SINGLE mum Claire Hattrick used every spare penny to pay off her mortgage eight years early.
By the time she turned 47-years-old, Claire’s hard work had paid off and she was debt free.
By living on a shoestring budget and sacrificing holidays, Claire who lives in Andover, Hampshire, overpaid her £95,000 mortgage by £150 every month.
She had taken out a 25-year mortgage, which was due to expire in 2023.
It was not just Claire’s commitment to a frugal lifestyle that helped her clear her home line ahead of schedule in 2015.
Claire invested a compensation pay out of £6,000 that she received – and after seven years, the money had quadrupled in value.
“My parents taught me that you should save three-quarters of everything you make and spend a quarter,” said Claire, mum of twins Abby and Beth, 23.
“Any spare money I had went towards paying off my mortgage so that later in life I could enjoy a bit more luxury and the pressure would be off.
“But no-one could have predicted the pandemic, so thank goodness I didn’t have the added stress of having to pay a mortgage.”
When Claire finally re-opened her garage-based salon, she had lost 70% of her clients. But being mortgage-free gave her the breathing space she needed to launch a new business.
Having suffered from crippling joint pain through the menopause, Claire decided to launch a website, ClipboardClaire.com, to help other women. She also uses the site to share money-saving tips.
When it comes to mortgages, her biggest money-saving tip is that overpaying even a small amount each month can make a big difference.
Some banks let borrowers pay as little as £10 extra every month, which can still have a big impact.
Overpaying by £10 a month on a £200,000 mortgage with an interest rate of 2% over 25 years would save you £877 in interest and pay off your home loan four months early.
A £100 a month overpayment would save you £7,642 in interest and shave three years off the life of your mortgage.
In the first six weeks of the year, borrowers overpaid £335million on their mortgages, 50% more than overpayments made in the same period last year according to Santander.
Borrowers’ pay varying interest rates throughout the mortgage lifetime. Claire’s last mortgage deal was on a rate of 5.5%.
If Claire had paid interest of 5.5% throughout the term of her mortgage, her £150 a month overpayment would have saved her £30,565 in interest, according to L&C Mortgages.
Should you overpay your mortgage?
Mortgage rates have been gradually rising since the Bank of England increased the base rate from its historic low of 0.1% in December to 0.75% in March. And more increases are expected.
David Hollingworth, communications director at L&C Mortgages, said: “Borrowers currently locked into an ultra-low mortgage rate who are worried about rising mortgage costs when they come to switch can take the chance to overpay now.
“That will stand you in good stead when your deal ends. Not only will you owe a smaller amount on your mortgage minimising the pain of a higher rate, but you’ll already be used to allocating more of your monthly budget to the mortgage payment.”
Overpaying your mortgage can also help you unlock the best mortgage deals on the market.
That’s because a borrower with a low mortgage balance compared to the value of their property is offered the cheapest deals on the market if they come to move or borrow more.
By overpaying and reducing your balance, you may find you’re eligible for lower rates when it is time to renew your deal.
But check the terms of your mortgage before you make any overpayments – many lenders have limits on how much extra you can pay off.
For example, many firms will let you overpay by a maximum of 10% of the total amount you owe each year. So, if you had a £200,000 mortgage, you could make overpayments of up to £2,000 without incurring any extra charges.
Claire said her thrifty ways have raised laughs among her friends over the years. But now she’s reaping the rewards of her frugal habits.
“They joke about me bulk buying six shampoos to get six conditioners free and keeping all my discount deals in my downstairs cupboards.
“I batch cooked when the girls were little to cut down my food bill and I always haggle with utility and insurance providers to make sure I’m on the cheapest deal.”
Experts warn, however, that using all your spare cash to repay your mortgage comes with risks.
“As beneficial as overpaying can be, it’s important to make sure you have savings to draw on if necessary,” said Mr Hollingworth.
Once a mortgage overpayment is made, you can’t just get that money back, he warns.
You should also make sure you’re on the cheapest mortgage rate for your circumstances before you start to overpay.
We asked one property expert on tips for how to pay off your mortgage in just 10 years.
Meanwhile, the Property Twins reveal the five common errors that first-time buyers need to avoid.
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