What's with the little check boxes?
Tag / Sticker Price Down Payment Trade
Tax Rate % - Taxes Rebate / Cash Back
Interest % Number of Months
Amount to Finance S&H / Delivery Fee
Total (True) Cost Monthly Payment

Payment Predictor megaConverter #24

Introduction and Overview
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Our goal with the Payment Predictor was to create the ultimate monthly payment calculator. It had to be fairly simple and straight forward but we wanted it to take into account many of the variables that are common in every day purchases and financing. We also wanted to quickly figure basic tax and the real cost of financing. What we ended up with is even more versatile and convenient than we planned. We sincerely hope you find it as useful as we already have. There are specifics related to certain kinds of purchases (tax, title, and license on auto purchase, closing costs on home purchase, etc.) that we didn't include because there are just too many unknowns.

Red labeled fields are expense fields, green labels represent credits or rebates and black labels represent variable rates and terms. Red and green labeled fields are all shown in US dollar amounts. You never need to enter dollar signs or percent signs. Put another way, Don't enter dollar signs or percent signs because you'll cause a JavaScript error. Commas are optional. Payment Predictor will always format larger numbers with commas.

Glossary of Conversions:

Check box next to Tag / Sticker Price
Click this box when you want to lock the price and auto-calculate the down payment based on your input for monthly payment. For example, you've got your eye on a new car that's sticker price is $18,995 and when you figure up the payments (we'll use the default values of the Payment Predictor for our example) it comes out to $743.37 a month. No way, right. Check the box next to Tag/Sticker Price and then enter 500 (or whatever amount your budget will allow) into the Monthly Payment field and click on the equals button to recalculate. Now check out the Down Pmt field. If you want $500 monthly payments (based on our default values), you'll need to pay $6,219 down. Remember, there are a lot of other variables that can and will affect your Monthly Payment, and you're free to alter them to match almost any situation.

(Exclude) box next to Rebate / Cash Back
By default, the Payment Predictor automatically subtracts (includes) the amount entered into the Rebate/Cash Back field from the Tag/Sticker Price. In other words, Payment Predictor assumes that the rebate is immediate and should be deducted from the price before any payments are calculated. This is not always the case in real life transactions. Often, rebate or cash back offers don't take effect until after the purchase. In these cases, check the box to exclude the amount from being subtracted from the price. The Rebate/Cash Back amount will still be taken into account when figuring the Total (True) Cost even if you check Exclude.

(Exclude) box next to S&H / Delivery Fee
By default, the Payment Predictor automatically adds (includes) the amount entered into the S&H/Delivery Fee field to the Tag/Sticker Price. This amount is added to the price and increases your payments. If for any reason these fees will not be added to the price then all you have to do is Exclude them by checking their box. One common reason for excluding the shipping and handling or delivery fees is because you've decided to pay them 'up front' or 'roll them into the down payment' and you don't want them to affect your payments. The S&H/Delivery Fee amount will still be taken into account when figuring the Total (True) Cost even if you check Exclude.

Tag / Sticker Price
Enter the price marked on, or quoted for the item you would like to purchase.

Down Payment
If you have to make a specified down payment, enter that amount here. You can also enter any amount you want to put down on a purchase and see how it affects your payments. Don't forget, Payment Predictor can figure your down payment for you based on the Tag /Sticker Price and the Monthly Payment amount that you enter. (See Check box next to Tag /Sticker Price above.)

Trade Value
Enter the value of any item that you will be trading for the item you want to purchase. Seldom do you get to decide how much your 'trade' is worth. In most cases this will be where you enter the amount the car dealer is going to allow you for your old car.

Tax Rate % (as a percentage) - Taxes
Enter the applicable tax rate based on the location of your purchase. It makes a difference. If you're buying something mail-order or are tax exempt you can enter 0(zero) in the Tax Rate field. The Taxes field simply shows you the total tax amount in dollars.

Rebate / Cash Back
Enter any amount offered by the manufacturer, retailer, or seller to be paid back to you. This would include amounts offered as Instant rebate or Cash back if you buy by a certain date or Discount for first time buyers. Basically, if there is any kind of promotion offering to give you money back, this is the field to enter that amount. (See Exclude box next to Rebate / Cash Back above to understand how this field affects the calculation of monthly payments.)

Interest Rate % (as a percentage)
Enter the applicable interest rate based on the method of financing you'll use to make your purchase. This is where you might enter the interest rate on your credit card, the rate your bank quoted for a loan or the interest rate quoted by a dealership to finance a new car or boat.

Number of Months / Payments
This field is often referred to as the term of the loan. Enter the number of months that you will be financing your purchase for. You can also think of it as the number of payments you'll be expected to make. The most common terms are increments of 12 (24, 36, 48, etc.) If you plan to pay by credit card, it's hard to know how many payments it will take to pay the balance in full. This situation is worsened by the fact that most credit card companies bill you the smallest possible minimum payment so that they can s t r e t c h out the balance and charge you the maximum interest.

Amount to Finance
This field automatically calculates the amount of money that will need to be financed or the size of the loan you'll need to make your purchase. Of course, all of the other fields' values are taken into consideration when figuring this amount.

Shipping & Handling / Delivery Fees
Enter the amount (if any) of charges for shipping and handling of the item. Some larger items may have a delivery fee tacked on which should be included here. (See Exclude box next to S&H / Delivery Fee above to understand how this field affects the calculation of monthly payments.)

Monthly Payment
This field can auto-calculate to figure your monthly payment based on all the other fields' values or you can enter a payment that you feel you can afford and let Payment Predictor suggest the necessary down payment to achieve that monthly payment.

Total (True) Cost
We love this one even though it almost always hurts. This field automatically calculates for you. After all the adding, subtracting, dividing and other nasty math stuff, Payment Predictor tells you how much it's really going to cost you to posses that new thingamajig that you've just gotta have.