Last month, I looked through my mortgage paperwork to determine whether I was able to drop the private mortgage insurance yet. It appeared good, so I contacted Washington Mutual to find out their requirements. They sent me a letter detailing everything. Basically, since this is my primary residence, I needed to have a good payment history (I do) and 20% equity. I was a little short on the equity, so I sent them an all principal payment, which was about the size of one month's mortgage payment. Ouch. But we had the money sitting in the savings account, so it didn't hurt too much. Now I'm not paying $42.11 each month for PMI.
I wrote two other checks to WaMu last month. I sent them the regular payment due September 1st. I also sent them $148 to bring the escrow account back up to the level they like to see. Every August they re-estimate the escrow figures based on the previous year's debits and credits to the escrow account. Last year, my property taxes and homeowner's insurance were higher than budgeted, so they wanted more to balance last year. A once a year adjustment is a lot easier than having to pay the taxes and insurance without the escrow account.
Yesterday, I received the statement from WaMu reflecting all of the payments I sent them last month. Starting October 1, the payment is about $37 less than what was due September 1. I intend to continue paying the extra $37 and applying it toward principal. Every little bit helps. I doubt that we'll live in this house long enough to pay it off, but it sure would be nice to some day sell it and make enough money for a down payment on the next house.