How to Pay Down Debt – Debt Consolidation

Is debt consolidation the answer to how to pay down debt?

Restructuring debt with a debt consolidation loan may be a good option for how to pay down debt. Enter the information about your current debts and the consolidation loan you’re considering and this calculator will show you the monthly payment and other important numbers of the consolidation loan and compare those numbers with no consolidation.

You can also enter any additional amount you are considering borrowing and any additional principal you will pay each month to pay the loan off faster. The numbers should help you decide how to pay down debt – with a debt consolidation loan for restricting debt or use a debt elimination strategy.

How to Pay Down Debt: Is debt consolidation really the answer for restructuring debt?

Field Help

Input Fields

Title: A title for these calculator results that will help you identify it if you have printed out several versions of the calculator.

Creditors: The name of the loan’s lender or credit card issuer.

Payment Amounts: Your required monthly payment for this loan. Leave it blank for credit cards unless you want to pay this amount each month regardless of what the minimum payment would be for this card.

Balances: Your current outstanding balance on this loan or credit card.

Interest Rates: The current annual interest rate you are paying on this loan or credit card. For credit cards, you may actually have different interest rates for different balance amounts. This could happen if part of your balance came from a cash advance (many credit cards charge a higher interest rate and no grace period for cash advances), or if you made some purchases during a lower percentage promotion period, or maybe you transferred the balance from another credit card for a special low interest rate promotion.

Minimum Payment Percents: For credit cards only – The minimum percentage (usually 2%-3%) of your outstanding balance the credit card issuer expects you pay each month. They usually calculate this for you and it shows up as the ‘Amount Due’ on your statement each month.

Minimum Principal Percents: For credit cards only – The minimum percentage (usually 1%) of principal federal guidelines require you to pay each month. Your actual payment will be either just the ‘Minimum Payment Percent’ or the ‘Minimum Principal Percent’ plus interest and fees, whichever is greater. Enter 0 if your credit card is issued by a credit union or other issuer that is exempt from the 2006 federal guidelines.

Minimum Interest Amounts: For credit cards only – If your credit card has a balance and you’re paying interest, there is probably a minimum amount of interest (usually $0.50 or $1.00) that will be charged for the month.

Minimum Payment Amounts: For credit cards only – The minimum amount (maybe $5.00) the credit card issuer expects you to pay each month, regardless of what the ‘Minimum Percent Payment’ calculates as. In other words, if the ‘Minimum Percent Payment’ (3%) calculation says you’re obligated to pay $3.75 this month, your ‘Amount Due’ will actually be this amount ($5.00).

Borrow Additional: Any additional amount (over ‘Balance Total’) you plan to borrow with this consolidation loan.

Interest Rate: The annual percentage rate you will pay for this loan.

Length of Loan: How long you will pay on this loan. Also choose whether ‘Length of Loan’ is years or months.

Additional Principal: The additional amount you will pay each month (over the required ‘Monthly Payment’ amount) to pay down the principal on your loan.

Output Fields

Balance Total: Add down the ‘Balance’ column.

Consolidation Loan Amount: The amount you plan to borrow.

Monthly Payment: Principal + Interest + Additional Principal (where applicable) to be paid each month.

Total Interest: Total amount of interest you will pay over ‘Length of Loan’.

Total Paid: Total amount of principal + interest you will pay over ‘Length of Loan’.

Payoff Time: Amount of time until the loan is paid off.

Number of Payments: The number of payments you will make to pay off the loan.

Annual Cost: The amount of money you will pay each year for this loan.

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