Paying off a mortgage can seem like an endless and relentless burden. Particularly in the early years of you loan when each repayment seems to hardly make a dent in your outstanding loan balance. So why not 'gamify' your loan. Turn the process of paying your loan off faster into a game, with the ultimate prize being debt free, with the Bank off your back and owning your home outright. What better prize than that!
The only way to pay your home off quicker and therefore ‘win the game’ is to pay more than the minimum repayment and to reduce the amount of interest on your loan so that more is going to reduce the principal balance on your loan.
So here are five ways to 'gamify' your loan and be debt free sooner:
Ignore the Bank
Well, sort of. Don’t ignore them completely but do ignore the amount you are told is the minimum repayment each month. Pay more, as much extra as you can reasonably afford. When you took out your loan you most likely set a 30 year loan term so the Banks set your repayments to pay the loan off over that term. The longer you take to pay off your loan the more interest the Bank’s make so the Banks win. So pay more and the more you pay the more game points to you.
The terms of your loan agreement will require you to make the minimum monthly repayment each month. However, most of us get paid fortnightly or weekly, so why not align the two. Take the monthly repayment required and divide it by two and pay that each fortnight, or divide by four and pay weekly. This strategy will help you manage your finances better but will also help pay your loan off sooner because you will actually end up making an extra month’s repayment each year. Even more game points to you.
High Five Yourself
Think of every step towards paying your loan off sooner as winning points in the game. Every single increase to your income, every overtime payment, every tax refund should be channelled into your home loan. Every time you pay extra on your loan, you reduce the principal balance which reduces the interest charges and reduces the loan term. More points in the game.
Track Your Spending
Is that expensive bottle of wine worth it or would a cheaper one do the trick? A take away coffee every day and buying your lunch soon adds up to quite a tidy sum. There are plenty of apps available or even a simple spreadsheet that can help you track your spending and find a little bit extra to pay on to your home loan instead and earn extra game points. But of course, a little treat now and then to celebrate your efforts won’t hurt too much.
Review Your Loan
Do you know the interest rate on your loan? Statistics say most of us don’t. A cheaper interest rate means that for the same repayment each month you will be able to pay your loan off quicker. Enlist the help of an expert Mortgage Broker to review your loan and compare it to what is available in the market. Sure, it might seem a little painful to go through changing your loan from one lender to another but you may end up far better off overall. And of course more points to you in the game.
'Gamifying' your loan can not only be fun but like any game it can become addictive... a good addiction to have, so why not give it a try.
Written by Mark Lewis, Managing Director Bernie Lewis Home Loans.
*The information provided in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Since everyone's personal situation is different, this article should not be taken as advice. The figures used in this article are to be used as a guide only. Depending on your personal circumstances, these numbers may vary. We recommend you seek individual advice with a mortgage broker.