The freedom of having your home completely paid off is indescribable. Suddenly, you have security, money freed up for travel or home improvements and the self-satisfaction of knowing you’ve accomplished something major.
If your goal is to become debt free, then a big part of that equation is paying off your mortgage faster.
The average American’s mortgage is $309,200. That may seem like a near-impossible mountain to climb in 30 years, but to cut that time in half is overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are some money saving tips you can implement today that will start you down the path to financial freedom.
How to Pay off Your Mortgage Faster
1. Decide If You’re in the Right Home
One thing to look at to understand how to pay off your mortgage faster is whether you’re in the right home.
Selling your current home and downsizing to something smaller or with fewer features is one way to cut your overall payments and free up money to pay extra on your home loan.
While you don’t have to sell your home, it’s an option you may consider if your mortgage is really holding you back.
2. Refinance for a Better Rate
Interest rates are still fairly low in the United States. While this factor changes from week to week, you should talk to several different lending institutions and find out if you can save money by refinancing.
If you’ll save at least a few hundred dollars per month on your payment, you can throw that money toward your principal each month.
3. Pay off Smaller Debts First
If you have smaller debts, work on paying them off first.
A student loan of $20,000 at 6.8 percent interest on a 10-year repayment will cost around $230 per month or more.
If you pay your student loan off, you can throw that $230 on your house payment every month.
4. Make Extra House Payments
How to pay off your mortgage faster? Set aside extra funds and make an additional house payment each quarter (once every three months).
Doing so will allow you to pay your home off 11 years early and save tens of thousands in interest.
5. Cut out the Extras
Could you give up that $3.00 cup of coffee you buy five days a week in order to pay extra toward your principle? Perhaps you could switch to purchasing the coffee only on Mondays and put the other $12.00 in a savings account.
That might not sound like a lot of money, but over time it adds up, and you can multiply that amount by the other things you’re giving up.
There are also plenty of easy ways to save money around the house by going green.
6. Know the Rules
Take the time to contact your mortgage lender and find out what the rules are on bi-weekly payments, extra payments and paying your mortgage off early.
Some lenders have very specific rules. The last thing you want is to think you’re paying your mortgage down only to find out you simply paid a payment ahead.
7. Sell Your Stuff
Do you have a lot of extra stuff lying around? Host a garage sale, or list items on local classifieds.
You’d be surprised at how much you can earn in just a few days. Throw all the money toward your principle to pay down what you owe to the lender.
8. Get a Side Gig
Another way to come up with some extra cash to pay on your mortgage faster is to get a side gig.
Take a part-time job on the weekends as a server at a local restaurant, or open up a flea market booth. Many direct sales companies will allow you to earn a bit of extra money by having parties in people’s homes a few days a week.
9. Ask for Money for Gifts
Let your family and friends know about your goal to pay off your mortgage in half the time.
For those close to you who typically buy you gifts, inform them that you’d much rather have money to throw toward your mortgage payment.
While it’s their choice what they gift you, most people will be thrilled to help you achieve your goal. With these gifts, you could potentially add a few hundred dollars a year toward paying off your mortgage.
10. Use Your Tax Refund
The average tax refund is about $3,053. That’s a good chunk of money that you could put toward paying off your mortgage every year.
Do you always reserve that money for something else? Halve it, pay $1,500 toward your principle and use the other $1,500 for other things.
11. Roundup Your Payment
In addition to using the other methods listed here for how to pay off your mortgage early, you should round up your payment on a typical month.
If your house payment is $793, go ahead and pay $800. Find out how to indicate that the extra money goes toward your principle, and you’ll make a bigger dent in what you owe.
12. Get a Cash Back Credit Card
If you’re able to stay controlled with credit cards, open a cashback account, and put all your purchases on your card.
Every time you go to the grocery store or purchase gas, you’ll get a percentage back — just make sure you pay the card off every month.
Then, take your earnings, and pay them toward your mortgage.
13. Ask for a Raise
Your employer should give you regular raises, so if you haven’t had one in a while, go ahead and ask for one.
Anytime you get a raise, pretend that you didn’t get a raise, and throw all the extra money toward your mortgage payment.
You’ll be surprised how quickly your debt gets paid off.
14. Refinance to 15 Years
If you don’t trust yourself to be diligent with these methods, you could always refinance to a 15-year mortgage. Doing so will force you to pay the higher payment, which gets your mortgage paid off more quickly. You’ll typically get a better interest rate at the same time.
Paying Off Your Mortgage Early
Paying off your mortgage in half the time gives you the freedom to make decisions that impact your life in big ways, such as retiring early or taking a job you love versus a job that pays the bills.
With some hard work now, you’ll gain freedom in the future. Stay focused on your goal, and before you know it, you’ll be mortgage-free.
So that’s how to pay off your mortgage in half the time.
About The Author
Holly Welles is a real estate writer with an interest in helping readers find clarity in all the financial confusion that comes along with homeownership. You can read her latest tips on her blog, The Estate Update, or keep up with her Twitter account @HollyAWelles.