Paying a loan off over 30 years is a very daunting thought. Let alone the realisation of how much interest you will pay over those 30 years. Paying your loan off sooner keeps money in your pocket and could see you moving towards a strong financial future sooner.
We have listed some basic tips to help chip away at your loan faster!
Utilise your offset account
An offset account is a simple and often free way to reduce the interest you pay on your loan monthly! An offset account is basically a day to day account which can be linked to your home loan. When the bank goes in to check your home loan balance daily to calculate your interest charges they will also take into consideration any funds held in an offset account.
So as an example- Say your home loan is $100,000 and in your linked offset account you hold $10,000. The bank looks at your loan to make your interest calculations and sees you owe $100k- they then see that you have $10k in your offset account and take it off the $100k owing, therefore charging you interest on $90,000 rather than $100,000.
Depending on your interest rate you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year in interest using this method! Now not everyone will have a large amount of money in their offset account however every little bit will count and simple deposits of your weekly or fortnightly wage will help to reduce your interest payable.
Consider low fixed rate options
There are some great fixed rates on offer at the moment which you could look at taking advantage of. Going into a fixed rate loan agreement must always be done with caution and a full discussion with your mortgage broker on the pros and cons should always be had. I have found with my clients often a split of fixed and variable is a great option also. In the case where you have a great fixed rate on offer interest savings can help you to pay the loan off faster. Your Mortgage broker will be able to discuss the restrictions around fixed loans and whether this may be a good option for you.
Don't take repayment reductions
It may happen that you receive a letter from your lender telling you that you are ahead on your repayments due to interest rate changes or other circumstances and as a result you now have the option to drop your minimum repayment. It is of course tempting to take them up on this offer however if you are serious about getting ahead on your loan resist the urge and keep your repayment higher! Making those extra repayments and keeping ahead is a great way to clear that loan off much sooner than the 30 year term you likely took. Check out our “How long to repay calculator” to see what a higher repayment could do to your loan term!
Bonus, Overtime, Commissions
Put them on your loan! I know it’s tempting to go out and buy yourself something nice with your (no doubt) hard earned extra pay, however a lump sum like that could go a long way to paying your loan off much quicker! Paying above and beyond your minimum repayments is one of the best ways to pay your loan off quicker! It is also the most simple and common sense approach!
Utilize interest free periods on credit cards
I add this in last as it is an "Exercise with Caution" tip. I would only recommend this strategy if you are good with finances and don't see a credit card as a means to a "shopping spree".
Alot of home loan packages offer an annual fee free Rewards credit card. Majority of these cards offer an interest free period meaning if you pay the card back in full at the end of the statement cycle you will avoid paying interest. The idea behind this method is as follows.
You make all of your normal purchases using the credit card- food, bills, fuel etc (All things you would have bought anyway even without the card). At the end of the month you pay the credit card back in full and avoid paying interest. During that month while you have been making these purchases interest free the cash you would have usually used for these day to day expenses sits in your offset account saving you interest on your home loan. It's using the banks money at no charge to you, while also saving interest on your home loan PLUS if a rewards card you are making rewards points to redeem on flights and vouchers at the same time! A win win!
Situations that this would not work in is if you don't have all that extra money in your offset account, or if you end up buying up big on the card with things you didn't actually need! As mentioned- not for everyone! Speak to your bank or Broker about your card options if you believe this option may be suitable to you!
Seeing a pattern? All these options point to less interest.
More money in your loan or offset, a lower interest rate- all these things mean you will be charged less interest when the lender comes collecting each month. Less interest means that more of your repayment is reducing your actual loan rather than just paying the bank back interest.
Paying a loan off is not an overnight feat- however making conscious decisions to clear that debt faster is going to put you one step ahead in the long run!