Friday, May 29, 2009

8 Ways to Save Money Through Your Mortgage, Banking or Credit Cards

My office is cluttered and unorganized, which absolutely drives me crazy. So, last night I decided to start tackling this huge project...not to point fingers here, but it's mostly my hubby's mess that I'm trying to sort through. However, I did go through all the files in my desk and found a lot of things I didn't need.

What does this have to do with saving money you may ask? Well, I found a magazine dated July 2008 that caught my eye--one of the headline stories was "Easy Tips to Save $1,000's"--I knew I had kept this for a reason! Today I'll share the tips on saving money through your mortgage, your bank or credit cards.

For previous articles of how to save money, click on the following links:

Simple Tips on How to Slash Your Grocery Bill

"If You Play With Snakes You're Gonna Get Bit"


MORTGAGE TIPS:

* PAY THE POINTS: With most home loans, the biggest expense is the interest. One of the best ways to lower that expense is through the wise use of discount points--upfront fee paid to the lender. One discount point equals 1 percent of the loan amount. Generally, the more discount points you pay up front, the lower the interest rate. This is also known as "buying down the loan." A good rule of thumb: If you can recoup the cost of the points within the first 2 years through the lower monthly payments, go for the points.
  • Example: You can get a 30-year fixed-rate $200,000 mortgage for 5.75 % plus 2 points (which cost about $4,000), or 6.75 % with no points. If you go with the lower interest rate you save $130 a month. It will take you about 2.5 years to recoup that $4,000 you had to pay up front to get the lower rate. However, over the following 28 years you will save $46,818 due to the lower interest rate and payments.


* PREPAY THE PRINCIPAL: Each month when you make your regular mortgage payment, write a second check for one-twelfth of the regular mortgage payment. Do this every month and at the end of one year you will have made the equivalent of 13 monthly payments. On a 30-year $200,000 mortgage at 6.75 % interest, this tactic pays off your mortgage in 24 years and saves a whopping $62,750 in interest.


* GO SHORT-TERM: Although your monthly payment may be higher, you can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest by shopping for the shortest-term mortgage you can afford. For each $100,000 you borrow at a 7 % annual percentage rate (APR), for example, you will pay over $75,000 less in interest on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage than you would on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.


* DROP THE PMI: Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is extra insurance lenders require from most homebuyers who obtain loans that are for more than 80 % of their new home's value. However, thanks to the Homeowner's Protection Act (HPA), PMI is now automatically cancelled once your mortgage is paid down to 77 % of the original value of the property. Typically, PMI premiums range from $250 to $1,200 a year.


CREDIT CARD AND BANKING TIPS:

* PAY EARLY: Most credit card companies compute interest charges based on your average daily balance, so making your payment early in the billing cycle (as soon as you receive your statement rather than waiting until the payment is due) will save $5, $10 or even more a month. Why? Because you reduce the daily balance for more days in the cycle.


* JUST ASK: Tired of paying 16 % interest on your credit card balance? Pick up the phone and call customer service (the number on the back of your card). Ask for a lower rate. If you have a good payment history, chacnes are they'll lower it on the spot. The difference between 18% and 7% on a $5,000 balance is $46 a month, or almost $600 a year.


* FIGHT THE FEES: If your credit card issuer smacks you with a fee, don't be shy. Nearly all banks will waive at least one late fee ($15-$39) or over-limit fee (up to $39), but you have to ask. If you're paying an annual fee (anywhere from $50 to $300) just to have the card, ask to have that waived too.


* PAY ONLINE: If you pay 15 bills a month by mail, you're spending at least $75 a year in postage. Most large banks offer free online bill paying for customers that lets you pay any vendor, or you can also pay the vendor directly online. Go to your bank's website or the vendor's website to learn more.

You know, it's a tough economy we're in right now and whether you're on a tight budget, struggling to meet ends each month or you've saved up some cash and are more flexible with your money, it doesn't hurt to make the smartest decisions possible and find ways to save as much money as you can. I hope this tips helped you; as a first-time home owner myself, I learned a lot about mortgages through these tips.

I would love to hear what you're doing to save money during our current economic times?

If you are in the market to buy or sell your home in the Bethlehem or Dacula area, I would be happy to assist you! My passion is helping people find their dream home and stepping them through this exciting journey. I serve the Walton, Barrow and Gwinnett county areas. Call or text me today!
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Photo Credit: AMagill

Original article was written by Mary Hunt and found in the July 2008 edition of Woman's Day magazine

1 comment:

GENICA said...

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Warm Regards

Homeloa-n.info Team

http://www.homeloa-n.info