How I'm paying off my mortgage in 10 years (and you can, too)


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My family are looking forward to our best new year's celebration ever.

In 2008 we set ourselves a goal: to own our own home within 10 years, so we could enjoy life without a mortgage. We've been pouring two-thirds of our income into home loan repayments ever since, and January 2018 will see us making our last one.

Don't get me wrong - it hasn't always been easy.

heidi farrelly how i'm paying off my mortgage in 10 years

Life doesn't always play fair, and there have been car breakdowns, IVF treatments and family illnesses that have threatened to derail us. But through it all we've stuck to our guns and pulled off what many feel is the impossible.

There seems to be this belief that owning your own home is no longer possible for young people, certainly not in 10 years. People assume we had help from family or are in really high-paying jobs but that's definitely not the case.

We were on a single income for quite a while, and even now I only work two days a week. My pay covers our bills and day-to-day expenses, and most of my husband's wage goes towards the mortgage.

Just because we don't spend a lot doesn't mean we miss out on life, though. There are so many incredible things you can do without spending a cent! We go on camping holidays instead of staying in hotel, we take picnics to the beach instead of eating out, and coffee with friends usually means stopping by their homes.

The best bit? Anyone can do what we've done!

My top tips include:

  1. Know where your money goes. Record a four-week snapshot of everything you spend, and write a sustainable budget based on your findings.
  2. Start making extra mortgage payments. Even $10 a week makes a big difference over the life of your loan.
  3. Look for unneeded direct debits such as Spotify or Netflix subscriptions and redirect the money you save to your mortgage.
  4. Don't redraw your mortgage for anything!
  5. Explore your own backyard for a while instead of travelling abroad.

Life's too short to be chained to a mortgage. Start taking small steps now and it will make a huge difference to your future.

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Heidi Farrelly is the author of best-selling books Mortgage Free and Brilliant Budgets and Despicable Debt.
August 17, 2017 11.36am

We did the same thing but when we were younger we were able to pay off our mortgage in 7 years. We made a lot of sacrifices though. Was it worth it? Completely worth it. Only thing I would add to Heidi's advice is this - Once you pay off your mortgage either upgrade to a more superior location or invest the mortgage payment money. It's really easy to just fritter it away. We upgraded and invested so wisely that now in retirement we are self funded retirees living the life we always dreamed of. Mind you, we still usually spend wisely and take a thermos instead of going to the coffee shop when we are out. You just have to get more creative on where you drink your cuppa from the thermos. Our all time best cuppas have been with family and friends on the banks of the local river. Our best occasional splurge was in the Alps in Norway, eating the biggest, best, chocolate dipped icecream ever.

August 17, 2017 11.44am

Great story, CJ, and what an amazing splurge!

We hope it was all the sweeter for knowing how hard you had worked.

- Money team

Heidi Farrelly
August 19, 2017 9.54am

Your thermos made me laugh, CJ, because we do the same thing. We sit on the beach watching the waves and know we haven't missed out at all. We just got better seats than any cafe I've ever been to. Enjoy your retirement! (-:

October 24, 2017 8.45am

Hey Heidi. Congratulations on your excellent achievement. I have some questions and if you'd be ab;e to answer, it would be greatly appreciated. What loan amount was your mortgage from 2008 on a house at Engadine? How does it compare to what people are forced to borrow today for a Sydney property ($800,000+)? And based on your current repayment rate, how long would it actually take to repay today's mortgage amount?

October 24, 2017 9.40am

This is amazing!! Any chance of some statistics, like what the purchase price was, what the property value was at purchase and then at completion of mortgage repayments?

Heidi Farrelly
March 19, 2018 8.16pm

Hi Connie. We paid market value for it in 2008 which was $410,000. It's now worth around $900,000. Hope that helps. xx

Heidi Farrelly
March 19, 2018 8.23pm

Thanks Stu!
We paid $410,000 but had saved a 20% deposit. An $800,000 mortgage would have taken us almost the full 30 years as we couldn't have made the extra repayments we did. If I had to rebuy from scratch now I wouldn't buy into this market. I would buy elsewhere as an investment, rent it out and make extra payments as well and rent where I wanted to live. Then when I could afford to make extra repayments I would tackle the Sydney mortgage. Hope this helps, Heidi xx