I know there are hundreds of online calculators to be found, but I grow weary of the delay in response due to my Internet connection. I have satellite internet — it is the only “fast” Internet available out in the country. I pay for the cheapest connection, which is rather expensive at $50/month. I would rather deal with the slight delay in pages loading, than pay an extra $20 or more a month.
Besides the delay, I’m a huge Excel fan. I am fairly skilled at getting it to do what I want, but sometimes it’s easier and less time consuming to go find what someone else has already built. And best yet, the response when I change the scenario is instantaneous!
Years ago I had an amortization spreadsheet that calculated my payment schedule. I went looking for one this morning and found a really neat site Vertex42 – The Excel Nexus that has dozens of free spreadsheets available for download. All kinds including Amortization Schedules, Calendars, Home Budgets, Retirement Planning, 401k Savings Calculator, Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator, Credit Card Payoff, Auto Loan Payment and more!
And the really great thing is, you don’t have to be using the latest version of Excel to use them! If you have Excel 2000, 2003 or 2007, you can use them. I’m still working with 2003 on my home computer. That is one of my biggest pet peeves about Microsoft Templates – if you don’t have the latest and greatest (can you say expensive?) version of Office, you are severely restricted in your choices. And the older your version of Excel is, the less chance you’ll find what you are looking for.
The first spreadsheet I downloaded from Vertex42 was the Credit Card Payoff Calculator. I plan to use this one to help me figure out the best scenario for paying off our credit cards with the new 0% interest card and the 1% balance transfer I transacted last night. I think the best plan of action is going to be to pay the 0% interest card off in exactly 12 months, rather than pay it off early. That’s because the card with the 1% interest ($6000) is at 1% only until November when it goes up to 9.5%. So I’d like to get as much as that paid off before November as I can. See, at first I was thinking, apply as much of the $650 we have available for credit card debt to the 0% interest card, and get that paid off, but then I thought it might be better to take advantage of the 12 months. I’ll figure it out later when I have more time.
The next one I downloaded was the Loan Amortization Schedule. I played around with this for a few minutes and just for fun plunked in our mortgage amount. What if we could pay the $650 towards that, instead of credit card debt? We have a 30 year mortgage. I know that probably sounds ridiculous for the low amount of our mortgage ($53K) but when we first moved out here I was the only one working (part-time) and our children were younger and needed a parent home with them during the day (we homeschool). Okay, but if we could apply the $650 towards the mortgage each month, we could have it paid IN FULL within 6 years! We would end up paying ~$12,000 in interest as opposed to $80,000 in interest over 30 days. There is also a place to insert additional payments. Amazingly, if we paid a one time extra payment of $1000, we could shave two years off the life of the loan. Even a one-time extra payment of $250 would shave off an entire six months.
The third spreadsheet I downloaded was the Yearly Calendar. It is customizable, so it can be used year after year after year! I love this option, because I can put up as many calendars as I need – for the cost of printing and a piece of paper! I typically find I need one near my computer, and one in the kitchen. And I don’t have to flip pages every month, I can see the entire year at a glance. I love it. The ones I’ve used in the past were from Microsoft Templates and IIRC in Word format, and not customizable.
There are more, but that’s all I had time for this morning. I’d like to make a suggestion. Download all the spreadsheets you may be interested in and burn them to CD. Then you have them. I make this suggestion in the event this site closes, or if they decide to start charging for their product, you will still have a version that works perfectly fine. I have some programs that were free in the past, and once they started getting popular they decided to start charging for them. Or the person who created the program just loses interest and stops having the site. Whatever happens, I’ll have these programs for my own personal use.
Try them out, I think you will have a lot of fun with the first two I reviewed.