In January next year, pre-school teacher Heidi Farrelly and her husband Clinton will pop open the champagne bottle to celebrate their last mortgage payment.

It will be a momentous occasion. The husband-and-wife team have managed to pay off their $410,000 mortgage on their two-bedroom home in Engadine in Sydney’s south in 10 years and they are only in their late 30s.

Paying off debt is all about  “sacrificing small luxuries and always looking for a cheaper alternative,’’ Heidi said in a book she has written: How to pay off your mortgage in under 10 years without becoming a drug addict.

“Coffee is often at a friend’s instead of a café. We picnic instead of buying lunch out. We camp instead of hotelling.

“We make do with what we have rather than buying new. Things we do need, we don’t buy full price but wait till they go on sale.’’

It’s all about short-term discomfort for long-term reward, Heidi said.

“There seems to be this belief that owning your own home is no longer possible for young people, certainly not in 10 years. People assume we had help from family or are really in high-paying jobs but that’s definitely not the case.’’

In her case, her husband’s wages went to pay off the mortgage and her income from working two days a week went to cover expenses.

She admitted it was not easy to pay off your mortgage in 10 years but it was possible and “you don’t have to be a millionaire or live off rations to do it”, she said.

Here are Heidi’s top tips to help you say goodbye to your mortgage:

  • Start small and make extra mortgage payments – even $10 a week makes a big difference over the life of your loan.
  • Know exactly where your money goes. Record a four-week snapshot of everything you spend and write a sustainable budget based on your findings. Start small and make extra mortgage payments – even $10 a week makes a big difference over the life of your loan.
  • Give up direct debits such as Spotify or Netflix subscriptions and redirect the money to your mortgage
  • Allocate at least two thirds of an income into paying off debt
  • Keep a diary of your daily expenditure
  • Stick to your budget
  • Persevere don’t give up
  • Forgo travelling overseas. Go camping with the kids instead
  • Don’t ever redraw your mortgage for anything.


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