Paying consistent extra payments on your loan principal yields singificant savings. You can pay more on principal in many different ways. Making one extra full payment one time per year may be the easiest to track. If you can't afford to pay an extra whole payment in one month, you can split that large amount into 12 smaller payments and pay that additional amount monthly. Finally, you can commit to paying a half payment every other week. These options differ slightly in reducing the total interest paid and reducing payback length, but each will significantly reduce the duration of your mortgage and lower the total interest paid over the duration of the loan.
It may not be possible for you to pay down your principal every month or even every year. But you should remember that most mortgage contracts allow additional principal payments at any time. You can take advantage of this provision to pay down your principal when you get some extra money.
If, for example, you receive a surprise windfall five years into your mortgage, paying several thousand dollars into your mortgage principal can reduce the repayment period of your loan and save enormously on interest paid over the duration of the mortgage loan. Unless the mortgage loan is quite large, even a few thousand dollars applied early can produce huge benefits over the life of the loan.
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