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A mortgage is likely the largest debt you will ever have to repay. The idea of having a mortgage hanging over your head for up to 30 years can feel daunting. With some sacrifices and discipline, you might be able to pay off your loan years ahead of schedule.

Make Extra Payments
Some mortgage lenders allow borrowers to make extra payments to repay their loans earlier. Some financial institutions accept additional payments at any time, while some don’t accept extra payments at all, only accept them at specific times or charge penalties. Check with your lender.

If your financial institution will allow you to make extra payments, you could erase years from your repayment period. You can make an extra payment if you have additional funds from a bonus or the sale of property. If you mail an extra payment, include a note asking the company to apply it to the principal, not to the next month’s regular payment.

Another option is to make half of your regular payment every two weeks. That will result in 26 half payments, or 13 total payments, at the end of the year. Making one extra payment every year could help you pay off your mortgage several years ahead of schedule.

Find Extra Money in Your Budget
Making simple changes to your habits could help you save money to put toward your mortgage. For example, taking your lunch to work and making coffee at home instead of eating out and buying coffee on your way to work could help you save quite a bit of money over the course of a year.

Consider Refinancing or Downsizing
Refinancing your mortgage could help you pay it off sooner. Switching to a loan with a shorter term could lower your interest rate, which could save you thousands of dollars over the remainder of the repayment period.

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, you might want to consider downsizing. If your kids have moved out, it doesn’t make sense to make expensive mortgage payments for a house with empty bedrooms. Moving to a smaller home could save you a lot of money. You might even earn enough from the sale of your house to pay cash for a new, smaller one, thereby completely eliminating a mortgage.

Don’t Get in Over Your Head
The best way to avoid being overwhelmed by a mortgage is to make careful decisions before you buy a house. Build an emergency fund to cover several months’ expenses. Pay off debt and save enough to make a significant down payment. Limit your mortgage payments to a relatively low percentage of your monthly income. If possible, opt for a mortgage with a shorter term to save money in the long run.

Work to Pay off Your Mortgage Early
The satisfaction of paying off a mortgage can be liberating. By making some changes to your lifestyle and setting small but reasonable goals, you may be able to repay your debt years ahead of schedule.

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