How to stay motivated when overpaying a mortgage

I overpay my mortgage because of the freedom it will give me in the future.  But it can be hard to stay motivated – even if I overpaid by £1000 a month, I’d still be more than fifteen years away from paying it off.  With two young kids, it’s really now that I need that freedom most! 

Like the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago and the second best time is right now – so on I go and here are some of the things that keep me on track.

Getting inspiration from others

This video by Ken and Mary from The Humble Penny is full of great tips but their enthusiasm and determination is also really motivating.  It’s great to see examples of people who are out the other side and the options that that gives them.  Another great source of inspiration is the Mortgage Free Wannabe forums on Money Saving Expert where you can get support and motivation from other people doing the same thing.  Look for the Mortgage Free Roll of Honour where people post their story and top tips once they have paid everything off.  

Tracking the outstanding balance online

I’ve found that downloading the app for my mortgage provider so that I can watch the balance comes down makes a huge difference.  I get a letter from my bank every time I make an overpayment, and I can’t opt out of that, so if I only have a small amount to put aside I put it in a separate bank account (just for overpaying) and then make a overpayment when I’ve saved a decent amount.  My interest is calculated daily so I know I’m not putting the money to work as quickly as I could, but it does help me be more aggressive with saving because I keep the money accessible for a bit longer in case of an unexpected cost. 

Colouring in!

On my desk I have piece of paper with a grid of squares – each square representing £1000 of capital based on the purchase price of my house.  I’ve divided it into a floorplan of the house and every time I pay off £1000, including as part of my monthly mortgage payment, I colour in a square.  I have different colours for my initial deposit, how much I paid off in the first 2-year mortgage deal, and now a new colour for years 3 and 4.  So far I’ve paid for the downstairs, except for the kitchen!  

Keep spending on things that matter to me

I like the idea of splurging on the things I value and ruthlessly cutting spending in other areas. For example, I spend no money on make up and rarely buy clothes, but I did treat myself to a smart sports watch recently and I love being able to track my runs, get messages on my watch, and not having to carry a phone around. I put the money I don’t spend on stuff I don’t value straight to the mortgage and having the odd treat makes me feel I’m still enjoying the here and now.

And if all else fails…

The great thing about overpaying a mortgage, instead of shortening your term, is the flexibility it gives you. If I really can’t afford it during certain periods I can dial back or stop.

If you are overpaying your mortgage but are years away from paying it off, how do you stay motivated?

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