It's a goal as cherished as early retirement. Everyone who buys a home for keeps dreams of the day they make their last house payment. Sadly, the majority of homeowners in the U.S. never even get close. However, there are some smart ways, some tried and true, some you may not have thought about, that will allow you to pay off your mortgage early.
Old-fashioned methods can work. The difficulty is disciplining yourself to actually follow through. Step one to paying off your mortgage early is to make a plan. Keep in mind that Rome wasn't built in a day and you are not going to pay off your mortgage in a few months, maybe not even in a couple of years. But here are some smart ways to go about paying off early.
Make Savings Automatic. Saying you are setting aside $200 per month for your payoff amount (above and beyond your regular monthly payments) sounds good, but it only works if you actually do it. Open up a savings account just for your remaining balance, and make that monthly percentage automatic.
Put Extra Away. Saving every month is a great start. But when you get that income tax refund, instead of going on a shopping spree, put it in your payoff savings account. Any extra money — a bonus, a lottery ticket win, a small inheritance — should all largely go to your payoff savings account.
Ditch the Waste. All work and no play makes you a very dull boy or girl, so ditching the waste doesn't mean cutting off your cable, although that could add up to a couple thousand dollars a year. It means buy some Folgers instead of stopping at Starbucks every morning for a cup of Joe.
Think about it; $4 a day, five days a week, for 52 weeks each year. That's over a thousand dollars a year just for a cup of coffee you could make at home for a few cents a week. Here are some other wasteful expenses you can ditch and how much you could save each year.
- Your Unused Gym Membership – or even your used one — is $40 or $50 dollars a month. That adds up over time. You can exercise at home for free, and modest home equipment will pay for itself.
- The Latest Gadgets – Changing your cell phone plan alone can save you around $100 per month.
- Cook a Meal – Fast food, the movies, sit-down restaurants — they all eat up $100 a week out of your budget. That's right, you're talking potentially over $5,000 per year you could be saving just by eating in and streaming a movie instead of paying $15 per ticket at the box office.
- Carpool and Walk – If your corner store is literally down the street, walk or ride a bike, don't drive. When you go to work, find a carpool. You'll be surprised how much money you can save on transportation with just those two ideas.