Making consistent additional payments toward the principal balance provides singificant returns. People employ various techniques to accomplish this goal. Paying a single additional full payment one time a year is likely the simplest to arrange. If you can't afford to pay an additional whole payment in one month, you can split that large amount into 12 smaller payments and write a check for that additional amount monthly. Another option is to pay a half payment every two weeks. The effect here is that you will make one additional monthly payment each year. These options differ a little in reducing the final payback amount and reducing payback length, but each will significantly reduce the length of your mortgage and lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan.
It may not be possible for you to pay extra every month or even every year. Keep in mind that almost all mortgages will permit you to pay extra on your principal at any time. Any time you come into extra money, you can use this rule to make an additional one-time payment on principal. If, for example, you were to receive an unexpected windfall three years into your mortgage, you could pay a portion of this windfall toward your loan principal, which would result in enormous savings and a shortened payback period. Unless the loan is quite large, even a few thousand dollars applied early can produce huge benefits over the duration of the loan.
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