funeral.

Obviously, it hasn't been a joyous season, but it has been a reflective one.

While I haven't written much recently (following my own advice about paring down to essentials), we have been simplifying.

It has been tremendously helpful this past year. Paying off debts has freed us up to be able to make those trips to be with our friends and family as needed.

Not having the burden of those payments hanging over us has also allowed us to be able to take time off to just recharge and reset.

To be honest, reflecting on what's happened these last few months is on some level inspiring.

You don't want to waste time anymore. You see how important it is to cherish those around you, your health, and it really pushes you to define what you truly value.

Looking ahead to 2019, it's affected our plans for this year and beyond.

Our 2019 Goals

There are a ton of things we want to do, but we're keeping it down to three main goals.

I found that trying to tackle too much at once is the fast path to burnout.

What I like to do instead is focus on a few goals. If we knock them out sooner than planned, great.

For now, this is what is on our plate:

  • Decide on a plan to pay off our mortgage early
  • Save for a replacement for our family car
  • Get fit and run a 5k obstacle course (which means optimizing our food spending for healthier (and still tasty) meals)

Okay so technically the last one is my personal goal, but I'm hoping to gently nudge my husband to join in with me.

Our Plan to Be Mortgage Free

With no car or student loans now, paying off our mortgage early is one of our major goals going forward.

(Right now, we’re looking at $130k on the balance.)

Now the tricky part is figuring out how aggressive to be on it.

If were just me, I'd go full throttle on it. But….

It's a family effort which means we all have a say.

We're looking for a sustainable speed that will allow us to enjoy this FI journey.

So we're going to knock it out faster, just not in 3-5 years.

If you're looking to speed up your mortgage payoff, but you're worried that you don't have enough of dent, please know that every little bit helps.

To give you an idea of what extra payments can do, here’s an easy way we’re shaving off the mortgage.

So when we got the loan we started small with the extra payments, rounding up to the next hundred dollars.

A small blip in our monthly cash flow, but it’s going to knock off about five years (and save us just under $20,000 in interest!).

We love that our cash flow still has wiggle room.

The question is, how much do we shoot for?

We both want to have a consistent plan that will allow us to knock this debt out while still reaching our other goals (and have some fun).

After using Andrew’s awesome Mortgage Free spreadsheets to run some ideas and review the numbers, we think we found it.

You may remember last year we renovated our basement. It ended up costing us a little over $11,000.

Even though we had to keep our spending in check to save that amount upfront (among other goals), neither of us felt deprived.

So here’s our 2019 mortgage plan – we’re shooting for $11,000 in extra payments and testing out a quarterly payment system.

If this works and we keep this system up going forward, we’ll turn our 30-year mortgage into an 11-year one and save over $62,000 in interest payments!

As nerdy as it looks in this post, we are really thrilled about this prospect.

As I mentioned, to do we need to keep our spending in check so every month I’m doing a challenge to gamify the savings.

This month is the Zero Day Challenge. All through January, I’m tracking our spending on a daily basis.

It’s a simple challenge, but it’s effective. David did this so he could get his spending under control. Thanks to this challenge, he was able to cut back on over $18,000 of expenses!

I’ll start sharing my numbers on Instagram if you want to follow along.

So there’s our big goal for 2019, it’s kind of scary and exciting which is a sweet spot for me. I think it’ll push us to be smart with our spending so we can knock out that mortgage faster.

If you’re thinking about paying off your mortgage and want to run the numbers, definitely check out the spreadsheets Andy created in his Mortgage Free Master Plan.

Your Take on Goals and Being Mortgage Free

There you have it – our plan for 2019 and our mortgage. I'd love to get your take. What's on your to do list?

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