On February 28, 2019 Ruffo and Cecilia Ortiz’s dream of owning their home outright finally came true. They made their last mortgage payment to B/CS Habitat and paid their interest-free loan off in full four years ahead of schedule! This is an incredible feat, no matter who you are!

According to Ruffo and Cecilia, their success came down to prioritizing their home over everything else. “Shelter must always come first,” Ruffo said. Since 2003, they put every tax refund, every bonus check from work, and every left-over cent toward their mortgage. Whether it was $2, $200 or $2000, it went to the house payments. Over many years, this dedication paid off.

When Ruffo and Cecilia moved into their new home in 2003, they learned to distinguish what was a want versus a need and to cut back on all non–essential expenses. The couple admitted that it was a real struggle to prioritize their house over everything else. Cecilia noted how she wanted to buy a new car because their old one was really old, but then again she thought, “Why spend money on a new car when you already have a car? It might be old, but it gets the job done.” It was this mentality of forgoing things now to reap the rewards later that helped the Ortiz family achieve their dream of owning their own home “with no strings attached.”

What is in store for the Ortiz family now? Well, after all these years of scrimping and saving to pay off their home, Ruffo and Cecilia said they will finally start looking for that new car they have always wanted! Congratulations Ruffo and Cecilia on a job well done!