Some backstory. My husband and I bought a house a year after getting married and while I was in the middle of grad school. Then the economy tanked. Big time. In the midst of me attending classes and writing papers and the two of us working the equivalent of two full time jobs, we attended Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey's personal finance class). My dad gave us a membership to the class as a gift. I can say that has been the single most important and valuable gift we have ever received.
Financial Peace University teaches you how to manage money and build wealth, primarily by sticking to a budget and getting out (and staying out) of debt. Since the only debt we had was our mortgage, we decided to focus all of our energy on getting that paid off and out of our lives for good. And we decided that we wanted to do it ASAP. I created a spreadsheet, we built a bare-bones and necessities only budget, and then we allocated all of our extra cash to paying off the mortgage. We thought we would pay it off in 4 years. We did it in 14 months.
$111,000 paid off in 14 months. It still sounds crazy to me. I'll save the details of how we did that for another post, but we did not have extravagant incomes. I was still in grad school or looking for a job for 7 of those months. I look at those two numbers - $111,000 and 14 months - and what they mean together - the end of debt in our life - , and I can only believe that anything is possible for us. If I want to leave the rat race and sign up for a different race, I can do that.