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>Any personal finance adviser will tell you that developing and maintaining a financial budget is the best way to meet monthly expenses, save for financial emergencies and plan for the future. Keeping a budget basically means totaling your income for the month and subtracting the total of all your expenses. A budget calculator allows you to itemize your expenses so you can see where all your spending is going, especially for non-fixed discretionary items like groceries, music downloads, fast food, entertainment, computer software and the like that may be keeping you from paying off your credit debts or building a sufficient savings account.
The Budget Calculator [No Longer Available]
This aptly named budget calculator is straightforward and includes expense boxes for many of the most typical types of fixed and non-fixed expenses—rent or mortgage, electricity, water, phone, Internet, etc. You need to input of course what applies to your personal finances. It also contains boxes for monthly savings, IRA, and investments.
After you enter the amounts and press “Calculate Budget” you can view and print out your budget for the month. As the site points out, “If the amount you get is a negative number check your expenses and savings to find out what is causing you to spend more than you make, and if you have money left over, put more money into savings or put it towards ‘Fun and Entertainment‘”.
This calculator is not as extensive as the one above, but if your expenses are limited to the basics – rent or mortgage, one or two credit cards, car loan, entertainment, etc – then this calculator is useful for quick results.
If going to college is in your plans, the banking website, Chase.com, has a free student loan and budget calculator that computes your assets. This includes job income, scholarships, grants, parents/other, and your expenses – tuition, books and fees, room board, etc.
Free Financial Advice also has a basic budget calculator, but it also features lots of short article advice for personal finance management and savings, including investing for beginners, ideas for earning extra money, saving gas, clothing, computer software, landscaping, paying off debts, etc.
Free Financial Advice doesn’t require you to register or provide your email.
DebtSteps has three extensive budget and loan calculators – Free Household Budget Form, Mortgage Payment Calculator, and a Credit Card Payoff Calculator.
When you click on the household budget form, select the Print View option at the bottom of the page, and you will get a very extensive list for income and assets boxes, and numerous one for expenses – including unsecured debts, and gifts and donations.
Home Budget Calculator does what the above calculators do, but it includes two other unique features. It provides data boxes for you and your spouse’s income as well as more specific data, such as your tax withholdings, FICA, and retirement deductions or expenses.
The calculator also includes a visual pie chart that depicts your monthly expenses.
Frugalpig is a site dedicated to providing readers with tips and strategies for frugal living. It includes its own budget calculator for finding what the site calls “budget leaks”. If you need or want an old fashion pen and paper method for budgeting, you can also download the site’s free PDF family budget worksheet.
Frugalpig also provides lots of tips about saving money on groceries, gas, home expenses, entertainment, and shopping in general.
When you get into the habit of creating and maintaining a budget, you will typically start looking for how you can tighten your budget to either meet monthly expenses, pay off a huge debt, or create emergency savings.
Bankrate has a budget calculator as well, but it also includes several other budget calculators for mortgages, auto loans, credit card transfers, and home equity calculations.
Let us know what you think of these sites and which online financial tools you have found useful for controlling your budget.
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