I'm trying to figure out the concepts "compound and continuous interest". This article explains the material very well in the context of a savings account. However, I find it difficult to transfer my understanding to the realm of debt. For instance, in the end of said article the following applications are presented.
Should I pay my mortgage at the end of the month, or the beginning? The beginning, for sure. This way you knock out a chunk of debt early, preventing that “debt factory” from earning interest for 30 days. Suppose your loan APY is 6% and your monthly payment is \$2000. By paying at the start of the month, you’d save \$2000 * 6% = \$120/year, or \$3600 throughout a 30-year mortgage. And a few grand is nothing to sneeze at.
Should I use several small payments, or one large payment?. You want to pay debt off as early as possible. \$500/week for 4 weeks is better than \$2000 at the end of the month. Each payment stops a few weeks’ worth of interest. The math is a bit tricker, but think of it as 4 \$500 investments, each getting different return. In a month, the first payment saves 3 week’s worth of interest: 500 · (1 + daily rate)21. The next saves 2 weeks: 500 · (1 + daily rate)14. The third saves a week 500 · (1 + daily rate)7 and the last payment doesn’t save any interest. Regardless of the details, prepayment will save you money.
I don't understand the answers. Help would be appreciated. (Again, you may assume that I understand the concepts of compound and continuous interest in the context of savings accounts.)