If I can do it, you can do it, too – Sounds easy but is it really? Don’t you love to hate this line? Let’s not kid ourselves. Things like losing that spare tire on your body or becoming a guru or master in your chosen field are never quick and easy. They require a long-term commitment, relentless efforts and possibly lots of swearing (physically and verbally) before you can cross that finishing line. What about paying off a mortgage? It’s even more painful! Don’t despair yet, there’s a way even for a non-risk taker, an average income earner like myself. It’s hard but achievable.
I won’t bore you with too many numbers here. Basically, I took out a 30-year standard variable home loan back in 2006. It’s been 12 years since but fingers crossed this time next year, I’ll have saved up enough funds to pay off my mortgage – 17 years faster than the loan term. OK, I admit it’s only a prediction so anything can happen in the next 12 months. Who knows if the world market will be hit by another Global Financial Crisis (GFC) like the one in 2008 which led to a severe economic downturn, bankruptcies and unemployment everywhere. Been there, done that and survived the financial storm. If GFC in 2008 was the worst thing that has ever happened to us in the last decade, what’s to fear in the future? Here I’m in 2018, 10 years down the road, I’m well ahead on the mortgage repayments and moving closer to clearing the final hurdle. Sounds like a sweet victory in waiting but if anyone asks me what does it take to get there? I’ll say it without hesitation: Sacrifice and lots of it. Wait! Don’t get turned off by it and throw in the towel that quickly. Things do get better.
What are the key measures that I’ve taken (or sacrifices that I’ve made) to help pay off my mortgage faster?
- Eat two meals instead of three per day every day. Have breakfast, dinner only and no lunch in between. Initially, I did this out of pure laziness as I couldn’t be bothered preparing all the lunches at home. Changing my daily meal routine to such a way wasn’t something I had to adjust or get used to, it just fit my lifestyle perfectly. So, overall it wasn’t a hard thing to do. Also, I avoid buying take-away foods or eating out. Over time the cost can add up very quickly.
- Take public transport to work. From the start, I chose to catch train (as opposed to bus) because it was the most economical. In recent years, I’ve switched to bus as it’s more timesaving.
- Holidays at home. Over the years I’ve spent my downtime discovering some hidden gems in the city (Sydney) I live in and all of them are within an hour drive from home. Cheap and cheerful I would say.
Life is full of uncertainties and surprises. Despite the fact I was made redundant twice, out of job for 12 months since the start of my mortgage, as a single person with one single income, I still came out OK, managed to pay private health insurance, all household and car bills on time and stay on top of my mortgage repayments. So, allow me to say this: If I can do it, you can do it, too (but only if you want to)…