1. Open an offset account
A mortgage offset account is a savings or transaction account linked to your home loan.
It can help you pay less interest because, every day, the money in your offset account is offset from the outstanding balance of your home loan before the interest is calculated.
To make the most of this, you could have your salary paid into your offset account then use a credit card to cover your day-to-day expenses. As long as you pay the credit card bill in full before the end of the interest-free period, it’s a low-cost way of keeping money in your offset account.
2. Make more frequent repayments
By changing your repayment cycle you could end up paying off your loan sooner.
Moving from monthly to fortnightly or weekly ensures that you are paying more off the home loan at frequent intervals. Paying fortnightly allows you to squeeze in the equivalent of one extra monthly repayment per year.
This extra amount comes directly off your loan principal, and reduces the amount on which future interest will be calculated.
As the interest is less, more of your repayment will be going towards paying off the principal off your loan, which means your mortgage gets paid off sooner.
3. Make extra repayments
A tax return, a birthday present, a sale on eBay – make a habit of ploughing every lump sum you receive into your mortgage.
4. Look at your balance of fixed to variable rate loans
Some borrowers split their loan between fixed and variable rates. If you want to make additional payments, you will need to consider if there are limits on how much extra you can pay on your fixed loan.
If the timing is right and you want to pay off more, you could consider shifting a portion of your loan to variable.
Don’t forget, until your fixed rate term is up, you may be charged break fees to switch from fixed to variable.
5. Look at ways to cut back
Be tough but realistic – your aim is to make changes you can live with for at least the next five years.
Once you’ve calculated how much you can save, arrange to have that amount paid regularly and automatically into your mortgage account.
Cutting out just one cup of takeaway coffee every working day could save $1,000 a year1. Always keep an eye out for new opportunities, too, including better deals on essentials such as gas and electricity.
6. Rent out a room
Enlist other people to help pay off your mortgage by renting out your spare room.
Accommodation websites such as airbnb.com.au can help with short-term lets or you might prefer a longer-term arrangement with a local or overseas student.
You may need to get permission from your local council and, if you’re living in an apartment, you must check the rules with the body corporate. If all goes well, you could meet some interesting people as you slash years off your home loan.