Refinancing to Ease Holiday Spending Woes

Planning ahead really can save you money down the road. And with the high-cost holiday gift-buying and entertaining season quickly approaching, this may be the perfect time to refinance your mortgage and free up some money instead of relying on high-interest credit cards.

You may find that taking equity out of your home will help bring joy back into your holiday season – and start the New Year off on a debt-free note, as you may also be able to use some of the equity in your home to pay off high-interest debt such as your credit card balances. This will enable you to put more money in your bank account each month.

And since interest rates are hovering near historic lows – you can currently get a five-year mortgage for under 3.5% – switching to a lower rate may save you a lot of money, possibly thousands of dollars per year.

There are penalties for paying your mortgage loan out prior to renewal, but these could be offset by the lower rates and extra money you could acquire through a refinance. I can sit down with you and work through all of the equations to ensure this is the right move for you.

With access to more money, you will be better able to manage both your holiday spending and existing debt. Refinancing your mortgage and taking some existing equity out could also enable you to do many things you’ve been longing to accomplish – such as purchasing an investment property, taking that well-deserved vacation, renovating your home or even investing in your children’s education.

Paying your mortgage down faster
By refinancing, you may extend the time it will take to pay off your mortgage, but there are many ways to pay down your mortgage sooner to save you thousands of dollars in interest payments. Most mortgage products, for instance, include prepayment privileges that enable you to pay up to 20% of the principal (the true value of your mortgage minus the interest payments) per calendar year.


This will also help reduce your amortization period (the length of your mortgage), which, in turn, saves you money.

You can also increase the frequency of your mortgage payments by opting for accelerated bi-weekly payments. Not to be confused with semi-monthly mortgage payments (24 payments per year), accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments (26 payments per year) will not only pay your mortgage off quicker, but it’s guaranteed to save you a significant amount of money over the term of your mortgage.

If, for instance, you have a $100,000 mortgage, an interest rate of 5% and an amortization period of 25 years, your monthly mortgage payment would be $581.60 and your total payments for a year would be $6,979.20 ($581.60 x 12).

To understand the savings accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments can make, take the monthly mortgage payment of $581.60 and divide it by two ($581.60 ÷ 2 = $290.80).  Next, take that payment and multiply it by 26 to arrive at your total payments for the year ($290.80 x 26 = $7,560.80).

As you can see, by using the monthly mortgage payment plan, you’ve made payments totalling $6,979.20 for the year, while using the accelerated bi-weekly mortgage plan you’ve made payments totalling $7,560.80 – a difference of $581.60. 

By opting for accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments, you’re making one additional monthly payment per year.

Using this example, you would reduce the amortization on your $100,000 mortgage from 25 years to just over 21 years and your total savings on interest over the life of the mortgage would be just over $12,000.

By refinancing now – before the holiday season is in full swing – and planning ahead, you can put yourself and your family in a better financial position.

As always, if you have any questions about refinancing, reducing debt or paying down your mortgage quicker, I’m here to help!