Personal Finance Bloggers Helped Us Achieve Mortgage Freedom!

Personal Finance Bloggers Helped Us Achieve Mortgage Freedom!

Hey everyone! Today I’ve got a great post for you from my friend Claudia over at TwoCupHouse.com. Claudia was one of the FIRST personal finance bloggers I met when I started M$M, and she is sharing how blogs like this one are helping her and her husband Garrett become debt free! Enjoy. ~M$M

After several years of having a mortgage, I’m happy to report that we are mortgage free! Woot!

And we have under $25,000 in student loan debt to go until we are 100% debt free!

Having created our blog nearly two years ago at the start of our first real attempt at fixing our personal finances, we’ve made quick work of our debt. You could say we’re killing it as millennials when just two years ago, we let lifestyle inflation get the best of us.

Before 2015, we spent more money than we made. We had a mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, and student loan debt.

But that’s normal, right? Everyone we know has debt, so it’s totally cool…

Thankfully, we had an epiphany (or three).

We want to travel, particularly to national parks we haven’t yet visited.
We’re concerned that Garrett’s chronic health conditions will worsen and necessitate major lifestyle changes.

And then the realization that we’re not going out of this life alive, which became more meaningful for us after my dad passed away last year unexpectedly at the age of 58.

So we decided to create the life we really want. We had to stop living the consumer-filled fantasy of a “nice” house with a couple of “nice” cars in the “nice” garage.

We decided to get rid of our stuff and get out of debt.

Using Google to search random money-related queries, I stumbled across blogs, podcasts, and even YouTube videos about this thing called “personal finance.” All of this information is out there for free to help others manage their money and get out of debt.

Real people sharing real stories about real struggles with debt.

Who knew this was a thing?! I had no idea, but it’s exactly the kind of stuff we needed.

Garrett and Claudia from Two Cup House!

First, we stumbled across the Debt Free Guys who their experiences, tips, and tricks for crushing credit card debt. What they share about changing the mindset toward debt empowered me to change my perspective–revolving credit card balances aren’t OK anymore.

Then, we connected with Bobby here at Millennial Money Man who shared his experience living frugally to eliminate his student loan debt and change his career. His articulation of the millennial experience is exactly what we experienced (and what we’re trying to combat).

Related: How to Start Your Own Blog in 15 Minutes or Less

Cait Flanders’ explanation of minimalism, about the focus on what matters most and the elimination of what is unnecessary, propelled us to consider our stuff and whether or not the stuff we had would get us where we wanted to go.

J. Money at Budgets are Sexy made discussions of financial freedom accessible to us. His blog made it sound as if though financial freedom would help us create the life we want.

Podcasts like the His & Her Money Show and Radical Personal Finance not only gave us tips for how to do things like set up a budget, track our spending, and create a plan for the future, but they also provided inspiration to keep pushing forward.

Because of our willingness to put ourselves out there via our blog, we started forming relationships with amazing personal finance bloggers. People who paid off all their debt. People who achieved financial independence. People who donate their time and their money to charity. People who travel the world. We became friends with the people we wanted to become and they continue to help push us in the direction of our dreams.

In the last two years, we’ve learned a lot about personal finance and made a lot of changes to create the life we had only ever imagined.

But the best part of all? The relationships we’ve formed along the way. The journey to debt freedom is long (and the journey to financial freedom even longer), but making friends with others on the same path makes the journey a LOT more fun!

If you’re thinking about making some changes with your money, it’s imperative that you get involved in the personal finance community! Getting involved in 2015 is what has made all the difference for us.

Way before we started our blog, we tried to get out of debt. But we didn’t track our spending. And we didn’t know what we owed. And we didn’t have a budget. And worst of all, we didn’t invest in all of the knowledge and support the personal finance community has to offer.

The consequence? We ended up with even more debt.

Even if you’re anonymous, that’s OK! You’re more likely to stick to your plan when you’re engaged in a community of like-minded individuals than if you’re trying to do it alone.

Share your story. Comment on blogs. Email bloggers. Sign up for forums. Subscribe to email lists. We want to cheer you on along your journey!

Question for you:

What’s your favorite financial blog (other than M$M of course) 🙂

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22 comments… add one
  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Dec 7, 2016, 8:01 am

    Congrats on ditching that mortgage, Claudia! That’s a real accomplishment. 🙂 Also, that picture, omg. 🙂

    Your story sound similar to ours. We got married in 2015 and couldn’t get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle. We had about $15,000 in credit card debt, two car payments, and $65,000 in student loans. I’m proud to say we crushed the $15k in credit card debt and got rid of a car payment altogether. We just started our badass student loan payoff plan ($65,000 of debt in 18 months!) so we’ll see how it goes!

    As far as my favorite financial blog, I really love Frugal Girl. I’m super jelly of her photography and she has a lot of great money-saving tips, especially when it comes to food.

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 7, 2016, 9:40 am

      Wow! You are crushing it! That’s so awesome and inspiring. I look forward to the day when you write you’re debt free.

      I like that you share your grocery spending and meals. And thanks for the blog tip. We’re always working to combat our grocery budget. We spend WAY less on food now, but it’s a challenge to keep to under $600 a month. I’m thinking we might start sharing, too…maybe we’ll get some ideas that can help us cut back. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Ms. Montana Dec 7, 2016, 9:13 am

    I think rubbing shoulders with like minded people is incredibly motivating. I feel like in the pf community I have finally found my tribe. I know I will be richer for it (in more ways than one.) When everyone is running the race together, it gives us all momentum. Sometimes people looking in, think that bloggers are just all friends, but it’s just because we double down in the community. We take the time to comment, or email or skype. There are a lot of readers in my blog community that are really invested. They don’t have blogs, but they take the time to be part of the community. They email, skype, comment and even guest post. That has to be my favorite part of blogging!

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 7, 2016, 12:24 pm

      I love your comment about running the race together–that’s exactly how I feel about the pursuit of debt freedom (and ultimately, financial freedom). We work together to achieve similar goals and there is more momentum, more motivation to keep pushing forward. One of the top reasons why we started our blog was to engage in communities of like-minded individuals, which I can say has been a huge success! I love our Skype calls! 🙂

  • Financial Panther Dec 7, 2016, 1:25 pm

    I was never a big blog reader before discovering this PF world. Actually started getting my personal finance knowledge from podcasts! But blogs are such an awesome way to interact with people. I’ve been really shocked at how friendly every PF blogger is.

    You’re basically the average of the people you hang around. Makes sense that hanging around the PF community would help improve your personal finances!

    Also, shout out to Claudia for pointing out an error I had in my blog’s code a few weeks ago.

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 7, 2016, 1:50 pm

    After college, I was burned out. I read hundreds of pages each week and I lost my passion for books. I credit personal finance blogs (and Harry Potter, of course) for helping me rediscover my passion for reading. Because of these folks and many, MANY more, our life has changed dramatically. We’re forever thankful. 🙂

    Happy to help. 😉

  • Pamela Dec 7, 2016, 3:52 pm

    Your story is so encouraging. I am sure there are many people reading this right now that will be impacted by the changes you have made in your lives and want the same for themselves. Congrats you two!

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 7, 2016, 6:54 pm

      Aw, Pamela! You are so kind. Thank you so much! It’s our hope that by sharing our story that others will believe that debt freedom IS possible. We’re always happy to help anyone who wants to get started, too! 🙂

  • Gary @ DebtFreeClimb Dec 7, 2016, 5:29 pm

    You have done a great job in the last few years, Claudia! Congratulations!

    I got started with reading about PF topics a few years ago when I began to focus on my Student Loans. I came across the Radical Personal Finance Podcast while searching on Reddit and that opened pandora’s box for me.

    I never really read for fun before but now I can’t get enough PF/FI books, blogs, podcasts, etc. I’ve learned so many valuable things from PF bloggers in the last year or so that I decided to start my own blog this fall :).

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 7, 2016, 6:56 pm

      Thanks, Gary! It was great to chat with you. 🙂

      Kudos to you for get started early. And congrats on nearing the finish line on your student loan debt payoff. Keep writing and sharing. I know there are others inspired by your progress (me included!).

  • The Accountant Dec 7, 2016, 6:30 pm

    I started reading personal finance blogs when I started to save and work towards buying a house. I thought I was a crazy person for wanting to wait and save up at least a 20% down payment after speaking with some of my friends. It’s nice to know that there are others out there who think the same way and are choosing not to accept the current debt culture. Personally, it helps to reaffirm that gut feeling that I’m doing the right thing, and it’s just nice to have a positive network of people who encourage each other to overcome obstacles (debt) and be successful (build net worth).

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 7, 2016, 7:01 pm

    We hear ya. We just had a conversation tonight about mindset and what it took to overcome cultural norms. When we decided that debt was bad and something to eliminate ASAP, it was not something that others around us agreed with or believed was possible. It’s only because of the positive influence of the PF community that we kept going. 🙂

  • Kate Dec 7, 2016, 10:09 pm

    I’m totally with you on the huge impact the PF community can have on a person’s life! My family’s life has changed enormously since July 2015, when my husband stumbled across Mr. Money Mustache. He only wanted ideas for how to invest a small raise he was due to receive, but found so much more: the 4% rule, people who are crushing their debt, people living ultra-frugally, and people designing their lives. We paid off $10K in student loans, paid off some stupid other debts, and realized we could now make it on one income. So instead of teaching this year, I’m able to stay home with our kids, which was a long-held dream of mine. I’m also daring to think outside the box and consider side hustles and alternate careers for when the kids are a bit older. Lots of exciting stuff! I love the variety of stories and inspiration I find in the personal finance blog community, especially from Our Next Life, Frugalwoods, Picky Pinchers, and ThinkSaveRetire. Congrats on the paid-for house!

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 8, 2016, 12:03 pm

      Wow!!! Your story is incredible!!! Congratulations on being able to achieve your dream so quickly. I look forward to reading more about your plans for the future. 🙂

      All of the bloggers you mentioned are also those who inspire us to keep moving forward. There are too many to mention. Ha!

  • Nicole Dec 8, 2016, 9:04 am

    Congrats on being mortgage free! Such an inspiring story. We are debt free except for our mortgage which we are paying down. Great motivation!

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 8, 2016, 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Nicole! Kudos to you for crushing all of that debt. I look forward to hearing about the day when you eliminate that mortgage!

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Dec 9, 2016, 7:01 am

    Wow, way to go on killing your mortgage – what a great story! I have found the same thing, that the PF community is so supportive and helpful. Just interacting with other like minded people is so helpful in achieving big things, like paying off your mortgage!

    I had not been reading PF blogs in a while and then stumbled across Financial Samurai about a year ago and I got sucked back in. A few months later, I launched http://www.benetworthy.com and the rest is history!

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 11, 2016, 6:21 pm

      Thanks, Jon! We are so thankful for the support from everyone. We’ve tried nearly every strategy that we read about on various PF blogs (too many to mention!). And this is the outcome. Truly, truly grateful. 🙂

  • Stephen Dec 10, 2016, 9:00 pm

    Great work on setting goals and reaching them! I’ll probably always have some kind of debt as long as it stays fairly cheap so I can leverage it into more money making assets!

    • Rhonda Dec 10, 2016, 11:32 pm

      My thoughts exactly Stephen, although being mortgage free also sounds very exciting!
      My first blog interest was Mr Money Moustache & then Mr. Frugal Toque. Yay Canadians! Being from Canada I find that a vast majority of the information out there has a US bias, but all in all I think the premise of saving is the same across the board. Spend less than you make.
      I am a single mom of 2 teenagers, and this also seems rare in the PF world, as most bloggers seem to have a partner. I enjoy reading M$M, MMM, Early Retirement Extreme, Half banked, Million Dollar Journey, Budgets are Sexy & many many more! I’m new to the blogging world (reading not creating …yet!) & find it so fascinating! I feel I’m at the financial stability stage striving for financial fulfillment! Bring on the information!

    • Claudia @ Two Cup House Dec 11, 2016, 6:23 pm

      It depends on the debt. 😉 We’re not completely adverse to debt like we once were, but that’s because we know more than we did before. And our unconventional mortgage had an awful interest rate, so crushing this was the best move for us!

  • Matt Dec 12, 2016, 12:29 pm

    Congrats! How has the transition been to 500 sq feet? Sometimes I feel a little claustrophobic in 800 square feet…

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