How To Budget For A Personal Loan
In this article, we dive into everything you need to know about budgeting for a personal loan.
When looking at how to budget for a personal loan, tools such as a loan payment calculator can be a great first step to checking loan affordability, but that's not the only factor to consider.
Personal loans can be a great way to borrow a large sum of money, but you need to make sure that the repayment plan fits your budget for it to be a good financial decision.
How much do you need to borrow?
Personal loans can be taken out for a variety of reasons, but generally speaking, they are used to pay for and spread the cost of a specific event, such as a wedding, or an expense, such as an unexpected medical bill that you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford at that moment.
Before applying for a loan, you should have a figure in mind for the amount you need to borrow; that way, you can easily compare different interest rates and terms to see which offers you the best value.
How much can you afford to pay back?
The overall amount of money you pay back will be that initial sum borrowed plus interest. This is why it's important to only borrow what you need; anything more could result in higher monthly repayments or taking it over a longer-term, meaning more paid in interest.
You need to look at your personal budget and come up with a realistic amount that you can easily afford each month as a repayment. It may be tempting to opt for a higher repayment amount so that the loan is repaid quicker, but if it’s not easily manageable, you could run the risk of defaulting on a payment which could then incur fees or hurt your credit.
Getting a fixed interest rate
The interest rate on your loan is the periodic finance charge you pay to borrow the money. If you always pay on time, the monthly instalment is calculated to cover your accrued interest and pay down a small portion of your principal balance. When you are looking for a personal loan, it is good to find one with a fixed rate of interest, as this means that your repayments will stay the same for the entire term of the loan.
You might see variable interest rate loans advertised with special offers such as having a ‘fixed low rate for x number of months’—often called an introductory or ‘teaser’ rate. While this might sound like a good idea initially, the monthly repayments can jump and change month to month as soon as the fixed-rate term runs out. This makes it more difficult to budget successfully and runs the risk of some months being more than you can afford.
The bottom line
The best way to budget for a personal loan is to look at your expenses and find a comfortable amount that you have readily available each month to put towards the repayments. Once you have this, you can use the tools provided by reputable lenders to run the numbers on the amount you need to borrow and see what term you would need to take the loan over to afford the repayments.
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