If you’ve just bought your first home, the day your mortgage will be fully paid off and the property is really yours probably seems a long way off.

The good news is that there are tried and tested ways to bring that day much closer, and save yourself tens of thousands of rands in the process.

“Did you know, for example, that if you have a home loan of R800 000 at an interest rate of 9.25%, you could drop your bond repayment period to 17 years instead of 20, and save R178 000 in interest, just by
paying an extra R500 a month into your bond account?”

And if you were somehow able to make an additional payment of R2 950 every month, you could slash the bond payoff period to 10 years, saving R532 000 worth of interest. Unfortunately, though, most homeowners just don’t have that extra income to hand over every month, especially if they are first-time buyers. This means they need to find other ways to chip away at their home loan balance and repayment period.

Some alternative suggestions:

1. Become a scrooge

Start eliminating all unnecessary expenses, review your insurance premiums and put a limit on your cell phone usage.

2. Increase your earnings

Take extra shifts at work, sell something at weekend markets or look for some evening, holiday or freelance work to bring in extra income that you can put straight into your bond account.

3. Rent out some space

Even if you don’t have a spare room to rent out, you can perhaps still make some extra cash to put towards your ‘bond liberation day’ by renting out a storage space, garage or carport.

4. Make a lump-sum payment

If you receive an inheritance, tax refund or bonus, apply it to the principal balance of your home loan. The interest savings are likely to be better than most other investments.