"A dollar saved is two dollars earned" - every dollar counts when upping your mortgage contributions, even when it may not seem like much at the time. The earlier you can start, the bigger the difference your hard-earned money makes in shortening the amortization period and saving on the interest that is owed.
If you haven't done so already, take the opportunity to change your mortgage payment strategy with these options:
Make bi-weekly payments: If you are making monthly contributions, consider cutting that figure in half and making your payments every two weeks. You probably won't notice the difference, but it does equal a couple of extra payments a year, which could save a few years off your mortgage.
Match your payments with your salary increases: Does your company offer automatic annual raises? If so, putting that towards your mortgage payments, or, figure an incremental increase of say, 1% yearly; it's a painless way to put more money towards paying off your debt.
Round up your payments: Remember the bank that offered to put the difference of the amount spent on interact transactions rounded up to the nearest dollar be automatically deposited into your savings account? If you spent $4.75, then $0.25 would be automatically be saved and who would miss a quarter here or there? Well, apply that to your mortgage payment. If you are paying $1484 a month, rounding it up to $1500 can mean reducing your loan period by one year.
Lump sum payments: Many people don't make a lump sum contribution although most mortgages allow for an annual contribution of as much as 15% of the initial principal amount. Consider putting your tax return towards a lump sum payment. Or, if you spend $5 on coffee everyday of the week - consider that if you save that instead, you'd have $1200 for a lump sum. It may not seem like that much, but it will whittle away at the interest you owe so that more of your payment is going towards the principle.
Mortgage prepayments: What's your prepayment %? If you have an unexpected influx of cash, why not put that towards your monthly or bi-weekly payment? Most mortgage contracts include an allowable prepayment amount on all payment dates. Making a double payment here or there will certainly add up.
Often times the best investment is paying down your mortgage. So when negotiating a new mortgage or renewing one, you should be aware of all the ways you can make extra contributions without any penalty.