saknifeA friend of mine has coined a term for a certain group women in the world that she calls “Women With Knives”.   Yes, she means those women who have a pocket knife.

It turns out this tool is very versatile.  If you have one, you can slice an orange at work, open a bottle of (root) beer, pick your teeth, or clip your nails (hopefully not in public – you know who you are).  In a less literal sense, WWKs are simply women who like to be prepared.

So this is for you, aspiring WWKs.  Before you go to buy a car, buy a house, or finance any purchase of any type, it’s good to be fully equipped.  Let me share with you one useful tool on a good “financial pocket knife” … a spreadsheet to help you calculate a monthly payment.

Open up a spreadsheet.  Even if you have only used it for guest lists or an address book until now, you can do this.  Let’s pretend we’re buying a sweet new minivan.

4thminivan

Yeah, I’m talking about the kind where the doors open with the click of a button, you can jam your Ralph’s World tunes via bluetooth from your iPhone, and you can impress the art fest-goers when you fit your neighbor’s giant framed painting in the cargo area with a whole centimeter to spare on each side.  And as a bonus you can use it as a parade float.

Ok – are you ready to have your mind blown?

Before I get to the negotiating table, I like to have a sense of how different variables will impact the payment.  Once it is set up, I can fiddle with loan amount, interest rates, and lengths of the loan.  It’s actually pretty easy.  Observe.

Money Monday

That’s it!  Now, just save the file somewhere handy for the next time you need it.

Laura Sig