Tips for paying off mortgage early

Borrower confused after getting runaround from lender

DEAR BENNY: I was reading in one of your columns about paying off your mortgage faster by making an extra payment each year. You said to make sure your coupon clearly indicates you are making an extra payment. I did this at the end of 2008, but didn’t know whether it should go under an extra payment or payment on the principal. I paid it on the principal because otherwise it wouldn’t show up until January as a payment.

I called the mortgage company and could not get a straight answer from them. I was told I could do it either way, which was not helpful. Did I do the right thing by paying the extra payment on the principal? I was setting up our payments to come out of our checking bimonthly so the extra payment would be included each year. We also have money going into our escrow account to pay our taxes and homeowners insurance. I am confused. –Lynette