Do you want to own your home outright? Is it a goal of yours to never make a mortgage payment ever again? For most of us, being mortgage-free seems like the stuff dreams are made of. However, it is possible. Thanks to these top mortgage payoff tips, it's not only possible, but you may be able to pay off your mortgage faster than you ever imagined.
To learn more about how you can shave decades off your mortgage debt, I sat down with Deacon Hayes from Well Kept Wallet. He shares what motivated him to become mortgage-free in five years and some of the strategies he used. After learning what worked for him and his family, explore more of our tactical mortgage payoff tips to see what might be the next best step for you.
Your mortgage-free journey starts today!
Find the Motivation to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster
For Deacon Hayes and his family, financial independence isn't a dream. It's their reality. But they weren't always at the pinnacle of their money game.
In fact, at the start of their journey, Deacon and his wife faced $52,000 of consumer debt. Their debt consisted of credit card debt, plus car loans and student loans. Initially, they saw it as how they lived their lives. In fact, Deacon called it “normal living” debt.
However, when the couple married and combined their finances, they were determined to create new habits. In an effort to carve out new ways to live life with money, they paid off their debt in 18 months.
Afterward, they started thinking about growing their family. They realized that for them, that meant they wanted to buy a home. Once they became homeowners, they ended up with a mortgage of about $160,000. Their goal was to pay off their mortgage faster than the length of their loan.
How Deacon Paid Off His Mortgage Faster (25 Years Faster!)
Deacon and his wife got creative. Initially, they were a dual-income household, so that gave them more leverage.
Plus, Deacon found himself saying yes to side hustles. With a friend in the food conference industry, Deacon had the opportunity to man a conference booth on occasion throughout the year that put a few extra thousand dollars in his pocket. He also grew his business on the side. Altogether this extra work allowed Deacon and his wife to become mortgage-free in five years.
Deacon is quick to point out that not everyone is in a position to pay off a mortgage in five years. However, it is possible for virtually everyone to pay off a mortgage early. To do that, Deacon says that couples should take a hard look at each line item in the budget. In addition to reducing expenses, explore other ways to earn income. Deacon says when you commit to living with less debt, it’s a mindset shift.
If you are ready to commit to less debt and less stress, check out these additional tips to pay off your mortgage early.
20 Tips Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster
If you want to pay off your mortgage early, there are a myriad of tools to help you to chip away at it. The most important thing to note is that by becoming debt-free other than your mortgage, money can flow more freely through your accounts. That means money isn’t being siphoned away by other debt.
That’s why many people, including Deacon, tackle other debt first. Once you’re ready to eliminate your mortgage, try out these mortgage payoff tips.
1. Explore Side Hustles
Side hustles are ubiquitous in personal finance these days. But they don’t have to be all-consuming. As Deacon points out, it’s entirely possible to have a seasonal or even one-time side hustle. What’s important is making sure that the extra income you generate gets set aside for your mortgage (and taxes!).
2. Add Overtime
Side hustles aren't the only way to earn extra income. If you want to grow your earnings but aren't sure where to start with a side hustle, you might actually turn your attention to your main job. Some people, like Keith Robinson, actually pick up overtime hours or work unusual schedules. It's a temporary sacrifice that affords a lot of freedom in the long run.
3. Increase Your Main Income
There is nothing wrong with looking into gig work or entrepreneurship to supplement your income. However, many people are often overlooking an obvious way to add more income: grow your salary.
Sometimes, it makes sense to pursue additional certifications or other credentials. Other times, it might mean sitting down with management for a performance review or negotiating a raise. This is also why job hopping has become so popular with millennials. Some of them saw an increase of 5% or even 10% of their salary just for switching companies while still doing the same job!
Clutter is a distraction. It can also keep you from truly enjoying your home. Taking time to declutter your house can make living in it much more enjoyable. It can also help you own your home outright much sooner.
You can list items on eBay or Poshmark, or you can try local markets through Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp. Whatever you earn from your decluttering efforts, put toward your mortgage.
5. Adopt Minimalist Practices
For some people like Jill Sirianni, tiny living spaces can fast track your debt payoff. But if tiny homes, motor homes, trailers, and even reconfigured buses aren't your style, you can still live a more minimalist life.
Buy only as much home as you truly need, and then be thoughtful about what you put in it. These are both powerful ways to trim expenses, allowing you to put more money toward your mortgage.
6. Apply Your Tax Refund
The idea of a tax refund is hotly debated. Some people dislike them, saying it is an interest-free loan to the government. Other people appreciate not having to come to terms with possibly owing money at tax time.
No matter where you land on the idea of tax refunds, should you find yourself with one, putting it toward your mortgage could shave off a significant amount of your overall principal. This works for other unexpected windfalls as well.
7. Start an Online Business
Deacon used this strategy successfully to pay off mortgages early on multiple properties. While you can’t expect to set up a profitable business overnight, you can be strategic with your business income once you start to see a profit. In addition to reinvesting money into your business, having a goal like paying down your mortgage early with the profits you generate can keep you motivated.
Some online businesses to consider:
8. Negotiate Recurring Bills
Cutting cable is one of the first pieces of advice anyone gives. But you can only eliminate so many bills. That’s where negotiation comes in.
There’s a good chance that when you first set up your internet, you snagged a promotional rate. Even if you didn’t, they may have one for new customers now.
Picking up the phone (or clicking over to an online chat!) to inquire about a better rate can land extra money in your pocket on a monthly basis. After you inquire about your WiFi, you can tackle other bills, like car insurance, for added savings.
9. Manage Money Better with a Budget
Setting a budget and then tracking your expenses have a powerful impact on your money. Like it or not, many of us have small leaks in our bank accounts and wallets that go unnoticed. Keeping an eye on where your money goes often helps people rein in their impulse spending.
As you get better about following a budget, you might very well notice extra money at the end of each month. If you find yourself with extra money thanks to your new budget habit, put it toward your mortgage.
10. Save On Your Phone Bill
For a long time, we paid too much for cell phones. Then, we made the switch to a low cost carrier. For us, using Tello was the right call. We saved a ton and didn't sacrifice any service in our area. It's been a big win for our family!
11. Switch Grocery Stores
An object in motion tends to stay in motion. A shopper at Kroger tends to stay at Kroger. Examining our habits can often unearth savings.
If you have a discount grocer in your area but you haven't checked it out, you might be able to uncover some significant savings. Even if you can't replace all of your shopping with the goods at Aldi, swapping just your staples can free up more money to put toward your mortgage.
12. Set Boundaries with Cash Envelopes
One way to set boundaries around your spending is to use a cash envelope system. By using cash envelopes, you establish very clear boundaries around each budget item.
For example, once your fun money envelope is empty, there is no more money for takeout. If you use a system like cash envelopes, any money leftover at the end of the month can be applied to your next mortgage payment.
13. Save with Better Small Habits
When trying to move the needle on a mortgage, it seems like you need to throw hundreds or thousands of dollars at it to truly make an impact. That’s not the case. By adopting new small habits, you can actually make quite a dent in your debt.
One example Deacon gives is that he and his family only order water at restaurants now. That means they save $10-$20 per dine-out experience. Whether it’s opting for agua or another small switch, the key is to make sure you save the difference.
14. Explore a 15-Year Mortgage
The most common mortgage loans involve a repayment timeline of either 15 years or 30 years. Many people speak out in favor of 30-year mortgages. However, if you are looking to become mortgage-free faster, a 15-year mortgage may be the better choice.
Because it allowed Nicole and I to pay significantly less interest, a 15-year mortgage was the right choice for us.
15. Consider Refinancing
Refinancing your mortgage can go a long way toward helping you pay it off faster. Namely, a mortgage refi can help you pay less in interest and put more money toward your principal.
A mortgage refi isn’t for everyone, though. Make sure to consider your situation carefully to know if and when it makes sense to refinance your mortgage.
16. Learn About Recasting
Recasting is a much simpler process than refinancing. It also usually doesn't come with much of a cost, if there is one at all.
A mortgage recast is when you make a lump sum payment toward your mortgage. Then, the mortgage company re-amortizes your loan. That's a complicated way to say they recalculate your numbers based on the smaller principal, and usually uncover a smaller monthly payment!
17. Send Windfalls to Your Mortgage
It can be really easy to get carried away with the excitement of unexpected money! For a lot of people, that's a recipe for impulse spending. Instead, make a deal with yourself (and your partner if you have one!) to put any windfalls toward your mortgage–or at least a portion of them.
Sending 50% of your tax refund or bonus to your mortgage can shrink it a lot faster! And if you free up a line item in your budget (maybe your kids are finally out of daycare or braces!), send that money toward your mortgage, too!
18. Live on Half
This isn’t easy, and it isn’t even always possible. However, as you and your partner grow your income, aim to live on half.
This goal keeps lifestyle inflation at bay and it also allows you to put extra money toward your mortgage. To see what living on half can do for you, explore how Kelly Smith used this 50% strategy to push toward financial freedom faster.
19. Remember Your Why
Many people like Deacon have incredible mortgage payoff stories. Yet, when you’re in the middle of your debt freedom journey, it can sometimes be hard to stay motivated. That’s why remembering your reasons for pursuing mortgage-free life is so powerful.
It was a pivotal step in our mortgage-free journey, so make sure you keep your “why” at the forefront of your mind.
20. Plan Your Celebration in Advance
If the journey seems long, remember where you're headed. Mortgage freedom, of course, but you can also start to daydream about some fun ways to celebrate paying off your mortgage. That way, when motivation runs thin, you can keep pushing through.
Key Takeaways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster
Are you ready to become mortgage free? Oftentimes, people are eager to begin the journey but are nervous about where to start.
One of the best things you can do is spend time reviewing your finances. You can try out a variety of top budgeting apps or create a spreadsheet of your own. After you get a pulse on your earning and spending habits, start incorporating some of these mortgage payoff tips into your routine.
You won't become mortgage-free instantly, but your progress will snowball faster than you think with these tips.
Are you working on paying off your mortgage faster? How are you doing it?
Please let us know in the comments below.