Ways To Lower Mortgage Payment

7 Ways To Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment And Pave The Way To A Debt-Free Life

Shorten the amount of time it takes you to pay off your loan.

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For many Americans, their monthly mortgage payment is the bill that eats up most of their income. It's also the bill that most people would love to get rid of. If you have a mortgage with a payment term lasting for three decades, or even longer, it can seem as if you'll be paying on your mortgage for the rest of your life.

Fortunately, there are several ways to shorten the amount of time it takes you to pay off your loan. If you're looking to start a debt-free life, try these suggestions.

Improve your credit score.

Having a great credit score can help in several ways. The best way to improve your score is to make sure you pay all your bills on time while working toward paying off as many smaller loans (think credit cards) as you can. As you pay off each loan, use the money you were using to make the payment to pay down the principal on your home loan each month.

As soon as your credit score is high enough, look into the possibility of refinancing your mortgage. A better credit score can usually give you a better rate at the bank.

Monetize your property.

Use the property that you have a home loan on to actually make money. If the home is located in a desirable area, consider renting out a room to tourists or taking on a roommate.

No spare space? Consider using the backyard to start a vegetable or herb garden, and sell the produce at the local farmer's market. Not only could you earn extra money to pay down the mortgage, but using a part of the home exclusively for a business opens the door to take several tax breaks that can save hundreds of dollars a year.

It may even be possible to do a portion of the job you already have from home, allowing you to save money on transportation and deduct home office expenses from your tax bill.

Refinance into a loan with a shorter term.

As a general rule, shorter loan terms come with lower interest rates. Essentially, many lenders believe that loans that are paid off faster are less risky than those that stretch out over several decades.

If you haven't refinanced a mortgage through a home affordable modification program in several years, check to see if you qualify for a lower interest rate simply by refinancing into a mortgage that only knocks one or two years off of your loan term. Odds are you won't see an increase in your payment, but you'll cut down on the amount of time it takes to get the mortgage paid off.

Similarly, you may want to consider agreeing to a slightly higher payment if it takes a significant amount of time off of your loan.

Find a new mortgage with a lower interest rate.

Home loan rates are at historically low levels, which means many people will be pleasantly surprised when they shop for a new mortgage via a home affordability mortgage program. Even a small decrease in the interest rate can translate to thousands of dollars in savings over the life of a loan.

Find a mortgage with lower fees.

If you're currently paying PMI or finance fees, look for a mortgage that doesn't have these fees. Often these fees are dropped after there is sufficient equity in a property, so even if you have been turned down for better loans the past, be sure to reapply every few months to see if your situation now looks more favorable to a bank.

Be sure to take the time to look into a home affordable modification program.

Review insurance and taxes.

Home insurance and property taxes are usually paid into an escrow account each month and can be a large part of the monthly bill. Talk to an insurance agent about ways to reduce your home insurance bill.

Sometimes, simple upgrades can save a lot of money. While you're at it, check with your local property assessment office to see if there is any way to lower your property taxes. While you're exploring this possibility, ask about a home modification program that can help to lower some of these costs.

Conduct an energy audit.

After your mortgage, your electricity bill is probably your next highest bill. Fortunately, most power companies offer free or low-cost energy audits to help you determine ways to lower your electric bill.

Use the money you save to pay off your mortgage faster. It may even be possible to complete some home repairs that increase the value of your home, allowing you to increase the equity in the property without actually paying more toward your mortgage.

It's important to note that all of the suggestions on this list can be used together to help you reach your goal of paying off your mortgage faster. Consider using some of the ideas to save money while you research your options when it comes to refinancing your home.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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