Couple Shares Budget Sheet They Used to Pay Off Mortgage in 4 Years

  • Andy and Nicole Hill paid off a $195,000 mortgage in about four years with income  from $150,000.
  • The money they are saving on housing is going towards their children’s college educations. 
  • Andy Hill shared a budget sheet with a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of their spending in one month.

In 2013, Andy Hill and his wife, Nicole, decided to move from a small bungalow to a 2,600-square-foot, four-bedroom home in the Detroit area. 

The couple bought the $350,000 house by putting $155,000 down and taking out a $195,000 mortgage. At the time, Andy was a sales director. Nicole became a stay-at-home parent shortly after they moved. They settled on a 15-year mortgage with a 3% interest rate and set a goal of paying the whole thing off in less than five years.

They ended up being debt-free in just under four years.

No longer burdened with a mortgage, the couple were able to set aside thousands of dollars for their children’s college educations in the five years since they paid it off. Andy also left his day job and launched his own business as a part-time personal-finance coach, while Nicole went back to school to become an esthetician.

The Hills’ annual household income ranged from about $150,000 to $180,000 during the years they were paying off the mortgage. Andy told Insider that the journey to becoming debt-free — while being self-employed, too, for some of the time — required maintaining a strict “zero-based budget.” That means every dollar of their monthly income was assigned a purpose.

By budgeting and reducing their expenses, Andy and Nicole were able to make additional principal payments each month that varied in amount.  Any extra money the couple came into — whether it was a bonus at work, a tax refund, or money made by selling things around the house — went toward the mortgage. 

The couple has been writing about their experiences since 2016 on the blog Marriage, Kids and Money. They’ve earned income from the blog since 2017.

Andy gave Insider an exclusive look at a monthly budget sheet from May 2016, when the couple was paying off the mortgage in earnest. On the spreadsheet, the couple divides their income across nine expense categories.

Keeping reading for an inside look at how Andy and Nicole rationed their monthly income while paying off their mortgage.

Do you have a similar story or budget you’d like to share with Insider? Get in touch with reporter Alcynna Lloyd at

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