Monday, February 13, 2012

Manage Money Better by Using Online Calculators

This is a guest post by Nancy Evans. She is freelance writer that specializes in business and health.

The plain truth is that just about everybody could use some help when it comes to managing money better. Between having to constantly stay on the look-out for debit card fees and juggling unplanned albeit necessary purchases with the monthly bills, even the most financially responsible of us are sometimes unable to keep up on our own. Unfortunately not everybody has the money to afford a consultation with an adviser or an accountant, yet for those of us who are “on our own” who also happen to have an Internet connection, countless tools and resources are available in the pursuit of improved personal finances.

Online calculators are particularly useful when it comes to improving personal finances. Before you try and find out what is a cash back credit card is in your attempt to make ends meet, see if you can't free up some of your money and make what you spend go farther by taking advantage of the following seven calculators:

Credit Card Repayment Plan Calculator: Even if you got yourself a fancy no annual fee credit card, it doesn't do you any good to be making payments that will result in you paying hundreds if not thousands in interest. To either find out how much you'll have to dish out monthly or how long you have to go till it's paid off, use a credit card repayment calculator.

Withholding Calculator: Two bad things can come from failing to set aside the right amount for Uncle Sam every month. Either you'll be sent a fat bill courtesy of the IRS, or you'll be letting money be taken away from you every month that doesn't have to be deducted. To minimize both, run your income and filing status through this IRS-provided withholding calculator.

Retirement Calculator: Just like with credit cards, there's no point in putting money into a retirement plan every month if it isn't going to be enough for you to lead a comfortable life in your elder years. Utilize a retirement calculator to not only see if what you're saving will get you where you want to be, but to see if there isn't a better plan out there for you to try.

Fuel Economy Finder: Folks serious about saving money can't afford to be driving around gas guzzlers. If you're in the market for a new ride, use a fuel economy calculator to determine the most cost-effective choice among affordable options.

Cost-of-Commute Calculator: Over time inefficient routes to work and elsewhere can add hundreds of dollars to your annual spending. Use a cost-of-commute calculator to see how much your daily driving costs you, then on conjunction with a free online map service, find a better route if one exists.

Cost-of-Smoking: The annual cost of smoking cigarettes is a slap in the face to anyone so-far unable to quit the habit. If someone in your household smokes, see if they can't be talked out of it by bringing up how much money it robs the family of every year.

Home Energy Saver: It's been estimated that 58% of the energy Americans consume every year is completely wasted. This is due to inefficiencies at both the power plant and the homestead level. Use the Home Energy Saver available through the Department of Energy to find the best ways for someone in your particular situation to cut down on energy waste.

Finding ways to manage money better is not a task that must be undertaken alone. This is especially the case considering all the tools and resources available online that can help you, specifically online calculators. Part of managing money better is learning when to take advantage of a bargain, and nothing beats free service.

Do you use any online calculators to assist with your finances? Which ones?

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