A drawing of the Lemon home representing our mortgage and showing our progress paying it off.

In Episode 8 of Life with a Twist of Lemon my friend Jon asked me about buying a house and for part of that discussion we talked about mortgages. One of the things that I mentioned our family does is visualize our mortgage on a piece of paper hanging on the side of our refrigerator. On the paper is a drawing of a house, which my lovely wife made to look like our actual house. It’s on graph paper and each square represents part of the mortgage we owe. As we pay down the mortgage we fill in boxes, with the ultimate goal of having the whole house filled in. This idea didn’t originate with me; I don’t actually even recall where I first saw this. I think it’s neat though, and I like that it’s there every day for us to see. A few listeners (it still amazes me that we have those, thank you mom and the other 3 folks that tuned in) asked me what that mortgage visualization looks like, so I thought I would share it here. The colors don’t mean anything, they were chosen based on the closest colored pencil at the time. The shaded parts (roof and windows) also don’t count in our drawing. Anyone can do this too, and you don’t need to be as fancy with the drawing as Mrs. Lemon was. That said, I think ours is pretty cool and I’m just tickled with what she made for our family. Now to fill it up!

The purpose of the drawing and really a good portion of Jon’s and my discussion is understanding your debt and having a strategy to get rid of it. I don’t think debt is in and of itself a bad thing. In many instances it’s simply a necessity, like buying a house. I do think society is perhaps too comfortable with debt though and it’s good to go into something like a mortgage with a desire not to have it. That desire is strong in me, and things like this visualization help keep it top of mind so that I am constantly being reminded to get rid of it.