Then I read The Tightwad Gazette and realized that by being thrifty you could save money for additional items, instead of making money.
Nine years ago we bought a house within our price range. So it's no McMansion, but is a cute little house with a cute little yard and fits our needs. It was built in 1880, so has character, which means a bit of a fixer-upper. But it's solid. We've torn out carpets, replaced the fixtures in the bathroom, put on a new roof, painted, etc. We've made it ours.
Yesterday we totally made it ours. We took a 30 year mortgage and paid it off in 9 years. How, on such a little income, you ask?
My best advice is to pay at least one extra house payment (applied solely to the principal) each year. That alone would cut 7 years off a 30 year mortgage. That is what we started off doing from year one.
Then, even if it was just an additional $25 or $50 a month, apply that extra to the principal when you pay the mortgage each month. It adds up.
Our biggest was when we received tax returns...to apply a big amount to the mortgage. Because we didn't have other debt (car payments, credit cards) we were able to use that to pay extra towards our only debt.
And now we are totally debt free. It's exciting! It made doing without some fun extras totally worth it and just takes a huge weight off your shoulders. To know that every single thing you own is truly owned by you, debt free.
It's not impossible. Though there will be step backs (when Jacob was sick we didn't have any extra to work on paying off the mortgage...every extra penny went towards gas, food, medical, etc.), stay the course when you do have a little extra. Forgo the vacation, the big screen tv, upgrading your car. It will be worth it in the end!