by CI Staff
The Debt Reduction Calculator is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that helps you plan how to reduce credit card debt, auto loans, student loans and other debts. Its easy-to-use format and built-in formulas can help alleviate your financial stresses.
The application contains two different tabs. The first one is the Calculator tab. There are a couple different debt-reduction strategies in the Calculator tab that the user can choose from. The “snowball” strategy encourages the user to pay off the lowest balance first and the “avalanche” advises the user to first pay the debt with the highest interest. The program explains each theory and the positives and negatives of each approach, so you can choose which strategy fits best with your financial situation.
The spreadsheet has a creditor information table where you input each creditor, the balance on the account, the rate you are being charged and your minimum payment. The program will show a red background in the cell if you are trying to make a payment smaller than the interest-only payment.
The Debt Reduction Calculator spreadsheet is very self-explanatory and clearly lays out the payments for the user. You will know how much you are paying on each debt as well as a total of how much you need to pay per month. Each creditor gets broken down into another table that shows the user the original balance, total interest paid, how many months it will take to pay it off and when the debt will be paid off. There is a grand total for total interest paid. You can move your payments around, change amounts or try different approaches in order to find a way that works best for you as well as minimizes your total interest paid.
The monthly payment is the amount you have to set aside each month to pay your debts. If your total payment comes out to $270.00 and you input $500.00 for the amount that you can set aside, your “snowball” for that month would be $230.00. That is money that you have left over after you’ve made all your minimum payments. From there, you can choose to use that money to pay off more debt and lower your total interest paid, or keep that as discretionary income.
The next tab is the Payment Schedule. This tab shows again each creditor, balance, rate, base payment, months to pay off, month paid off and total interest paid on each debt. This is similar to a checkbook in that it keeps record of each payment. Everything is carried over from the other tab, so there is nothing to edit except where you input any additional amount you would like to pay on your debt. The chart will automatically add the additional amount into the column of the creditor that should be paid first to avoid a higher total interest amount.
Overall, the Debt Reduction Calculator is a great tool for managing debt and reducing total interest paid. The user can view all their debts on one spreadsheet and manage their payments efficiently. The application is easy to navigate through and a description of each part of the spreadsheet is given by clicking on any cell with a red flag.
Vertex 42 Debt Reduction Calculator
System Requirements: Windows NT/Me/2000/XP/Vista/7