Loan calculators are a fun – albeit financially nerdy – tool to play with. Plugin your static numbers – loan amount, APR, and monthly payment – then play around with different amounts of additional payments you can make.
A loan calculator can help you grasp how your loan is structured and how additional payments to the principal of the loan can reduce the balance.
Loan Payoff Calculator
How the loan payoff calculator works
MU30’s loan calculator is simple. You’ll start by inputting how much the loan you took out was for.
From there, you’ll need to put in some basic information about the loan, including the APR and the terms (how long the loan was originally for).
From there, think about how much extra you can afford to pay each month. Plug that into the calculator as well.
That’s it! All you have to do now is hit calculate and you’ll be presented with how much your monthly payment will be, how much interest you’ll pay, and how much interest you’ll save by adding extra payments to your loans.
Lenders that let you make principal-only payments
LendingTree is the kayak.com of loan shopping.
You can browse and compare loans that fit your needs, and the process takes just a couple of minutes.
Lenders are competing for your business, and you can chat (and haggle!) with them directly.
Plus, any prepayment is automatically applied to the principal of the loan.
Prosper has mastered how to streamline peer-to-peer lending. They’ve refined the process down to three simple steps, giving you loan options with no fuss.
The money you receive is consolidated from actual people – no banks. And, yes, that means you can choose to use Prosper as both an investment opportunity and a way to help people in need.
Upstart approves borrowers based on a proprietary artificial intelligence platform, not your FICO score like most other lenders. This is a great option if you have a low credit score.
And they have quick loan funding, as soon as one day (compared to five days or more for many other lenders). The catch? The rates can get high, depending on how you’re scored on their platform.
Why making extra payments now, can save you tons in the future
Your monthly payment consists of two parts: principal and interest. The principal is the amount you borrow. The interest is the money the lender makes from the loan.
The earlier you start making extra payments on the loan, the better because most loans are amortized. Amortization is the upfront payment of interest on the loan that decreases over time. So, at the beginning of the loan, most of your monthly payment goes to interest, and very little of it goes toward the principal. Over the life of the loan, more and more of your monthly payment goes to the actual principal on the loan.
If your lender allows it – and if you make additional extra payments specifically to the principal – you can dramatically pay down the balance without paying interest on it.
Here’s why you should make principal-only payments
Skip the interest
When you make additional principal-only payments, you’re paying only the debt that you owe. Yes, normal payments with principal and interest still need to be made, but those extra payments can chip away major chunks of the loan.
Shorten the life of the loan
Done early and often, payment toward the principal will shorten the period of time you’ll be paying off the loan. A loan can whittle down quickly by months and then years.
It’s exciting – and super liberating – to see the endpoint get closer with each principal payment.
Pay less money overall
Principal only payments mean the lender won’t get as much profit over the length of the loan, keeping more of your hard-earned money in your bank account. This is also why not all lenders allow early payments on their loans.
Understanding how your loan is structured is really important. Just the basics of loan length (in months or years), interest rate, and ability to pay if off early are keys to making a financially savvy decision.