Six months doesn’t sound like much, but boy did it relieve our budget. When we obtained a loan for the car it didn’t seem like much. But now I was at home with our toddler and the car payment seemed to be going on and on. With taxes and interest it was too much.
What I did is simple, so “yes, I know that, duh, I’m looking for something big that will pay my car off today…,” but really, this is the only way I know how to do it that works.
I committed to go to the bank EVERY Monday. I deposited every spare penny – I broke two old piggy banks that had several dollars of pennies that were taking up space. I found pennies on the sidewalk. I took my husbands change from his pockets every night. I gathered every stray penny in the house and garage from junk drawers, in amongst paperclips, etc. If my budget for groceries was $140 and I only spent $130, I put the $10 with my pennies.
Then I went to the bank, deposited it, and immediately wrote the check for the same amount or even a few dollars more. I had pre-addressed envelopes and payment coupons, and my stamps were a collage of every old stamp I could find in the same junk drawers – the 1 cent stamps, the 29 cent stamps, the 4 cent stamps… I used them all up. On the way home from the bank, I mailed the coupon and payment.
WHY didn’t I use online banking for this? Because the car company HAS to understand that this is an EXTRA payment – it is not to be saved until the full payment comes in once a month. My car payment coupons had a line that stated this, and I was sure to fill in that correct line of payment.
The same holds true for making an extra house payment. I have heard tales of lenders holding back the extra payments until the full amount came in.
With credit cards you should be fine just using online banking. They credit immediately.
If you are disciplined enough, then keep the extra money in a jar, deposit it once a month, and then add the extra amount to your regular car payment. But temptation runs high to spend it on something else.
I got so much satisfaction sending in extra payments that it helped me spend less and less of our real budget so that I had more to send in. For me, it worked really well. And it was a big surprise to my husband when the pink slip came in the mail six months early. He had no idea I was making extra payments.
I used Mary Hunt’s Rapid Debt Repayment Calculators to encourage me and watch the balance fall. Every time I made payment I plugged it in and re-ran the payoff numbers.
You can do the same thing with savings. You can add to savings $1 at a time, or you can increase automatic savings $1 at a time.
REGARDING BANKS and COINS:
I know that my credit union does not accept coins anymore. They have a coin machine that we must deposit it in. At first, we could do this for free. Now they take a percentage. But they don’t take a percentage if CHILDREN use it. So today, I take my child with me, we deposit all our change, and take the receipt to the teller. If it is for $11.83, then we take out $11 and my child gets to keep the change in his account (because they don’t give out change, and I’d rather pay my child than the bank!). Of course, many times we keep more than the change in his account.
If you don’t have a child, perhaps you can set up an account for a niece or nephew, or even a neighbor, and do something similar. Better to borrow a child and encourage him to save, than pay a bank fee!
So the bottom line in paying something off early is to be DILIGENT. Keep plodding and planning. Don’t take on any more debt. STOP LEAKS! YOU HAVE ENOUGH!
The only way to pay it off early is to begin with baby steps. I’m amazed to say, that today, this very minute, I have absolutely no debt. Not one cent. All my bills are paid in full. I am AMAZED.
He who waits to do a great deal at once will never do anything. ~Charles Simmons