Four years ago our daughter was in kindergarten and I took a part-time bakery job to get a little more income rolling in (my take on Dave Ramsey’s ‘get a job delivering pizzas’). We were watching our grocery expenses (beans and rice, as Dave says) and throwing everything we had at the mortgage which was ticking down into the $20-30,000 range.
We got to the point where we were looking at our emergency fund and savings and said to ourselves: “What return are we getting on the savings vs. what is the interest costing us on our mortgage?” When we were below $20,000, we decided to take a chunk of savings and pay our mortgage off (of course we left enough to cover home ownership-type emergency expenses).
Getting it actually paid off was interesting! We had to call the mortgage company and get a final payoff amount. We had a limited number of hours to get a cashier’s check from the local bank and get the whole thing sent via express service to the mortgage company. They wanted every last dime of interest, you can be sure! Our local banking staff were excited for us, and they waived the fees for the cashier’s check.
The next day we went right back to rebuilding our savings, and we haven’t paid interest ever since! Staying out of debt has had a huge effect on our family’s financial future. Our accomplishment is something we share readily with our daughter, and we hope it will be an experience she can look back on when she makes her own financial decisions for college and beyond. We will celebrate as a family today with breakfast out (we are off work and school by chance today), a special dinner, and family time.
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