Okay, this mortgage thing. We bought our house in 1999. Back in 1999, real estate wasn't terribly expensive in this area. As in, if both of us worked full-time just out of college, we could afford a decent house. So that was a positive.
Another positive is that I got a tidy sum of money from my mother. The whole boring explanation is that when my grandfather died, my mom and aunt sold his house, and they got something like $15,000 for it in 1982. My mom and aunt put that money in the stock market with me as the beneficiary with the intention of that being my college fund. It grew nicely during the years it was invested, and I never really used a whole lot of it for college (I skipped the first two years of college due to Running Start, and for the other 3 years I was in college, I lived pretty cheaply and went to an in-state school). She gave me what was left in the fund, so we had a nice downpayment. As a side note, this was actually awesome timing because the stock market kind of went in the crapper in 2000. Sell high.
Even with real estate not being that expensive at the time and having a nice downpayment, we had a mortgage. $975.23 was our monthly payment. Oh, the things I remember. It was probably only about 3 months into our homeowner experience that I amortized out our mortgage (the things I do for fun at the age of 21). And I realized that for every $500 we paid extra on our mortgage, we'd save something like 3 mortgage payments or something like $2,500 in interest. This was back in our extra lean days. We didn't have cable or cell phones, and we were buying a few sets of miniblinds (new houses don't come with window coverings) each paycheck.
Slowly we'd start to pay more and more extra each month. It was straight pennypinching and using any raises that came to us to pay even more off. And in 2004 (after 5 years of owning our house), we paid off the house. Toward the end, we probably emptied our savings account more than we should have, but our goal was to not have any debt. We accomplished it. It's got to be one of the most gratifying we ever did. We had a goal, we both bought into the goal, and we both worked for it. With perserverance, we got it.
Getting a new, bigger house is a constant lure for both of us. We like houses. We like space. We like plush carpet. We like interesting floor plans. But giving up our mortgage-free life would be soooo painful.
There is an article out there that mentions us. If you Google in quotation marks my first full name and hubby's first name plus our last name, you'll find it. If you need to know hubby's first name, it's on Facebook. So Google:
"_________ and __________ ___________"
Memo to world: If you're ever in an article that makes its way to the Internet, you might want to give your family a heads up.