A mortgage or home loan is the single and the biggest debt will ever incur, and there’s nothing good about the idea of having to keep paying the money nowadays we have the option back over half your adult life – especially when most of that repayment is going towards interest and not the original amount you actually borrowed. In addition, you’re almost certainly paying for extras that have nothing to do with the loan itself – things like mortgage insurance and service fees.

But here’s the good news. If you take some simple steps to pay your mortgage off early, you’re not just reducing your outstanding debt, but you’ll be paying less interest each month too. This creates a kind of snowball effect – meaning that it becomes easier and easier each month to keep the momentum going and pay off your debt even faster! Worked out over the course of the loan, shaving just a few years off your repayments can save you a simply astounding amount of money.

And once your mortgage is paid off, of course, you’re free to start putting that extra money to work for you, making interest instead of paying it. But where do you come up with the extra cash each month when you’re already struggling to make ends meet? Here are some suggestions and even a few clever workarounds.

Find out about biweekly mortgage payments

If you know that trying to make extra payments on willpower alone is probably not going to work for you, this can be the simplest way to automate the process. What it boils down to is that you’re essentially making 13 full monthly payments (split into 26 half payments) over the course of a year rather than 12 full monthly payments. The difference is small enough that you probably won’t even notice, but you’ll be paying off your debt that little bit faster.

Spend smarter

We all have things we need to buy each month, and trying to find ways to cut back by entirely eliminating expenses just isn’t always possible. You may need to spend money, but you can make the decision to spend smarter. There is an endless array of possibilities – from carpooling to work with colleagues and sharing fuel costs, paying a small amount for appliance repairs rather than purchasing a whole new appliance when one breaks down, getting a friend to cut your hair at a discount rather than forking out for a professional salon, or just making better use of rewards programs you’re already a part of.

Of course, where you can eliminate an expense entirely, it makes a lot of sense to do so – not just to help you save money and pay off your mortgage sooner, but to help you get in the habit of saving for the future once the debt is paid off.

Put windfalls into your mortgage rather than spending them

Whether it’s a tax refund, work bonus, unexpected inheritance or simply cash gifts from friends for your birthday, think twice before you rush out to spend that extra cash. Remember that every extra dollar you put towards your mortgage is a dollar you’ll never ever have to spend interest on again. To keep yourself motivated, you might even agree to use a little bit of the money as a reward to spoil yourself for doing the right thing!

Refinance over a shorter term

Most banks have a default term that they offer their clients, sometimes 15 years, sometimes 20, sometimes 30 years or anywhere in between – but this doesn’t mean they don’t offer loans over shorter terms. They might not tell you about this option, so it makes sense to find out if you can refinance. As with all debt, you should be aiming to pay it off as soon as you possibly can, not draw it out like the lender wants you to so they can keep charging you interest for longer.

Rope in friends and family

If you’ve decided to commit to paying off your mortgage early, then tell all your friends and family about it! People are a lot more likely to stay motivated when they have other people involved, either to act as moral support or simply because you don’t want to disappoint them. It will also help them be more respectful of making financial demands of you if they know you’re working towards a noble goal.

When not to pay off your mortgage early

As a rule, home loans and mortgages tend to be relatively low interest loans, so you shouldn’t prioritize paying them off before you’ve cleared more expensive debt like credit card debt or personal loans.