A Mortgage Free Mile Stone – Can You Live On A Narrowboat Mortgage Free

For us freedom from a mortgage was something we’d never really discussed, short of those long dog walks musing on what we would do if we won the lottery of course, it certainly wasn’t a deciding factor in life aboard. In fact, if anything we saw the boat as a tool to allow us to access an even larger house mortgage, by growing our deposit potential. Oh, how grateful I am that we woke up to this! This week marks a pretty big event for us, it’s the week that our boat mortgage is twenty five percent paid off. For all you regular readers don’t worry, I’m not about to go into huge detail on why we made the move to purchase the boat or how we went about it, but for anyone who’s new to our blog in order to purchase our slice of floating home we had a deposit and the remaining balance was secured through a boat mortgage, much similar to the process in buying your first house, just with lower numbers.

Now I imagine a lot of people are sat there thinking, well twenty-five percent of a smaller pie isn’t really that hard to achieve is it? But to me I still see this as a pretty big goal. See when we were looking at the options for boat mortgages, there were a lot we could choose from, the ones at a higher payback rate we could afford, but the payoff would be an impact on our lifestyle, those at the lower end would see us paying it off for almost as long as a traditional house mortgage.

We ended up choosing a mortgage repayment plan which fell in the middle, why do this when we could of afforded a higher rate and a shorter term? As much as I go on about the wonderful world of boat life there are times when it really really sucks. Take for example when you’re woken up at 03:00am for the third night running by amorous fish, or the when your game of water roulette finally turns on you and you’re left without water at nine o’clock on a frosty Sunday evening. Whilst these are of course the idiosyncrasies of boat life, and partly what make it awesome, they also have the potential to be truly rubbish. So that’s why we made the decision, to stay down the middle of the road making decent repayments but not zapping all the joy out of our life to do so. I find you can be very quick to resent something which can be a bit difficult whilst also taking all your money.

So this week marks a wonderful twenty-five percent payoff achievement, and means we have just under five years remaining, at the current rate of repayments until the boat is entirely paid off, and we are mortgage free. We have a wonderful home, as much as I am struggling at the minute with the approaching winter and feeling of space closing in, I can still sit back and say isn’t this tiny rectangle we call home wonderful. What’s even more wonderful is we haven’t spent most of our lives paying it off. You see the boat has changed our outlook on houses entirely, occasionally we’ll browse the house sale sites or estate agents windows and ponder on what you need all of that space for? The way I see it so many people spend half of their house owning life working for a bigger and bigger property, slowly chipping into that mortgage, only to spend the other half downsizing. It’s a bit of a crazy cycle.

It’s nice when you look at the little things like this, see that mortgage payment goes out every month, much the same as our rent payments did with previous properties. You see it, it’s there and as a habitual renter it can be easy to see that going out every month and forget it’s going towards owning your own slice of the world. Achievements like this bring it home, that those payments over the last two years or so have been going somewhere, and whilst that somewhere is still partly lining someone else’s pockets, its also lining ours.

Our space won’t be the biggest, it’s never going to win design prizes, it will undoubtedly always be met with questions of why, but in five short years it will be wholly ours, we will be mortgage free, and if that isn’t a big tick in the box I don’t know what is. I would love to sit and write this blog with lots of inventive ways on how we save every extra penny and do this that and the other to chip away at our mortgage, but it simply isn’t the case, we have no big ideas or clever tricks, we simply realised what we need in life, and that in terms of space it isn’t all that much.

Whilst it was never a goal, never in the consideration for what we are doing the prospect of it whilst exciting brings so many new questions. What will we do when we hit this. We will be in our early thirties, many of our friends will only just be stepping onto the housing ladder, those who already are will likely be busy grafting at careers making some extra beans for the move to somewhere bigger.

So what happens when the mortgage is paid off and as I covered before you don’t really have a reason to move from your boat? Is it that in five short years we’ll be left wondering what to do? Do we carry on working away all week and most weekends, to earn beans for other things? Will a new goal replace the void that paying off the mortgage currently holds? Or will we decide that now we are there we want to scale back on the working side of things, take a more relaxed pace of life? Does life just do it’s normal and unconsciously fill that for you? What happens people!?

Do people like us exist, or are we truly a unicorn of the boating world? We meet and read about a lot of couples, around our age who have taken the path of a life aboard, however this has usually been a short to medium term solution for them, whilst their main goals are a house and family and all of that. We are yet to meet someone like us, who no longer has a desire to purchase a house, who at the age of 32 will be left mortgage free and honestly a little bit lost!

I often worry about it (Surprise, surprise) to James what will happen, he reassures me things will carry on as they are. But surely that can’t be it, can it? We pay off the thing that keeps people working away for the majority of their lives and we just carry on? Unchanged. I like to think that it would offer the opportunity for me to focus more on the crafty side of things which I do, we’re still going to need to work in order to live, but perhaps part time would be an option. Or as I said before perhaps a new goal finds you, the way they tend to, and you carry on, the same but with a changed target.

I suppose in five years we will find out, but it is nice to wonder sometimes. For now I’ll just take the joy of colouring in another square in the diary which has a big twenty-five percent marked across it.

James & Kirsty

A diary of live aboard life

3 thoughts on “A Mortgage Free Mile Stone – Can You Live On A Narrowboat Mortgage Free

  1. Ha ha! Did exactly that 20 something years ago,(I was in my late 20s too) and we are still on the boat. But we were mortgage free from day one.


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