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Couple in their 30s pay off mortgage 28 years early with clever budgeting

Being mortgage free in London is to most an unachievable pipe dream.

Average house prices in the capital are at a record high of £514k, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But a couple in their 30s have proved it is possible to live mortgage-free after paying off their £95,000 debt 28 years early, Manchester Evening News reports.

Siobhan and Lee Bowen purchased their first home together in 2011, and after clever budgeting, they now own their three-bedroom semi-detached home outright.

The couple live in Great Wyrley, Staffordshire, where the average house price is considerably lower than London’s at £210,000, nonetheless some of their tips might inspire all of us, however big our mortgage is.

The Bowen family home

The married pair made careful overpayments and sacrificed unnecessary material items so they could wipe their mortgage.

Regularly listening to money-saving podcasts also played an important part in the pair’s mentality.

Mum of one, Siobhan, 36, and husband Lee, 38, set themselves the challenge to clear their debt before Siobhan hit 40 – but they smashed the already ambitious target earlier than planned.

The super-savvy savers have since been enjoying a mortgage-free lifestyle and say the freedom it has created is priceless.

“We struggled at university to earn enough to cover the bills and stay afloat. We realised how easy it was to get into financial difficulty,” Siobhan said. “We became disciplined and saved regularly once we had full time jobs.”

The couple saved a £35,000 deposit in six years and after getting married in 2010, they bought their home the following year for £112,500.

They put down a 15 per cent deposit of £16,880 to secure a better mortgage rate and kept some back for renovation work to the property.

Do you think it is achievable to go mortgage-free in London? Let us know in the comments here.

Siobhan said: “We could have borrowed up to £190,000 but we chose not to max ourselves out. We wanted to ensure our mortgage repayments and essential bills would be affordable on one wage.”

“It was very important to us to have a mortgage with unlimited overpayments,” she added.

The couple, who had a household income of around £40,000, were refused a 25-year mortgage so signed a 35-year term.

Starting at £394 per month, they began paying an additional £160 per month.

The couple stuck to a careful budget of making ‘wise choices’ rather than splashing out on unnecessary items.

“We did not have high-paying jobs,” she said. “We achieved a good balance. We didn’t go without but we didn’t try to keep up with the Jones’s either.

“Lee drove a 12-year-old Volvo that had done 200,000 miles on a petrol engine, it never broke down.”

Couple in their 30s pay off mortgage 28 years early with clever budgeting

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She continued: “We still had holidays and even ticked off a few bucket list places like New York, Croatia and Lake Garda – always finding the best deal for our money. Rather than sacrifice a happy lifestyle, I feel the main thing we did was purposely make a string of wise choices along the way. We educated ourselves with the help of Martin Lewis and Pete Matthew from The Meaningful Money Podcast.

“We never had a car on finance and I couldn’t justify spending £45 a month for a mobile phone.”

In 2012, the couple welcomed their son, Caelan and Siobhan dropped to a basic maternity salary.

Two years after buying, they re-mortgaged owing £89,210 – but thanks to DIY renovations, their home was valued at £145,000 and the loan to value ratio was reduced to 60 per cent giving them access to the best deals.

They continued to make overpayments on their five-year fixed rate and in 2016 asked for a recalculation.

‘It was done through hard work and saving’

The standard payment was reduced further and with Lee’s pay rise, the couple added more to their overpayments and were one step closer to their debt free goal.

Their savings were building and in 2017, they made a £20,000 lump sum overpayment, another £10,000 in May 2018 and a further £12,000 in April 2018.

By September 2018, they owed just £20,480 with a term of 28 years remaining and their standard repayment was just £89 per month.

However in October of that year, Siobhan lost her job and the couple had to put an end to their overpayments.

Once she was back in work, they no longer overpaid, but set up a savings account and eventually had enough to pay off the remaining £18,838 as a lump sum in March 2019 – just seven years after buying their home.

Siobhan said: “Over seven years we repaid a total of £112,924.57 – saving us £57,288.71 over the expected lifetime of the mortgage.

“We are proud, there was no inheritance or secret lottery win. It was done through hard work and saving.”


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