Here is a quick tip for you: if you have a mortgage, consider getting biweekly payments set up.
Basically with a bi-weekly payment system you make about half of your mortgage payment twice a month. Using these kinds of plans you tend to pay down your mortgage a bit faster than with a loan which requires one payment. In some cases the savings can be substantial. You can shave years of payments and thousands of dollars of interest off your mortgage. Case in point if you took out a new 30 year mortgage of $180,000 at 5.5% a biweekly payment plan would save you $38,634.82 and 5 years of payments. That’s real value.
Here is the catch, don’t sign up for an expensive bi-weekly saver plan. If your bank doesn’t offer a free or super lost cost bi-weekly plan, consider making an extra monthly principle payment towards your mortgage at the end of the year – it should have roughly the same overall effect.
Finally, for more information consider checking out Mary Ann Haggerty’s New York Times piece on the topic. It’s both brief and comprehensive.