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### Car Loan Calculations - Articles Surfing

Sooner or later, everyone wants or needs to buy a vehicle; and unless you have a money tree in your backyard, you're going to need to take out a loan.

Virtually every new car purchase requires financing from a bank or other financial institution. The only other choice is to pay cash, an option few of us have at our disposal. If you're in the market for a new car you'll need financing, and in order to make the right decisions you need to know about car loan calculations. If you fully understand how to make car loan calculations, you'll be able to estimate the values involved in your purchase, as well as balance the expenses that come with buying a new car. Knowing this information is crucial to buying a car that's within your budget.

Car loan calculations involve a number of factors. Consider the loan term, interest rate and loan principal and work them into your calculations. Only then will you know if the car you want is the car you're able to afford.

Loan Term
Basically, this is amount of time it will take to pay the loan in full. A shorter term will mean higher monthly payments, but the loan will be paid off faster. Longer terms involve more affordable monthly payments, but it will take more time to meet your obligation. The length of your loan term can also affect the interest rate, and can increase the amount you pay in interest overall.

Interest Rate
No banks or finance companies will lend you money out of the goodness of their hearts. They make money from interest. The interest rate determines how much extra you will pay for the convenience of borrowing money. Interest rates will fluctuate based on the market, and lenders will try to get your business by offering a lower rate. Shopping around for a good rate can save you hundreds of dollars over the term of the loan.

Loan Principal
This is the base amount of money you borrow, before any interest or financing fees are added on. The amount of your monthly payments, and the total amount of interest you pay, are based solely on the principal amount. Naturally, the monthly payments and overall interest will get higher as the principal increases. If you find that the monthly payment is beyond your means, then you should consider starting with a smaller loan principal. In some cases, the term "loan principal" can also be used when referring to your outstanding loan balance. At any given time during the term of your loan, you can check to see what your existing loan principal is.

If your loan is an amortization, you'll find that your first few months of payments will only pay off the interest amount. You can pay \$500 a month for 8 or 9 months, only to find that a fraction of that amount has been taken off of the principal. Over time, however, the payments will balance out and you'll begin to see more money coming off of the principal. Eventually, the entire loan will be paid.

Buying a car always seems like a great idea, but the payments really can be quite overwhelming. Don't put yourself in a situation where there's more month than money. Car loan calculations are absolutely necessary to putting yourself in the driver's seat, without putting yourself in the hole.

Submitted by:

### Susan Miller

Susan Miller writes for several popular online magazines, on shopping ideas and products and shopping subjects.

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