You’re mortgage free! Congratulations! This was no small feat. Your hard work and dedication are deserving of confetti! But how do you celebrate a mortgage payoff?
After all, paying off your mortgage is only something a fraction of the US population has done.
My family recently paid off the $195,000 mortgage on our home and we were asking ourselves this very question. We thought about painting our front door red or throwing a party with some close friends. After some spirited fun back and forth with my wife, we landed on four fun ideas that we could do together as a family.
Here are some ideas to celebrate the big mortgage payoff day:
Top 8 Ways to Celebrate a Mortgage Payoff
1. Mortgage Burning
There’s nothing more exciting than building a bonfire, roasting marshmallows and setting fire to the documents associated with the largest debt you’ll ever have in your life.
Before popping the bubbly and burning these once “important documents”, make sure you’ve completed all of the necessary steps in the mortgage pay off process. Once those details are all buttoned up, go pyro on these papers.
Making a copy of the documents isn’t a bad idea … especially if you want to have some more fun (hint: keep reading)!
2. Mortgage Wall
As Jim Morrison would say, “Break on through to the other side!”
- Tape all of your mortgage papers together and create a large paper wall. If your small kids are going to run through it, go with at least 5 papers tall by 5 papers wide. For adults, you could probably go with 8-10 papers tall. Given the amount of documents associated with your mortgage, this should probably be easy!
- Next you’ll want to adhere the paper wall to two long sticks (think broom handles or tiki torches).
- With two people holding each side, encourage your kids, your spouse or even yourself to bust through the wall!
By literally and figuratively destroying your mortgage and breaking through, you’re declaring that this is a new day for you and your family.
3. Mortgage Piñata
Nothing says “party” more than a piñata. Whether you’re young or old, it’s fun to grab a bat and whack that candy filled party symbol.
To celebrate your mortgage freedom, create a piñata out of your mortgage papers!
- Blow up a balloon and cover it in plastic wrap.
- Cut your mortgage into thin strips.
- Mix one cup of flour and one cup of water. You may need to double or triple this amount depending on the size of your balloon.
- Dip mortgage papers in the flour-water mixture and place them on the balloon.
- Set your paper mache covered balloon off to the side for the night to dry.
- Wait 24 hours or until it is as hard as a rock.
- Once the paper is hard, stick a pin in the paper and pop the balloon.
- Cut open the top of the piñata and insert candy, toys or anything you want.
- Hang the piñata from a tree (or off the end of a broom handle like we did because it was too cold outside).
- Let your family whack that piñata until all of the treats come flying out!
It's quite the metaphor actually; by destroying the mortgage, the whole family gets rewarded.
4. Mortgage Target Practice
This one is as straight forward as they come.
- Head to your local shooting range
- Put the mortgage papers in place of a target
- Take aim and fire away!
Go with your spouse or your friends and everyone can take turns blasting away at the mortgage. Extra points if you can hit the interest rate!
Those are the ideas that might wife and I came up with. After we paid off our mortgage and shared these ideas, we received a ton more that I want to share with you now.
So let’s jump to #5!
5. Paint Your Door Red
Evidently, it is a Scottish tradition to paint your front door red when you’ve paid off your house.
I’m all about traditions and celebrations so I love this idea. This is something I brought up to Nicole, but she didn’t like it from a home design perspective. Eh, pick your battles right?
If you and your spouse are in sync with the idea, you could make this a fun tradition with the entire family. Have the kids help you paint the door. While you’re at it, remind them why you’re doing it. Hopefully they will remember this moment and create their own mortgage free life in the future.
6. Place an Eagle Outside of Your House
I love this comment from B.R. Brady, a reader of my blog. They said, “We have a few friends who come from a French Canadian culture. They have a way to show others that their mortgage has been paid in full, similar to the Scottish culture of painting your front door red. My friends find a metal replica of a flying eagle and attach it over a garage door or an open space on the front of the house. I just located a nice brass eagle and will be attaching it over our garage door.”
What a fantastic way to symbolize the freedom that your family is experiencing now that you’re mortgage free!
As BR said, if you don’t want it outside your house, you could find a place for it inside as well.
7. Have the Kids Pay Off the Mortgage
If you have kids, consider this incredible idea from another blog reader:
“We are about to pay ours off next month. Family of 4 with 2 kids ages 10 and 6.
My plan is to bring the mortgage down to $4, then have each member in our family go to the bank with their own $1 so that each of us can make a contribution to the final payment of the mortgage.
I’ve also worked out with the local bank branch that when we come in they will make a big deal about it and give us an official-looking certificate (I made it up) that indicates that we paid off our mortgage.
I just want it to be a memorable moment for the kids so they can remember the excitement and hopefully live a financially healthy life as well. The bank experience will be followed by a fun dinner and ceremonial popping of some sparking grape juice!”
What a way to include the family. Talk about generational wealth! I love this idea.
8. Give Back
Now that you’re mortgage free, you have the ability to use your money how you please. Here’s one way another blog reader, with the pseudonym, “plainjane”, decided to use her money:
“We celebrated paying off our mortgage early by donating the amount of a mortgage payment to some people & organizations that help people who for various reasons are in worse shape than we are.
And we have done that every year since on the anniversary of the month we paid it off.”
Honestly, That is THE best way to celebrate in my opinion. There are so many people in this world that are less fortunate than we are.
When we rise up to a higher financial level, I believe we need to start thinking about how we can use our situation for the greater good.
While we weren’t as generous as our friend “plainjane”, our family did change our charitable giving from 1% to 5% over the past few years. We also give another 5% to family, friends and neighbors in need. This is our own form of 10% giving that we’ve created as a family.
Over time, I hope to grow this generosity and impact.
Final Thoughts on Ways to Celebrate a Mortgage Payoff
I’m sure there are dozens of more ways to celebrate paying off your mortgage early. That’s what so fun about sharing these ideas with you all. I know we’ll get so much more back in the comments.
So please do me a favor and share what you’d do if you were to pay off your mortgage early.
Or if you have paid off your mortgage already, please share how you celebrated!
I’d love to hear from you AND your ideas may just inspire others to become mortgage free as well!
We have a few friends who come from a French Canadian culture. They have a way to show others that their mortgage has been paid in full, similar to the Scottish culture of painting your front door red. My friends find a metal replica of a flying eagle and attach it over a garage door or an open space on the front of the house. I just located a nice brass eagle and will be attaching it over our garage door.
I love this! I immediately looked at my front door and thought, “could we paint it red?”
And the brass eagle is a perfect symbol of the freedom you have with a paid-off house. Thank you for sharing this!
Just paid off our mortgage today! First and second houses- 30 yr mortgages. Refinances, credit cards, car loans, ALL the mistakes you can make financially. Third house we got a 15 yr mortgage and paid it off in under 10 years. Gave 3 paid for cars, no credit cards and cash flowing college for our kids. Our goal was to pay it off before we turned 50 and actually did it before we turned 49. We have 3 kids who watched us plan for this day and we want to leave a legacy of No Debt and Financial Freedom. It’s a GREAT day!
That is incredible Beth! What an incredible milestone in your family’s financial journey!
Mortgage pinata??!?! You KNOW I am doing that once our mortgage is gone! (Nothing like candy to motivate this gal.) Our situation is kind of weird since we rent our house and have a mortgage on a farm/rental property in another state, but we are hoping that the rent will pay down the mortgage quickly and help us build another unit on the same property. Love your blog, by the way. I have felt for a long time that young families with kids have been on the fringes of the FIRE community. It’s nice to see this particular angle being addressed.
I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the blog! I love promoting young family financial empowerment 🙂
Please send pictures of your piñata when you’re there!
Your additional unit sounds like a smart idea! We’re looking at buying our first rental this year.
We are about to pay ours off next month. Family of 4 with 2 kids ages 10 and 6. My plan is to bring the mortgage down to $4, then have each member in our family go to the bank with their own $1 so that each of us can make a contribution to the final payment of the mortgage. I’ve also worked out with the local bank branch that when we come in they will make a big deal about it and give us an official-looking certificate (I made it up) that indicates that we paid off our mortgage. I just want it to be a memorable moment for the kids so they can remember the excitement and hopefully live a financially healthy life as well. The bank experience will be followed by a fun dinner and ceremonial popping of some sparking grape juice!
Loved reading through the other ideas. We are paying off right before Christmas, so I think its a great time of year to establish the annual celebration and allow the kids to help choose how we can use that money to be generous to others.
To continue the memory, as we begin to cash flow some renovations, I think it will be cool to create a time capsule somewhere. I’d like to take some mortgage papers and write PAID IN FULL in big red marker. Then have the kids each write a story about what that means to them. The capsule will be a fun reminder to us in future conversations, and maybe future owners will find it and be encouraged by the words of youthful perspective on financial freedom.
Good luck to all that are making the decision to work towards the goal of paying off their house!
I love these ideas! You are going to have some incredible memories when this mortgage is paid off.
That is so fun that your bank is open to supporting you with the family celebration too. Check back in with us so we can give you a big congratulations!!
We celebrated paying off our mortgage early by donating the amount of a mortgage payment to some people & organizations that help people who for various reasons are in worse shape than we are.
And we have done that every year since on the anniversary of the month we paid it off.
That is THE best way to celebrate. There are so many people in this world that are less fortunate than we are. When we rise up to a higher financial level, we need to start thinking about how we can use our situation for the greater good. Thank you for this.
Very cool! Great way to get the kids involved and show them what a great accomplishment it is to pay off the mortgage.
Thank you! We had a lot of fun together
We had a mortgage burning party and included all our friends and family. We roasted marshmallows! It was a blast.
Everyone loves marshmallows, right!? Here’s to mortgage freedom!
Congratulations! My mother, the breadwinner in our family growing up since my dad was handicapped from the Vietnam War, recently paid off their $530,000 house, so I understand the excitement (she used to work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day for many years, so I am really, really proud of her). Before burning all of your paperwork, make sure you keep a copy of the following: the original deed of trust once you get it from the mortgage holder, “satisfaction of mortgage” letter, land release (you can check with the country clerk or registrar’s office a few months after you’ve paid off your home for this), title report (to make sure there aren’t any issues with the title in the future), and HUD statement (proof to the IRS of what you paid for the property if you decide to sell later).
Way to go Mom! That’s incredible! She must feel really proud of that accomplishment. You are so right on burning the correct papers ? We made sure to keep the crucial ones and got rid of the unimportant ones (cover sheets, payment statements, interest Term sheets, etc). Thank you for pointing that out so we have it in the comments!
I like the mortgage wall best, but the firing range idea looks like the most fun.
In terms of celebrating paying off a mortgage (early or at all) I think about what to do with the extra cashflow… I’d be dull though with putting it towards investments or other debt if I still had some.
I’m dull like you Joe! We’re saving up for our first rental property in cash ? ?
Looking back, I never celebrated my financial milestones – but I should have.
Paying off student loans, getting a positive net worth, paying off a mortgage, finishing off a 529 or reaching FI are worthy celebrations!
It’s never too late to celebrate those milestones! Life is for living – let’s eat, drink and be merry … Congrats on reaching FI! That’s so freakin’ cool!
And here I am planning to pop the bubbly with my wife as we finally get the mortgage down below 500,000…
Though if the new tax plan holds I am going to have to re-evaluate the “good debt/bad debt”-worthiness of it starting next year…
That’s cause for celebration in my book! Enjoy that bubbly!
Congratulations! Paying off the mortgage, for me, provided the biggest sense of relief. It was one of my major goals as my parents lost our family home to bankruptcy when I was young. I swore that I would never let that happen to me, but I didn’t really celebrate… just a massive exhale.
My ‘celebration’ consisted of re-directing the monthly mortgage payment amount from my checking account to my brokerage account… the celebration continues each month now as the funds are automatically transferred to my retirement savings! 🙂
I completely understand where you’re coming from Ty. I love being mortgage free because I know that we’ll never lose this house. It makes me proud, happy and (as you described above) more relaxed.
By the way, that brokerage account of yours must be going strong in this excellent market!
Mathematically, I would have been much wealthier had a I kept the mortgage and invested that money instead. It turns out that being mortgage free was a very expensive investment in ‘peace of mind’. Damn hindsight! 🙂
It’s been an incredible ride in the market lately. It would have made more mathematical sense for me to put all my dough in the market too. All that matters now is what we do today. Can’t change the past!
You deserve to celebrate. That is a great accomplishment.
The target practice made me laugh. Make sure you put enough rounds in it so it does not come back to life.
Haha! Die! Die you mortgage!
I love the bonfire idea!
My fiancée and I plan to move down south in 3 years and then buy our starter home in cash within 5 years. Although we don’t plan to have a mortgage, I can imagine printing out monthly bank statements over the course of 3-5 years that showed our intense savings hustle and then throw them in the fire pit!
I loved the pictures by the way!
Starting without a mortgage is even better! Nice work saving Sean!!
We made the first page of the mortgage into a paper boat and set it on fire in our pool. Had a Viking funeral.
This is epic! I love this idea. I can see you with a bow and arrow shooting the flaming arrow across your pool right now. ?
Congrats on paying off your mortgage! I completely agree we should celebrate our successes…
What is your next financial goal?
Thanks Erik! We’re working on saving up our dollars for our first rental property. We hope to lock it down in Q4 2018!
I love it. Why not combine all your ideas for max fun. Start with the wall, followed by target practice, build the piñata with the scraps, then burn the leftovers!
Perfect! Sounds like a new video needs to be produced!
So if you ever need someone to run through your next mortgage I can make my services available. Congrats!!
Haha! I’ll let you know. Maybe when we get into rental properties we’ll do it all over again… or the debt free route. Still haven’t decided!
Congratulations! I like the idea of painting your door a different color. It could be a secret FI society symbol. Your door is magenta? Ah! You’ve paid off your mortgage. Sun burt orange door? Oh! I know you’re are FI wink, wink.
I love it! A FIRE colored-door! Great idea.
Congrats – It’s a fun celebration to have!
Thanks Rocky! The kids had a blast and so did we. Onto the next challenge!
What’s the next challenge? We paid off our mortgage and now save the money. But not sure what to do next 😂
Oh how exciting! Do you have a financial independence plan?
Very fun ideas! Congratulations on paying off your mortgage … that is a huge accomplishment!
Thank you so much! We were looking for ways to include the kids so they could remember this day. Hopefully it’ll inspire them to do the same 🙂
Creative ideas, Andy. I love the paper wall. Looks like you all had so much fun. Yum, marshmallows!
Thanks Amy! It was a blast 🙂