Crunch Your Numbers

Quick Look

  • Using a debt payoff calculator can help you determine if debt consolidation is a good idea for your circumstances.
  • Don’t include debts you pay off every month in your calculation – e.g. a credit card balance that you always pay in full shouldn’t be included.

<< Debt Consolidation Checklist

To confirm if debt consolidation is a good idea for you, use a debt payoff calculator. We like this one from If you’re interested in one specific to using a balance transfer card, try this. Below is a list of the information you’ll need to work with the calculators.

Existing Debt Details

  1. All Credit Cards with Revolving Balances: Remember, a “revolving balance” just means you have a balance left over after you pay your monthly statement. If you have a credit card that you pay the full statement balance on each and every month, you don’t need to include that here.

    A little bit of number crunching with one of the linked calculators can go a long way.

  2. Credit Card Interest Rates: Credit card interest rates are variable. This means this month’s rate may change next month. For the calculator, just use the rate shown on your most recent statement. To find your interest rate:
    • Download your statement from your lender’s website
    • Open it up and search for “APR” ( F on Mac, Control F on Windows) (APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate)
    • If your statement has multiple rates, find the one that applies to purchases. You now know your rate.
  3. Payment Amount: Enter the amounts you’re currently paying each month. Then, go to the MoneySwell Cashflow Goals tool and look at the Plan tab. Are there ways you can reduce expenses or earn more income? If so – and you’re willing to apply those extra dollars to your debt – add that extra amount to one of your existing cards in the calculator.

Review Consolidated Loan Details

You’ll compare loan options in the next task. But for now:

  1. Go to the “New Consolidated Loan” section in the calculator.
  2. Enter the total amount of your existing debt in the field for “Loan Balance.”
  3. Play around with different numbers between the Payment and Interest Rate (based on what you think you may be able to get). Numbers you enter in one field will automatically update numbers in the other fields.
  4. Make note of how these numbers jump around as you experiment with possible scenarios.
  5. One you’ve entered all your information, click the “Calculate” button and then “View Report” button. This will clearly show you how much you could save and the total number of months it will take to pay off your debt.

Take Action

In the notes field above (logged in users only), write down the following:

  • Monthly payment amount
  • Expected interest rate
  • Debt payoff date

Now give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve crunched your numbers and have a debt payoff strategy!

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