How we Paid Off Our House In Less Than Five Years- Our Debt Freedom Story

Hi, it’s Lisa from the blog Farmhouse On Boone, where I like to write about food from scratch, natural living and a handmade home. But today I’m gonna talk about something a little bit different. I’m gonna tell you our debt-free story and how we paid off our house in less than five years. Now know this is not a financial blog in any way but it is an important part of our story. It is something that we value. I think it deserves to be talked about. As you all know, I like to live simply and so I think that it fits in with our lifestyle and so I would love to tell you our story. We bought our home, our farmhouse here almost nine years ago. Actually nine years ago this month. We hated the idea of being in debt. So we both grew up kind of knowing that getting a car loan isn’t a smart idea. Just to only buy things that you can afford. We were not comfortable with the idea of taking on basically any debt at all but of course we needed somewhere to live. Debt was kind of the only option other than of course renting a place until we could afford to buy a place. Which I know some financial people would actually recommend but it didn’t seem smart to us because we knew that if we did that we’d have to pay rent every single month and then just be throwing the money away. Know we never see a house as an investment it’s really just an expense. But paying rent is definitely throwing money away, in a way. I can see it working for some situations, and in some situations it’s probably a really smart idea. For us, the market seemed good, it was right after the financial crash and so houses were pretty cheap. And we couldn’t see not taking advantage of that, even if it meant that we’d have to take on a little bit of debt. We went ahead and bought a house but we knew that we wanted to be out of debt in less than five years. We said before we were 30. So we were able to accomplish that and basically here’s how we did it. So the first reason why we were able to pay off our house so quickly is that we bought it right in the first place. So we didn’t buy something that we couldn’t afford. We bought a house that was well under a $100,000. It needed paint in every area. I will link or insert some before pictures. Prepare to be horrified and shocked. We’re talking sponge painted blue cabinets, orange kitchen walls with like a sponge paint pattern. Little flowers drawn around the top. This room was painted like a Mexican restaurant basically. It had halfway up some kind of diamond detail pattern around it. It was covered in blue carpet. So nothing about this house screamed “charmer”. I could see through it to the crown molding and the baseboards which were all painted in crazy colors, none of it white. Every five panel door in this place had a different color in each panel. So this person who lived here before us was very ambitious with her colors. I mean she painted every last surface of this place. Like she painted the tile in the bathroom each a different color with a little detail on it even. I can’t say that that woman didn’t do a great job with her painting, it’s just the color choices I wasn’t necessarily too excited about. It was a fixer upper. All upstairs was blue carpet. The steps going upstairs was blue carpet. Didn’t see any hard when we walked in this house. I think maybe like one room had it exposed. So we didn’t know if it was underneath or what. The outside was in shambles which if you followed along with our front porch renovation you’ve seen the outside before. We left it that way for 8 years. The place didn’t look so great, but it fit the only price tag we could afford at the time which was cheap, cheap cheap. That’s the first part, we bought our house cheap. We didn’t have income that could support a house that was $200,000 even if the banks would have approved us for such a loan. They probably would have. We took what we could afford not as what payment we could afford, but what could we pay off super fast. So what can we get as cheap as possible was our goal. The second thing we did was we did not do any renovations on this place until it was paid off. I painted it and we ripped up some carpet. Cheap. Didn’t spend more than a couple hundred dollars to do those things. We didn’t touch the kitchen. We left the fake wood, laminate countertop, the laminate flooring. We left the bathroom with a lovely calla lily shower insert, fake stained glass window. Super old vanity, Hollywood lights above it. We left all of that until we had this place paid off. We were unwilling to spend any money renovating it until we had cash. Same thing with the front porch. It didn’t look great from the road, and even a year ago our house still looked like that. We did not take on any renovation until we could afford cash. The third thing we did never took on any other debt. We did not buy cars that we couldn’t afford. If all we had in the bank was 3 grand then I was driving a car that was $3,000. Still to this day, even though we do have more money saved up, I still can’t see buying a vehicle much more than that. Same with in our kitchen, we just recently replaced our refrigerator that came with the house. It was probably 30 years old and we finally bought a stainless steel one. But again, we waited until we could actually pay the full amount and buy it. Not with a Lowe’s credit card , well I did use a Lowe’s credit card because it was 5% off, but I paid it off. Okay the fourth thing we did, which I should have mentioned this second actually, is we set a goal. I kind of already talked about this but we knew going in that we were going to pay this place off. It was not like a “someday” or – This debt isn’t happening. We’re gonna pay this thing off as fast as we can. We will do everything we can to pay it off. We will not waste any money until we can. Now, I’m not saying we ate Ramen noodles cause we didn’t. But I’m just meaning we weren’t gonna buy anything extra unnecessarily until we paid it off. Fifth thing is, every time we had extra money we put it on the house. When we got that tax return back at the end of the year, we weren’t thinking vacation or new furniture. In fact I still have the $80 Craigslist couch in my living room right now and two $20 winged back chairs so I don’t know if we’ll ever think furniture. You know into buying more of what I want now as well just because I feel like I have that freedom because we don’t have any debt at all but then, when we got that tax return it went straight on the house. We got the check and I mailed it into the mortgage company. I mention in the blog post as well that we still did vacations but we just would do cheap vacations. So we’d do ones that we could drive to. We did a lot of camping which I’m glad we got that all out of the way before we had four kids because I wouldn’t want to drive and camp now. We went on vacations we had a lot of fun. We packed a lot of food. We packed a tent. And we packed up the car. Lots of packing. We went. We saw the country, but we didn’t spend a lot of money. Cause we couldn’t afford it. What has this allowed us to do? What has debt freedom given us the ability to do? That’s something that’s fun to talk about because why even go for this goal? Why does it matter? You know you could always pay off your house later. You can pay off your student loans later. You can pay off your car later. But what does it allow you to do? Here I am, I’m still pretty young. I’m in my early thirties. Some of you might not think that sounds so young. Some of you might think it sounds really young. I’m able to stay home with my kids on a limited income. I’m able to buy equipment I need for my business. Which I have a pillow shop so I do embroidery and I have a bunch of sewing machines I need for that. I’m able to buy camera equipment for YouTube and my blog. I can do that because I don’t have debt. I have extra money to do that kind of stuff with. We can invest, we can save now for our futures. We buy healthy food. I mean I love to buy organic. I like to buy organic meat, you know I buy a whole cow at a time and that stuff’s expensive. And I have four, almost five kids. So our grocery budget is through the roof. It’s horrible. I buy the vegetables, I buy a lot of stuff organic. I mean I don’t buy everything organic. We spend a ton of money on it and I’m perfectly okay with it because I can invest in my family’s health right now because we have the extra money. So I’ll have that same limited income but I just have so much freedom knowing that we have no bills. Of course we have the bills like electric and water and Internet and all that kind of stuff, but I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m not paying interest. Even with a very modest income with extra comfort money that you can do things like, you know, buy healthy food for the kids. We can even take more expensive vacations now and I don’t even feel bad about it. It’s allowed me to pursue my dreams with this blog, with this channel. I feel that I can invest in things that I need for it and I’m not held back by our debt. I’m really glad that we got it out of the way when we were younger. So when we only had a couple of kids we actually had just had our third child when we became debt free. We had had him the month before. I remember sending in that last check. We had to pay private mortgage insurance, so PMI, until the day we paid our house off because they didn’t apparently trust us with our income to pay the bill. And trust me, that was a good day. I remember that day knowing that we were done, we were out of debt. I’m so glad we got that out of the way. Now we have almost five kids here pretty soon. Life’s getting more and more expensive and I don’t even know if we’d be able to do it now. Very glad we got that out of the way when we were in our mid-twenties. The temptation is still there to buy a bigger, nicer place even though we don’t have the cash to do it. And I have to remind myself the reason why I have so much freedom and I’m able to do these things and that is beacuse of our debt freedom. So should we buy a big ol’ farmhouse out in the country? No. We shouldn’t. Is it still tempting? It is still tempting. But I have to remember that this is why we’re able to live this little life where I can stay home and have my five kids and in relative freedom is because of that. I’m happy that we did that, we did it young. I encourage you to do the same. If you have any comments about this or what-what else have you done to get out of debt? Or do you think we’re crazy? Leave your comments below, of course only nice ones. I don’t want to hear any negative comments. I’ll probably just delete them. Thank you so much for listening to our story. I like the simple life, you know, the simple life that debt freedom affords. So thank you so much for watching. Please be sure to subscribe to my channel for food from scratch, natural living ideas and a handmade home. I do a lot of DIYs, farmhouse decor type stuff here around our home. I would love to see you follow along. Also I’ve linked in the description the link to this post which is on my blog How we Paid Off Our House in Less Than Five Years- Our Debt Freedom Story. Thank you so much for stopping by the farmhouse.

100 thoughts on “How we Paid Off Our House In Less Than Five Years- Our Debt Freedom Story

  • SO helpful and inspiring! We are paying off debt now and hope to be in a similar situation as you all as well!

  • I think exactly like you in terms of debt. At this point I have to pay rent because I separated from my companion, but I will probably buy a house in a near future w/ the money from selling the previous one (that was almost paid because we wanted to get out of debt and maybe I could stay at home a work in art and my YouTube channel, cause I really hated my job and it was making me physically sick). Well, things didn't turn out quite as I planned because of the separation, but it was still a good plan since now I will receive money from the other house to try to have my own. I am happy that I got separated because today (at 37)/I am pregnant w/ my first child, which I wouldn't if I had stayed. We'll see how this goes, but I don't think I can quit my job now (but things have changed a lot there and I feel much better). So w/ my story, what I've learned is that everything changes eventually. ☺ sorry for the huge text.

  • On which state is this? I live in California and houses are at least 7 times more than what you paid and we are talking about small houses in bad areas. If you want a good area and at least 3 bedrooms they are usually over a million 😫

  • I so agree with you dear. I always encourage my kids to save, to only buy in cash, to be practical in making decisions n try not to succumb to temptations too much.

  • WHAT THE!!! A house for under 100k?!?!?! I live in Melbourne Australia and median house price is 1 million. Even for something not renovated if it’s on a big block it will go for 1 mil. It’s ridiculous. I’m 25 and even though I make a reasonable income I’m never going to buy a home for 1 million – I’m hoping for a crash similar to what you guys had in the US.

  • Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and your family. I loved hearing your story. I myself plan on being debt free ASAP when I get into my first place so thanks.

  • I am much older than you. If I had your wisdom, I would be in a better financial position at this point in my life. You and your husband have made the BEST choice for your family and both of you are very smart. Being debt free is liberating and empowering. Congratulations on being able to stay home with your children and having the courage and conviction of your beliefs. Blessings to all!

  • You guys rock!! Love how you have done everything, so awesome! And sharing this is so wonderful, to help other young people, or even those who are not so young :))) Blessings ~

  • Excellent video! New subscriber here! Love love your vids and your home is absolutely beautiful!!!! So happy I found you! I only buy organic and am divorced,.. so basically a single mom of two young men now… we planted our trees.. now starting to plant food too…. I believe investing in health isn’t that hard and limiting wants is always good. That’s how you achieve these types of goals. I’m the only single mom on the block (didn’t know it till it was pointed out to me) which then made me feel even prouder of making my goals happen. Wasn’t easy to save money but staying away from splurging on toys, purses and whatever you may want is how you do it. Little by little we can get there

  • I love this video! I don’t think you’re crazy at all. I applaud debt-free living. I aspire to it.

  • When you said that we would be shocked by your home’s before pics, I murmured awww you are just exaggerating. Then you showed the pic! You are talented lady and blessed.

  • Awesome job! Very inspiring. My wife and I are on track to pay off the mortgage by my 30th birthday.

  • Super inspired by your channel and this video. My husband is 23 and I’m 22 and we’re working towards this now after making some mistakes financially. Hopefully we can continue to live debt free for the rest of our lives.

  • My house will be completely paid off next month but not in the short amount of time that you did. You should be so proud of what you've done and at such a young age! I think people are realizing more and more that this rat race we are living in is not what we have been taught to believe. I live in California and at almost 60 years of age I can see that I will not be able to live here for the rest of my life. It is getting way too expensive and I don't even really like it here anymore. I want more of a simple laid back life and a place to retire comfortably and safely. Thank you for sharing your awesome story. Where do you live BTW?

  • Just found your channel. Love it. Just curious.. did you work full time before kids so that you could help contribute to pay off the house?

  • Were you able to buy organic food as much when you were paying off your house? And how many rooms are in your home? We are working out how to buy a house and not have a huge mortgage. Granted we live in England so the houses are usually a lot smaller than the states. We have a kid on the way. Was it hard renovating with small children? Were you renting prior to buying? Thank you!!

  • Under $100k? Hahaha. I live in Chicago. That's where my job is. cheap as possible is good BUT make sure you get a good inspection to make sure the renovations are not beyond your limits. the cheapest home in the best neighborhood is your best best. A home IS a investment. If you have to move, you can sell. You will keep up with rising home prices. It's taking you a long time to get to the point. Did you take in boarders? A good way to do this to build a guest home or apartment which will pay your mortgage. Watch the craig's list for bugs. Cheap vacations are wonderful. Camping is great even with 4 kids. You can garden too to save money on food. You can also go geothermal to get rid of gas and electric bills, but you have to drill 2 miles down to get all the steam you want. Use a turbine. You can actually sell excess electric to all your neighbors. Sell for half the cost of the utility companies. Best way to stop the mortgage is to use your property. Two flats are great. Homes with guest houses are also great. Tear down the garage and build a garage with guest home. It will pay your mortgage. Try to buy with 2 lots so you don't have issues with crabby neighbors, but if there's one guest home or in law next to or over a garage in your neighborhood, nothing they can legally do to stop you.

  • I do wish we had been more responsible and smarter with our purchasing & savings when we were your age. Your living smart and that is awesome!

  • I like this video! Inspiring! We live in the UK and houses here are really expensive. Still, it's good to have a goal to want to become debt-free.

  • Lisa, you are a great inspiration for young couples and anyone who wants to be debt free. I am 62 and with my husband we became debt free over 20 years ago. And I can tell you that becoming debt free is one of the most important things that has happened in our life. After we became debt free we were able to save for our children's education and for our retirement, which we took early. We are frugal in our living expenses and have been able to save enough to now build our dream house and still be debt free. So many couples feel like they have to spend money to keep up with their friends lifestyle. They sacrifice their own freedom. We still use our credit cards, but pay them off each month. Anyone can do this, it takes discipline and determination. Thank you again and I do enjoy your Youtube videos and blog.

  • Really nice work, guys! You are wise beyond your years. I started making good money as soon as I graduated college, but spent the next 20 years wasting most of it. If I had been as disciplined as you when I was younger, I would have far more freedom than I do now.

  • How wonderful! I am so happy for you and your family. I wish that my husband and I would have done this, when we were just starting out 27 yrs ago! 💓😊

  • Can I ask you why and how are you about to have your 5 baby specialy that I remember you saying in one of your videos that you are home schooling I think 2 of your children.

  • I just found you!! I'm so excited and so proud to find another family with similar goals and ideals for life and farmhouse living. We have three kiddos but I am the only one who works with the hubby who stays home and remodels our old house on 1.5 acres in Alaska! The struggle is real but we can see that when we are out of debt how much more freedom we will have. Ps. I loved the lavender wreath with the stripe bow. That's what got me reeled into your channel. Thank you!!

  • Really great and inspiring tips! We are also working on becoming debt free so this was an encouraging video! Truly love your content N.D. message you are sharing! 💛💛💛💛

  • Hi Lisa! i found this video very useful. I just had this doubt, it is irrelevant to this video, but out of curiosity. You mentioned you buy a "whole cow at a time" how long does it last for a family your size, and how to you preserve them for a long time?

  • How did you get a mortgage with it being a fixer upper? Especially with the porch being in shambles, usually banks now won't approve a mortgage unless there is home insurance and they won't insure unless it's looking a certain way.

  • Hi Lisa, I love your videos especially on home decor! I meant to ask you, did you build the white cabinets in the family room or were they already in the house when you purchased it? Whats the story on them?

  • I think you all are so smart. Love the plan. Great job. Thank you for sharing. I'm going use some of your ideas to pay off my car debt.

  • Thankyou so much for your inspirational story we bought a fixer upper as well and would love to update but until we finish paying off our 1st home which is currently for rent, we only have 50,000 left so hopefully in 4yrs we can do question is how did you stay motivated and not go crazy for NOT renovating. Thanks and merry christmas 🎄

  • Your take on living a simple debt free life is so refreshing and a wake up call to me. I'm looking forward to watching some more of your videos for motivation and inspiration!

  • Rewatching this because we’re about to start looking for a home to buy (and our goal is to pay it off in less than 5 years also). You’re finally getting that bigger farmhouse on land, without a mortgage woohoo!!

  • 1:34 completely agree with you. Buying a house where you would live should not be an investment, so I never get why people say “I love money on my house” I guess some people plan to live in this world for free. The only reason why we will be renting, is because we don’t have the money for the down payment, and we live in NYC

  • Great to hear young people getting out of debt. We're in our 60''s and weren't raised to be in debt. Lovely home you have and beautiful children too. Just want you to be informed about organic food… it's a fraud to make more money off of us. Your body does not know the difference, because there is no difference. It's just another scam like the Green movement, but free to choose how and what you eat. Just trying to save you and your lovely family some more hard earned money.

  • I just looked at your vlog for 2016 when you had paid your house in 5 years. Good for you! I have 4 kids and they become more expensive as they grow older. We paid off our first home probably within the first 25 years. Sounds like a long time but we went through ups and down with employment plus we wanted to put the kids through college debt free. We recently bought another home and paid cash for it. So being in my early 60"s it feels great to have to have no bills. My children are actually paying for their homes much like you did. But then again their salaries are huge compared to what my husband and I made. The lesson I guess that needs to be learned is to spend beneath your means but still having the quality of life you want.

  • I watch HGTV always thank it's so crazy to pay above two hundred thousand for a house. Once you get settled down you need start a blog for young people on this. I was never taught and got in lots of debt. Then life just got away. Yes common sense but not when you are young usually.

  • Good for you guys! We have always lived debt free, except for our houses, and it is so freeing. We have paid cash for everything and we have a very nice home which we paid off in 14 years (not as fast as you but still pretty good) we did it a little slower because we did do other things. But it has allowed me to stay home even though my husband doesn't make a ton we are still comfortable. Now we are in a position to help with our kids' college.

  • Also live in Midwest, if you don’t mind driving and hour or more to work there are some good deals. That being said, when we purchased our first home we also had to set aside $12k for a new septic system along with $10k for a New well. Thankfully we were able to do all home repairs ourselves and after 6 years sold for a $50k profit. Inspections are key before purchasing

  • Wow I am so amazed how you and your husband can work together to do things. YOU are an beautiful wife and mother for your kids. Love your videos so much 😘

  • Wow, that is an inspiring story! I am at home with my kids. I would love to pay off our home mortgage. It just isn't possible at the moment. I need to figure how I can be debt free. Thanks for sharing!

  • SO SO GLAD there is finally a youtuber than admits things are expensive, instead of just showing things that look so extravagant! It’s nice to be able to watch someone who is personable, honest and seems to be a real person!

  • This video was so helpful! I have been a bit tentative about watching it because it seems out of reach. I am relieved that I did because I’m no lover judging myself. Where I live, within the very expansive city limits, any house of any quality is going to be at least $1M and the average rent of a 1br is currently $2260/month. I am relieved and empowered that you said the debt was $100k because I can strive to pay that amount off in that time too. I am not going to beat myself up about this but I love the inspiration to go debt free for future freedom. Thank you Lisa!

  • You are such an inspiration.
    New sub 🙂 wish I could do this. You make it look so easy (haha).
    Saw your new farmhouse video, so proud of you guys!!
    I'm really looking forward to seeing your step by step.

  • Congrats to you! I'm 60 years old and know I did some things right financially in my life but not feeling it right now!! That is a sad commentary at my age. Hanging onto your marriage is a secret to being financially solvent. Somehow I feel more hopeful since listening to you. This vlog is a great gift to others because it reflects a lost mission in society.

  • My husband and I are both 27 and we are so happy that we are mortgage free and car loan free for 2yrs now. With a fam of 5 that does help out tremendously! I know this vid is 2yrs old but still very inspirational, even in my shoes.

  • Thank you so much for this. My husband and I have a plan to pay off our current home before we would consider purchasing our family home down the road. I was feeling grumbly tonight about this very colorful (avocado green 😉 bathroom of ours I want to renovate and this video reminded me of the diligence and patience I want to have as a wife. We have done plenty to this house in the 2 years we've been here and I think it was a good reminder for me that its time to buckle down and keep it simple. Thank you for the reminder in patience. 🙂

  • I am confused about why your mortgage company didn't end your PM I payments once you had 20% equity in your home. Did you request that they end those payments? If they wouldn't do it it seems to me they cheated you.

  • Yes I agree! This video is so good. Saving and being wise isn’t popular but it works! My husband and I are doing a land contract on a fixer upper farm house for 5 yrs & we will have the deed & we won’t have a mortgage! That’s a rarity at 32 yrs old ! We are doing cash & saving everything. We’ve got used furniture, & do consignment or our clothes. one of our cars are paid off. We’ve got a year or so on my van then it’ll be paid off. Thank you for this vid.! New subscriber😍

  • That was very inspiring, I hope I did the same thing when I was younger but, never too late to do it now. 🙂

  • It's really inspiring to see a young couple thinking simple and not get tempted by "bigger and better". I am considering moving to my rental property which is smaller and paying off the mortgage there. It gives you so much freedom and you realize that peace of mind is priceless.

  • Any place is a good way to start fighting for our freedom. I owe my soul to the company store…the song goes. Debt is a different kind of slavery.

  • I think y'all are awesome! Frugality is something you don't see much these days. Our house has been paid for for years, but we are 53. Common sense should tell us with stuff "if you don't have the money to pay for it, don't buy it!" Enjoy those days home with your children; they pass way too quickly. God bless you.

  • Thank you for the video, and your honesty and I have to agree with you, the paint that the house had before it was horrible.

  • This is wisdom. We are working on being debt free in the next year or so, so we can start saving up to buy a home. Debt truly takes away your freedom, but thank God that He's using people like you to lead by example, so we could see a way out.

  • Wow I wish we could do that. In the market we’re living in a $300,000 is a complete gut job. With our income we’d be renting for over 10 years! Right now we’re just living as frugal as possible to try and save save save!

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