One big upside to continuing to contribute to your 401(k) plan is that you'll amass a larger retirement nest egg. And as your savings build up — from your own retirement contributions and possibly matching contributions from your employer — the added financial security you'll have from your 401(k) plan can help reduce the economic and emotional sting associated with that outstanding mortgage.
2. Ask for a Raise
For those of you still working, now is also the time to ask for a pay hike. Even though a modest raise won't change your lifestyle anytime soon, every little bit helps. Also, the compounding effect of earning a raise today will be magnified over the years, particularly if you can consistently score raises on an annual basis.
Most important, a raise can give you extra cash that can be applied toward your mortgage balance.
3. Lower Other Household Expenses
Maybe your mortgage is years away from being paid off and it seems like it will never go away. But what about other house-related bills you're paying? Can you lower some of those costs?
If you live in a state with high taxes, try appealing your property taxes. If you are spending a lot on utility bills, inquire about getting on a payment plan with your local electric or gas supplier, which can even out your monthly payments over the course of the year.
Or perhaps you're paying a lot for energy costs around the house and could easily save money by doing things like switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, taking shorter showers to lower your water and heating bills, or unplugging appliances and electronics when they're not in use.