During my mega debt repayment days, when I was $30k in the hole and totally clueless, I came up with the idea of paying down my debts on a weekly basis rather than a monthly basis.
Now I know Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard, Suze Orman and countless others often mention that making additional payments is the fastest way to financial freedom and they’re right.
Duh? It ain’t rocket science.
Usually mentioned are bi-monthly payments. By bi-monthly, I’m referring to the “twice per month” definition rather than the “every other month” definition.
I started there, basically taking my minimum monthly payment due, divided by two and set it up to be paid on the 1st and 15th of each month.
Seeing zero progress, mostly cause I was still essentially only making minimum payments, I started paying the minimum payment twice per month. This made it so that I was essentially making a double payment each month which, clearly, led to success.
The downside is that it hit my lifestyle pretty hard, you know, writing a multiple $400+ checks every other week. That would not do. I mean, really, who likes paying big bills?
So to lessen the impact, I cut the payments in half — kinda like the original variation of the bi-monthly plan — but this time, I paid my credit card bills weekly.
Hundred bucks here, hundred bucks there is totally do-able.
Sure, it still sucks but when you see real progress, I mean, really fast progress occurring every 7 days, well, it doesn’t suck so much because the end of the tunnel quickly comes into focus.
Using this method, if memory serves me right, I think I paid down $30k balances in just over a year. Twice. Look it up — it’s documented on here somewhere.
Point is, paying credit card bills to the tune of $2500 per month (on top of the mortgage, utility bills, car payments, whatever…) sounds like a total impossibility but I was essentially able to just that with weekly $200 payments to 3 different credit cards.
Hmmmm… $600 per week is still kinda steep… I’m proud of myself for being able to manage that but it doesn’t have to be that much if you can’t do it.
Trust me, these days with two kids in daycare, I’d be in a bind with one $600 payment per month, let alone per week!
But that doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the idea of weekly payments. All along, I’ve been transfering money to my savings account on a weekly basis. That said, I’ve never been as successful saving money as I have been paying down debt.
At my current pace, just making minimum payments each month, I’ll have the house paid for in 326 months. That’s over 27 years from now. That will not do.
Tossing just $25 per week extra towards the mortgage knocks the term down to 230 months. That’s just over 19 years from now and, seriously, $25 a week won’t be missed… And with a reward of 8 years without a mortgage payment? Well, hello!
Jumping to $50 per week means I’ll be done in under 15 years.
Eh, how about $100 extra per week… Well, that gets me down to 10 and a half years until my mortage is paid in full.
I’m not even looking at how much interest I’ll save myself from paying — that’d just sweeten the deal.
Now, can I do $100 per week for the next decade?
Can I imagine making an extra monthly mortgage payment of $433.00 each month?
I’d prefer not to… but as I’m sure you’ve guessed, they’re essentially the exact same.
Brains work in a weird way — $433 sounds and feels like a lot. Out of range, even… $100, though, doesn’t have the same sting…
I think I could part with $100 each week.
Just something to think about…
Owning the house free and clear before the kids are even out of junior high….
That’s a very pleasant thought…
For now, though, I’m starting with $25 per week (first payment was this morning) until we figure out how (and for how long) the new car purchase is going to re-arrange our finances…