Now that I have three chances a day to win up to $5,000 I'm thinking about all the fun ways I could spend that money. But in the back of my mind I keep remembering Benjamin Franklin: a penny saved is a penny earned. Well, when it comes to your mortgage that is ESPECIALLY true!

Mortgage payback calculators can be a little tricky to use, but after some internet sleuthing I discovered I like Dave Ramsey's the best. That makes sense because he's a huge believer in paying off a mortgage ASAP.

So what did I learn? If I gave my lender the $5,000 I won from playing the code words, it would take almost a year off the end of my mortgage and save me more than $9,000!!! That's right, I'd DOUBLE my money!

But check this out: If I put the $5k in a savings account and paid off an extra $15 a month from that account it would knock 6 mos off the mortgage and save me $3,700 even though I held onto the money in case of an emergency and allowed it to build interest while it slowly depleted! Fascinating.

If you want to play around with the calculator and see how much you'd save by making extra payments I recommend this one because it's so easy to use. I put the settings at a $275k loan that I got just a few years ago with 4% interest. So if your situation is different just adjust the settings and give it a whirl!

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