If you watch any amount of television, you will note the number of commercials that appear trying to interest the viewer in any of the newest car models. Some cars are sleek and men magnets who want to own one.
You have your SUV from a variety of manufacturers showing everything from the onboard DVD system to the GPS and help systems.
You see some offers for leasing the vehicle and other to buy it but which offer is the best. If you add into that offers from the bank or credit union, it becomes even more confusing.
All of this makes for a great project.
1. Have students select a car that comes with an offer of so much off, lowered interest, etc.
2. Find two loans with interest rates one from the bank, one from a credit union.
3. Figure out three reasonable down payments. Treat this as their first car.
4. Find out the sales tax, licensing fees, etc charged by the state.
5. Use a spreadsheet either numbers or excel.
So students use the spreadsheet to enter information from the car sales place and the three down payments to see how much interest they would pay on each over a 48, 60, and 72 month time period. This means calculating it with a down of $2000 at 5% interest for 48, 60, and 72 months to see how much they would pay. Repeat for the other two down payments.
Repeat this exercise for each of the other two loans for the 48, 60, and 72 months to see the total paid. Take the final amount of the loan plus interest and divide by the number of months to get a rough estimate for the monthly payment.
Once this is done, choose one loan and try it with an interest rate that is 1/8 %, 1/4% lower and above the current rate to see how much a small difference in interest can make.
Then, have students go to http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanCalc.jsp?mode=full or any other car payment calculator to see how much the monthly payments are for each of the above to see how close your monthly payment agrees with the actual monthly payment.
As a final step, have students write a paragraph explaining which loan is the best for buying the car. The offer you see on the television is not always the best offer. This also gives students a chance to apply their knowledge of interest