If you plan to borrow money for your education or secure financing for a new major purchase, a loan calculator can help you predict what your payment future will look like. Here are three ways you can better understand your terms — and even save some money.

Push the payback date forward

While paying the minimum amount on your college loan can give you more money to spend now, going above and beyond your monthly requirements can help you reap the rewards of an early payoff. Whether you can contribute more each month or simply make one extra annual payment, use a loan calculator to understand the impact.

Interest-ing information

Before you sign on the dotted line, find out how much total interest you will pay in addition to the beginning balance of the loan. If you hope to reduce the amount you fork over for interest charges, you may want to search for lower loan rates.

Lower the total amount with a down payment

Whether you are buying a new home or a new car, the question of how much money you should put down can be challenging to answer. Keeping more money in your pocket for personal finances might make you feel more comfortable, but a bigger down payment could be the ticket to lowering the total cost of your loan.

Borrowing money does not have to feel so burdensome. With extra time to crunch the numbers of your loan, you can make sure that you are getting yourself into terms that can keep you happy in the short term while keeping your expenses under control in the big picture.