Paying regular additional payments on your loan principal will provide big savings. People use different methods to meet this goal. Paying a single extra payment one time every year is perhaps the simplest to track. If you can't pay an additional whole payment all at once, you can split that large amount into 12 smaller payments and pay that additional amount monthly. Finally, you can pay a half payment every two weeks. These options differ a little in lowering the total interest paid and shortening payback length, but they will all significantly shorten the duration of your mortgage and lower your total interest paid.
It may not be possible for you to pay down your principal every month or even every year. But it's important to note that most mortgages will allow additional principal payments at any time. You can benefit from this rule to pay down your principal when you come into extra money.
If, for example, you receive a very large gift or tax refund five years into your mortgage, investing a few thousand dollars into your home's principal will significantly shorten the duration of your loan and save a huge amount on mortgage interest over the life of the loan. Unless the mortgage loan is very large, even a few thousand dollars applied early can produce huge benefits over the duration of the loan.
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