We've all grown accustomed to having the idea of a large home loan looming over us. But if you get a bit smart and a little like Scrooge, you can pay it off a lot sooner. Here
are some suggestions:
1. Do your numbers
Do you even know how much you're paying off each week, fortnight or month? Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by the sheer size of our debt that it all seems too hard and we lose interest. So get out a calculator, a pen and some paper and work out how much you have left to pay on the loan, and confirm your interest rate.
2. Pay more regularly
Let's say you owe $300,000 over 20 years, at an interest rate of 6.5 per cent. This means you should be paying $2237 monthly, or $1031 fortnightly. Now, the first trick is to start paying half of your monthly repayment fortnightly. This is a mind game, but it means you could close out your debt four years sooner and save $55,937 in interest.
3. Offset account
You are much better off using an offset account to park your savings. Every dollar that goes into the account is, in effect, earning you the same rate of return as your mortgage rate. Money in an offset account comes off the amount of the loan, so the interest paid will be on the loan amount, less the balance of your offset account.
4. Big banks
If you're with one of the big banks, chances are you could be getting a much better interest rate. If you were on a rate of, say, 5.9 per cent and refinanced a 20-year $300,000 home loan to 5.62 per cent, you would save over $11,600 in interest and pay that debt off much earlier.
5. RBA cuts
If your rate fell from 6.25 to 6.00 per cent, after a 25 basis point cut by the RBA, and you didn't change your repayment, you would save nearly $10,000 interest and shave eight months off your loan period. If rates were cut another 25 basis points, this strategy would save you $17,000 in interest and one year and five months on the loan period.
6. Doubling up
We know times are tough and not many people have too much spare cash in the kitty but did you know that doubling the repayments on that loan with an interest rate of 6.25 per cent would make it possible to pay off the debt in seven years instead of 20, and save more than $163,000 in interest. That's food for thought.
7. Just $100
We know it won't be possible for most people to double their repayments but even increasing your fortnightly payment by just $100 would allow you to pay off the loan in our example three years and two months early and save $43,790. Boost that amount to $150 and it's four years and five months early and $59,829 in interest saved.
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