Home Pay-Off Spectacular

Joe and Jenn have fell off the "normal" curve a long time ago with the way we manage our money.  That's OK!  We're not broke anymore!!!

One of the things we have sought to implement in our lives is accountability.  Now, accountability can be a LOT of FUN!

Here is a way to make accountability FUN!  Let me introduce you to the "Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular".

Here is how it works.

  • We drew up an outline of the house in Microsoft PowerPoint and then put a bunch of small squares in it.  They are not square feet – they are just squares.
  • Once the outline was filled with squares, we counted up the squares.
  • We divided the amount we paid for the house by the number of squares in the outline.  This yields the $/square value.
  • Every time we pay $72.14 in principal on the mortgage, we get to color in another square!

This is SO visual!  When my daughter was FOUR, she looked at this thing on the side of the refrigerator and said, "Man!  We sure are in a whole lot of house debt!"  My FOUR YEAR OLD daughter gets this!  It really makes it clear how much of the house you actually own.

It makes spending a lot of fun too!  For example, we could go out for a nice meal that costs $70.  We look at each other and smile knowing that we could have paid another square off on the house.

If an "unexpected" expense shows up that costs $70, I will say, "Well, I could have paid another square."

When I get in an unexpected income of $700, I KNOW that I could fill in 10 more squares by sending it off to the mortgage holder.

When we do pay off another square or squares, I ensure that my bride and my daughter get to help color it in!  Even if it is just one square, I will divide it into three small sections and we will each color in a third of it. 

I LOVE this tool!  It is visual.  The entire family sees it.  My friends see it when they visit the house.  I can't wait for the day that the last square is colored in!


  1. Rich Brott on March 30, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Joe – What a great idea! Love the visual representation! Paying off the mortgage becomes a family project. Excellent!

  2. Vanessa on March 30, 2007 at 10:57 am

    I love that you and your wife are teaching your daughter good stewardship at an early age. Someday if I have kids I want them to learn how to manage money well BEFORE they are responsible to do so on their own.

  3. Paul Moyer on March 31, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Dang! You are about 8,000 ahead of me. I’m going to have to pick it up!!

  4. jane on April 1, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Joe, so glad to see that you are paying for the garage first…. the man room! LOL!

    Let me know when you want me to drop off your canna bulbs… they are still in the ground, so they are through the soil already, but still very transplantable…. just won’t last long outside the flower beds.


  5. Barbara on April 3, 2007 at 7:14 am

    We are working on paying off our truck on a very accelerated payment plan. I think I will use this same concept for that. A nice truck that we can color in would be a motivator. I also really like the thought pattern this can drive. If I have $50 extra dollars, I can color a square or spend it one stuff I won’t remember. Sometimes, I think the extra $50 won’t make that much difference and I wait until I have an extra $300 or $400, but if I think about every little bit making a difference, I will make the right decisions.

  6. sarge on July 12, 2007 at 4:31 pm


    Could you please do one for a computer on the tools section?

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