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How can simple interest make saving money easier

how can simple interest make saving money easier

Simple interest can make saving money easier due its straightforward nature that lends itself to financial planning, calculating monthly payments, and establishing accurate loan repayment plans. 

If you are unsure how to calculate how much interest you will be charged when borrowing money, you are not the only one. The differences between types of interest can be confusing at times, making it difficult to determine the math you need to do to know the amount of interest you’ll pay on your loan. 

You might have heard positive things about simple interest on lending products and might be wondering how can simple interest make saving money easier. No worries! We’ve got you covered. 

Understanding the differences between simple interest and compound interest is an excellent first step in borrowing money responsibly. It can also help you learn how to invest wisely to get the most out of your savings account and portfolio building. 

Simple Interest Vs. Compound Interest

The difference between simple interest and compound interest comes down to how the interest rate accumulates. Put plainly, a simple interest rate accumulates on the principal balance alone, while a compound interest rate accrues on both the principal balance and the accrued interest. 

By breaking down how each form of interest functions, we can clarify which one might be better and in which circumstances for your finances. 

Simple Interest

As suggested by its name, simple interest is relatively straightforward. Simple interest is calculated as an annual percentage rate on the principal amount only. To calculate simple interest to determine how much you will pay on a loan balance or accrue on a savings account, you must multiply the principal balance by the annual interest rate and then by the number of years you invest or borrow money. 

Simple interest is often common on car loans, many types of installment loans, and traditional mortgages. Since the interest accrued is only on the principal amount, these loans tend to be a lot more affordable than other lending products.

Meanwhile, simple interest is not that common for investments, except for bonds, which allow you to earn simple interest on the initial investment. 

Compound Interest

On the other hand, compound interest is not quite as simple (pun intended). Compound interest accrues not only on the initial principal balance but also on the accumulated interest. Therefore, the amount of interest charged is calculated with a percentage rate applied to both the principal amount and whatever interest was accrued during previous periods. Compounding interest can use any time period, even daily. 

You will find that compound interest is common on credit card balances, which usually compounds daily, and online payday loans and other short-term loans use a compound interest formula. Compound interest is far more costly than simple interest when you borrow money. 

Adversely, compound interest helps you earn significantly more money when you deposit money in interest-bearing savings accounts, including money market accounts and certificates of deposit. Compounded interest benefits you when saving money as you earn more interest as time goes on.

Interest Rates: A Brief Breakdown

Type of Interest RateDescriptionProsCons 
Fixed Interest RateThe interest rate remains constant throughout the loan term. – Predictable payments. – Easier budgeting. – Immune to market fluctuations. – Higher initial rates compared to variable rates. – Less benefit if market rates decrease. 
Variable Interest Rate The interest rate fluctuates based on market conditions. – Lower initial rates. – Potential savings if market rates decrease. – Unpredictable payments. – Risk of increasing rates. – Harder to budget. 
Adjustable Rate (ARM)A mix of fixed and variable rates; starts fixed and then adjusts at predetermined intervals. – Lower initial rates. – Potential savings in the initial fixed-rate period. – Rates can significantly increase after adjustment . – Complex loan structure. 
Interest-Only Initially, borrowers pay only the interest; principal is paid later. – Lower initial payments. – Flexibility in early stages of the loan. – Higher overall cost due to deferred principal payments. – Large payments later. 
Balloon Payment Low payments during the loan term, with a large “balloon” payment at the end. – Lower monthly payments initially. – Suitable for short-term financing. – Risk of inability to pay the large end-term payment. – Requires refinancing or selling the asset. 
Simple Interest Interest is calculated only on the principal amount. – Lower total interest cost if paid early. – Easy to calculate and understand. – Less common. – Not beneficial for long-term loans if rates are high. 
Compound Interest Interest is calculated on the principal and the accumulated interest. – Common in lines of credit and credit cards. – Can be beneficial for lenders. – Higher total interest cost. – Can quickly increase the debt owed. 
Disclaimer: The information provided in the above data table is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. Interest rates and their implications can vary based on individual circumstances and market conditions. It is recommended to consult with a financial advisor or lending professional to understand which type of interest rate best suits your specific financial needs and goals.

Borrowing or Saving? 

If you are trying to determine which one out of simple and compound interest makes saving money easier, it all comes down to whether you are borrowing or saving. Whether you make interest payments or earn interest will let you know if compound interest or simple interest is more beneficial to you. 

When borrowing money, simple interest is your friend, and while saving money, compound interest is your friend. And here is why:

Simple Interest Minimizes Costs On Borrowing

Simple interest benefits the borrower as your accrued interest is not included in the balance that the loan’s percentage rate is applied to. Simple interest is calculated only using the principal amount you borrowed, so you will end up paying less interest overall than you would on a loan with compound interest. 

A simple interest loan will make it easier to save money as your interest rate will stay fixed at the annual rate so that your monthly interest doesn’t increase when the balance owed rises due to previous interest. 

Compound Interest Increases Return On Saving

Just because a simple interest loan helps you save a considerable amount on overall interest payments doesn’t mean that compound interest isn’t good for anything. Compound interest on a savings account is excellent for investing. 

When you have compound interest on a savings account, the interest amount you earn will increase as your balance increases making it possible to save more money than you would through simple interest. Hence, compound interest can be the perfect avenue for building wealth, and can help you with financial goals like planning for retirement

Calculating the Interest On Your Loan

Simple interest loans like car loans and mortgages are incredibly easy to calculate. The simple interest formula to calculate the interest you will need to pay is the principal balance of your loan multiplied by the interest rate, then multiplied again by the number of years. 

Here is a simple interest example:

Let’s say you are taking out a personal loan of $1,500 to renovate your bathroom. The loan has an annual simple interest rate of 7% to be paid back over a period of four years. 

Calculating simple interest paid is done by multiplying $1,500 by 7%, then by four years.

$1,500 X .07 X 4 = $420

Then you can calculate the total amount that will need to be repaid by adding the interest to the money borrowed.

$420 + $1,500 = $1,920

As you can see from the calculations, if you were to pay off your loan early, the total balance you will need to pay will decrease. For example, if you were to pay off your loan two years earlier than scheduled, you would be able to cut the interest charges in half.

Two years of interest instead of four: 

$420 / 2 = $110

Total balance to be paid minus two years of interest: 

$1,920 – $110 = $1,810

Paying Off Your Loan Early to Save Money

If you are looking to save money by paying off your simple interest loan early, here are a few tips and strategies that can help:

Make Bi-Weekly Payments

Instead of only making monthly payments on your installment loans when they are due, consider making payments more often. If you make early payments every other week, you are likely to get more paid down by the end of the month. 

You may have already gone over your budget or spent all your disposable income when you wait until the end of the month to make your payment. This could have you consistently paying the minimum amount when you might be able to afford significantly more.

Round-Up On Your Monthly Payments

Always round up your monthly payments even when you can’t afford to pay more than the minimum. Rounding up your minimum payment during those months where you don’t have room in your budget to make too big of a dent in your debt will allow you to still work towards early repayment. 

Simply rounding up to the nearest $50, if you can, will not break the bank, but it will add up if done consistently when you can’t manage more. 

Cut Down On Expenses

Suppose you want to save the maximum amount of money by paying off your simple interest loan as early as possible. In that case, the best thing you could do is sit down and reevaluate your budget to cut down on any expenses, even temporarily. 

Cancel any frivolous subscriptions. According to The Street, 51% of Americans have subscriptions that they no longer use or want.1 Stop eating out or ordering delivery for a few months. Do a detox on all online shopping. Whatever extra money you have from cutting down on your spending, put it towards supplementary loan payments. Doing this should make a significant difference in how long it takes you to pay off your loan, thereby making your interest payments lower.

All you need to do to use simple interest to your advantage on anything from auto loans to student loans is pay off that loan early. Depending on the size of your loan and how early you can pay it off, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars on interest. 

FAQ: Simple Interest

What is simple interest and how does it differ from compound interest?

Simple interest is interest calculated only on the principal amount of a loan or deposit. Unlike compound interest, it does not include interest on previously earned interest.

How can I calculate simple interest?

The simple interest calculation involves multiplying the principal amount by the annual percentage rate (APR) and the time period in years. The formula is: Interest = Principal x Rate x Time. Calculating interest before you apply for a loan can help you plan your repayment, making it easier to live simply and cheaply

Can simple interest affect my savings positively?

While simple interest is straightforward, it generally accumulates less interest on savings compared to compound interest. However, it can be beneficial for short-term savings where the impact of compounding is minimal.

What is the annual percentage rate (APR) And how does it relate to simple interest?

The APR is the annual rate charged for borrowing or earned through an investment. In the context of simple interest, it represents the yearly rate applied to the principal to calculate the interest.

How does simple interest compare to annual percentage yield (APY) In savings?

APY refers to the total amount of interest earned on a deposit account based on the interest rate and compounding frequency. Simple interest typically results in a lower yield compared to APY, as it doesn’t compound.

When do I pay interest on a simple interestLoan

In a simple interest loan, you pay interest at regular intervals, usually monthly, based on the outstanding principal. The amount of interest decreases over time as you pay down the principal.

How much interest will I earn on a simple interest savings account?

The amount of interest you earn depends on the principal, the annual percentage rate, and the time your money is invested. You can use the simple interest formula to calculate the exact amount.

Is simple interest better for short-term or long-term savings?

Simple interest is generally more advantageous for short-term savings, as the benefit of compounding interest is less pronounced over shorter periods.

Can I use simple interest to plan my financial goals?

Yes, understanding how much interest you’ll earn or owe using simple interest can help you plan for financial goals, especially for short-term objectives or loans with a fixed repayment schedule.

Are there tools available to help calculate simple interest on savings?

Yes, there are many online calculators available where you can input your principal, annual percentage rate, and time to calculate the simple interest on your savings or loans.

CreditNinja’s Thoughts on Interest Rates and Saving Money

Interest rates are one of the most impactful factors of any kind of funding. That’s why CreditNinja encourages everyone to research lenders and financial products before submitting a loan application.

Looking to learn more about interest rates, budgeting, and saving money? Head over to the CreditNinja blog dojo for tons of free financial tools and resources available to everyone 24/7!  

References:

  1. 51% of Americans Say They Have Unwanted Subscription Charges | TheStreet
  2. What is simple interest? A straightforward way to calculate the cost of borrowing or lending money | Business Insider
  3. Simple vs. Compound Interest | FOOL.com 
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