The benefits of making bi-weekly payments toward your student loans are clear. Adopting a bi-weekly payment plan will help you to pay down your debt more quickly, while paying less in interest over the life of your loans.
Since most lenders don’t offer a bi-weekly payment option, it’s up to you to stick to a schedule, which shouldn’t be hard after you put a plan in place. This Excel spreadsheet can help you implement your bi-weekly repayment strategy and keep track of your payments over time.
Below are some tips on how to use this tool to better understand and manage a bi-weekly payment plan.
To get started, you’ll need to know your loan balance, interest rate, and your current monthly payment. Enter those in the Loan Details section of the spreadsheet.
From there, you don’t need to do too much. The rest of the spreadsheet will update automatically.
Below the Loan Details section, you’ll find the potential savings created through a bi-weekly repayment schedule. This figure represents the difference in interest paid on a monthly repayment schedule and a bi-weekly repayment schedule.
See how a bi-weekly repayment plan compares to the standard monthly plan
At the bottom of the Summary tab, you’ll find a chart which illustrates time-to-payoff for bi-weekly and monthly repayment strategies – it shows the year end balance for each year that one remains.
The Bi-Weekly Payment Details tab
The table shown in the Bi-Weekly Payment Details tab shows each payment owed for the life of your loan, assuming payments every two weeks for a term of up to 25 years. When making bi-weekly payments, you’ll make a total of 26 payments over the course of the year, which is the equivalent of making 13 monthly payments. This is why there are 26 periods shown for each calendar year.
Frequently Asked Questions
While we expect that this payment tracker should be fairly easy to use, it’s likely that you might have a few questions after you’re up and running with it. Below are answers to a few common questions, and you can leave any others that come up in the comments section.
What if I can’t make a payment?
If you’re using this spreadsheet to track your payments over time and you’re unable to make a payment in full during one or more periods, add the portion of the payment you are unable to pay in the Extra Payment column and make it negative. This will keep your schedule accurate even if you’re unable to make a regular payment.
How are payments calculated?
For the purposes of this spreadsheet, payments are calculated as half of your required monthly payment, and there’s a good reason for this.
If you and your lender agreed on bi-weekly payments, spread out over a fixed period of time, it would slightly reduce your monthly payment. This is because you are paying less in interest, and therefore less overall, over the life of the loan. A lesser total repayment obligation will result in a lower monthly payment. However, your lender likely doesn’t offer a bi-weekly payment plan, and you don’t want to fall short of your monthly payment obligation. Thus, payments are calculated as half your current monthly payment.
How interest is calculated?
This spreadsheet calculates interest using a compound daily interest formula, which is often used to calculated interest on private student loans. Federal student loans use a simple daily interest formula, and we will post a separate spreadsheet to help you calculate the benefits of making bi-weekly payments on your federal loans.
Why are some of the cells locked?
You may notice that not all of the cells in this spreadsheet are editable. For the most part, this is done to prevent novice Excel users from breaking a formula and creating a confusing mess. You can still add custom columns to keep track of payments, for example.
If you’ve found this resource helpful, we’d love to know. Likewise, if you have suggestions on how we can improve it, please feel free to send those along as well.