You have just chosen your new car and negotiated the terms to pay for it. You may be content at first, but that five-year note may take the edge off your excitement after a while. You may begin to feel as if there is no end in sight, but there are some practical ways you can shave quite a few months off the life of your loan and pay less interest overall.
The simplest way to pay off car loans in a timely manner is to make payments on time and never skip a payment. If your payment is late, the lender might tack on a fee to your loan principal. Not only does this increase the amount you owe, you will also be paying interest on that fee. Your lender may occasionally offer you the opportunity to skip a payment as a reward. While this may be tempting, fight the urge to skip. Skipping a payment only adds time to the life of your loan.
Paying a little extra than the contract terms require each month is another good way to pay your loan off early. If you budgeted for $300 a month, but your finance plan only requires you to pay $250, go ahead and pay the higher amount that you planned every month. This not only takes months off the terms of your loan, it also lowers the amount you pay in interest.
Pay More Often
Some lenders charge penalties for making extra payments, but if your contract terms will allow for it, try to make an extra payment every once in a while. An easy way to do this is by making a half-payment every two weeks. Over the course of a year, instead of the 12 payments you would have made if you had paid once a month, you will make 13 full payments.
Your car loan may seem like it lasts forever. With a little extra effort, however, you can pay it off faster than you originally planned.