A woman has revealed how she and her husband paid off $266,329 in debt in just three years in order to buy and renovate their dream home.
Lauren Mochizuki, a 33-year-old home blogger from San Juan Capistrano, California, changed her family’s financial trajectory forever when she and her husband Kyle decided five years ago that they would pay off their mortgage, car payments, and credit card debt before purchasing a fixer-upper to completely redo.
‘The biggest challenge during the 33 months was learning to be grateful for what I had,’ the mother-of-two told Domino while sharing the money-saving tricks that helped her family get debt-free.
Incredible: Lauren Mochizuki, 33, from San Juan Capistrano, California, has revealed how she and her husband Kyle paid off $266,000 in debt in just 33 months
Success story: Within three years, Lauren and Kyle were able to pay off their condo, sell it, and put the profits towards buying and renovating their dream home (pictured)
Sneak peek: Lauren regularly shares interior design updates on the family’s Instagram account
Lauren admitted that when they started chipping away at their debt, they realized they had made some financial ‘mistakes’ such as buying new cars, which depreciate in value 20 per cent in the first year of purchase.
In addition to a $233,346 mortgage balance on their condo, the couple owed $7,264 for her car, $23,946 for his car, and $1,871 for a credit card bill.
To earn extra money, Lauren got a second job as an ER nurse, picking up multiple 16-hour shifts a week, while her firefighter husband worked double time.
They also took a hard look at their spending, realizing that a lot of their money was going towards eating out and utility costs.
The blogger advises writing down various budget categories and figuring out how much is being spent in each one, explaining: ‘It’s powerful to see how much money we spend on paper.’
Working for it: To earn extra money, Lauren got a second job as an ER nurse, picking up multiple 16-hour shifts a week, while her firefighter husband worked double time
Dedicated: The mother-of-two said she and Kyle sit down at the end of each month for a budget meeting to keep themselves on track
Looking good: At the start of 2018, they did a major renovation to their new home, doing something to every room except the garage
Saving up! Mother-of-two Lauren admits there are still things that she lusts after in terms of home purchases, but she and her husband make sure to stick to a budget at all times
On her blog Casa Mochi, she revealed that she and Kyle budget their monthly spending using an app called You Need a Budget.
The app features bank syncing that connects all of the user’s accounts, debt pay down tools, goal tracking, spending reports, and personal support to help to keep users on track. The program is also available online and features free, live workshops every day.
Lauren told Domino that she and Kyle sit down at the end of each month for a budget meeting to keep themselves on track.
‘He’s the president, and I’m the vice president of our budget meeting. We tell every dollar what we want it to do for the following month,’ she said.
The mom always has a meal prep plan and shopping list when she goes to the grocery store, and before buying anything that costs $50 or more, she will sleep on it.
Focused: The couple refused to go back into debt, so they once again created a budget as well as a list of things they wanted to get done in order of importance
Brilliant: Lauren waited for these medicine cabinets to go on sale before purchasing
Handy: Although much of the couple’s furniture looks high-end, Lauren says they make at least some of it themselves, including the Pottery Barn-style bed in the left corner of this room
Lauren changed her attitude about spending money and now asks herself how many hours does she need to work to afford something instead of just buying it.
She insisted that other people will see results if they log their expenditures, plan their money, and stick to their budget like they did.
Within three years of overhauling their finances, Lauren and Kyle were able to pay off their condo, sell it, and put the profits from the sale towards buying and renovating a new home to fix up to their liking.
At the start of 2018, they did a major renovation, doing something to every room except the garage.
The couple refused to go back into debt, so they once again created a budget as well as a list of things they wanted to get done in order of importance.
Kyle, meanwhile, took on as many DIY renovation projects that he could to cut down on construction costs, and they estimate they’ve saved at least $30,000 in added labor expenses.
Looking luxe: The couple opted for materials that looked more expensive than they were such as porcelain tile that often gets mistaken for real wood
DIY: Kyle took on as many renovation projects that he could to cut down on construction costs
Amazing: Lauren and Kyle have developed a passion for budgeting over the years, and aside from their mortgage, they remain otherwise debt-free
When decorating their new home, they opted for materials that looked more expensive than they were such as porcelain tile that often gets mistaken for real wood.
They did, however, splurge, on accordion windows and doors because wanted their kitchen and dining room to ‘have a seamless transition between the inside and backyard patio.’
Lauren and Kyle also shelled out money on their oven and refrigerator because she cooks 99 per cent of their meals and needed both a spacious range and a 48-inch Subzero fridge to keep their leftovers fresh.
‘My strawberries can last at least a week in the fridge without mold. Our amount of food going to waste has gone down considerably with this fridge,’ she told Domino.
Aside from their mortgage, the two remain otherwise debt-free while they continue to decorate and furnish their dream home.
‘I enjoy finding stylish, and affordable home decor, and I do find the value in saving up for high-quality, more expensive items that will complete the space and last a long time,’ Lauren explained on her blog.