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Finding The Perfect Loan: Best Calculators To Use


If you're like the millions of American consumers, you probably have some kind of outstanding loans, whether in the form of credit cards, mortgage loans, car loans or other consumer debt. Consumer credit use continues to grow every month at about a 5 percent per month, meaning more people are using loans to make purchases that were once made with cash.

If you're currently looking for that perfect loan, or just want to understand the ones you have, we can help. Our calculator section has a variety of personal and business calculators to help meet your needs.

What Is Your Household Budget?

The first step to take when looking for a perfect loan is determining your household budget. Whether there are one or 20 people in the house, this step lets you know how much you have to work with. The Home Budget Analysis calculator helps you sort out your income and expenses.

home-budget-calculator Select the pencil icon to expand each section and fill in the amounts. Once the details are complete, select the “View Report” button at the top of the calculator to see the report details. The more accurate your input, the better picture you will have of your budget and what loan amounts you can reasonably afford.

Compare Your Loans

Understanding loans, including your interest rates, principal and loan terms, is crucial to choosing the best one for your needs. Let's say you are looking for a personal loan and are not sure if you should go with a 2 or 3-year loan. The first step is to compare the loans. A great calculator to use for this is the Loan Comparison Calculator.

loan-comparison-calculator To start, expand “Loan 1” by clicking on the plus mark [+] on the right. This expands the calculator for you to input your specific loan. (Repeat for the other loans.) You will need to complete the loan amount, interest rate, loan term, loan amortization and any fees associated with the loan. This example shows a comparison between a 2-year personal loan, with an interest rate of 9.18 percent and a few fees, and a similar 3-year loan with a lower interest rate.

two-and-three-year-comparison Once your values are input, select the “View Report” button to see how the loans compare to each other, or the “Print Report” button for a copy of your report.

Determine An Affordable Loan

Another great calculator is especially useful when you need to make a large purchase, such as a car or house. This calculator helps you determine the size of the loan or the loan payments you'll need to make. For example, if you're looking for a car and know that you can afford a payment of $280 per month and estimate an interest rate of at least 7 percent, you will be able to afford a loan of $14,141. This gives you a budget range for a car.

car-loan Next time a salesperson tries to pressure you into buying something you can't afford, say “no” with confidence and negotiate a price based on what fits you, not the salesperson.

Visit our calculator pages to find solutions to your financial challenges. We have tools that can help you determine everything from retirement and life insurance needs to early loan payoffs and more.

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