This budget calculator is mainly for the planning of personal finance. All the income items are before tax values.
How to Budget
Budgeting can generally be summed up by two things: living within one's means and planning for the future. In accomplishing these two goals, successful budgeting can involve having a detailed personal budget and adhering to it.
The first step is to sit down and to list what you really need to pay every month, and what you really want to have. This includes some 'fun' things: Decide what you will allow yourself to do for fun without spending all of your money. Make sure to allow a sufficient amount for essentials, and leave a bit of extra for emergencies.
Now that you've seen what you really need, you are likely to find that you spend a good deal on non-essentials that you don't really care about. You probably have a few extra meals out every week that you don't need. You go shopping for fun for a few things you could do without. Trim down, but allow yourself some extras.
Living Within Your Means
A plethora of online literature, books, and thousands of well-paid financial advisors exist to teach people the principle of living within your means when it's really quite simple. It can generally be stated in one sentence: spend less than you earn. However, many struggle to implement it successfully into their lives. Our Budget Calculator can help by evaluating in detail the components of a personal budget and exposing which specific areas need improvement. Adherence to a refined budget coupled with steady income streams and a mature mentality can eventually lead to life with less financial stress.
Planning for the Future
There is a reason why entire departments exist within many corporations for the sole purpose of budgeting and forecasting; they are vital to the financial health of any company, and the same concept applies to personal finance.
Everyone encounters expected and unexpected life events. Planning can help predict financial futures according to best estimate forecasts of incomes and expenses. Also, their use is crucial to help prepare for misfortunes, load up on emergency funds, weather heavy-debt seasons, get ready for the purchase of a new house, or retirement. It can be hard to navigate these situations successfully without first planning for them. More specifically, in personal finance, planning comes down to the saving or investment for retirements, emergency, major purchases, children, education, etc. Purchasing appropriate insurance including life insurance, medical insurance, auto insurance, home insurance, etc are also part of the planning.
We have created a free budget template for people who want to budget their personal finances on a month-to-month basis. It can also serve as a supplementary tool to annualize net income as calculated based off our Budget Calculator. There is also a computation for annualized expense-to-income ratio. You can use our Budget Calculator every month, then update the figures in a saved version of our budget template. The annual net income will update accordingly. Please click here to download our free budget template.
Obviously, anyone would most likely want a higher income. The higher the income, the more flexibility it allows for expenses. While it is easier said than done, this may be achieved by proactively looking for a new job or increasing earning potential through more education or the development of new skills. It may also be achieved by increase investment income though spending less and invest more. In some extreme situations, it may be required to take a second job to make ends meet.
A main source of income for most Americans in retirement is Social Security. It is important to remember that Social Security payments can only be received as early as age 62.
Housing & Utilities
Average financially-sound budgeteers who pay monthly rent or mortgage normally have housing costs as the bulk of their expenses.
For tight budgets, it is best to keep auto loans down to create more leeway for other parts of the budget. If possible, use public transport, bike, or walk. Not only will these help budgets, they are eco-friendly and provide exercise also! As a rule of thumb, try to keep transportation costs below 15% of income.
- Auto Loan Calculator
- Cash Back or Low Interest Calculator
- Auto Lease Calculator
- Gas Mileage Calculator
- Fuel Cost Calculator
Other Debt & Loan Payments
Credit cards carry negative connotations regarding budgeting; the main issue is that it is easy to spend erratically with them. There are some people who actually think credit is free money, as if they can spend endlessly without some form of repayment. This is furthest from the truth! The truth is, when utilized under strict control, they can be incorporated into a budget in order to help. However, it is probably better for credit cards to play a smaller role in constrained budgets.
Important: Make sure not to double dip when accounting for student loans, personal loans, or credit card debt in the budget. For instance, do not add $20 to both Credit Card and Meals Out for the same dinner. This applies to student loans and tuition and credit card balances being carried month-to-month.
- Credit Card Calculator
- Credit Cards Payoff Calculator
- Debt-to-Income Ratio Calculator
- Debt Payoff Calculator
While the expenses associated with daily living may seem small and insignificant in comparison to the other categories for many families, they can discreetly add up without proper attention. A category that has lots of wiggle room in improving a budget is meals out.
In the US, healthcare costs about $10,000 a year for each person. Americans can complain as much as they want about the current state of the healthcare system, but this is an expense that has little pliability in terms of what can be done about them in their personal budgets. In long run, it can pay off to eat healthier and get regular exercise.
Children & Education
It is often stated that an investment in education is the best investment one can make. Statistics show high correlation between attained degrees of education in relation to income levels.
Savings and Investments
Healthy budgets always have a portion allocated for the future, which include savings or investment for retirement, emergency, education, growth, etc. If managed well, it is not uncommon to see average incomers retiring in earlier age.
- 401K Calculator
- Roth IRA Calculator
- IRA Calculator
- Social Security Calculator
- Retirement Calculator
- Pension Calculator
- Savings Calculator
This portion of expenses is generally the most pliable in a personal budget relative to things such as housing or savings. It includes a number of expenses that could fall within the blurred lines previously discussed between 'needs' and 'wants'. This leaves a lot of room for personal discretion, which can be a good or bad thing. Bad in that over-expenditure can wreck a budget, but good in that moderation can ease stress and potentially heal a budget. Important decisions regarding whether or not to take that expensive trip to the Maldives, whether to attend the Super Bowl in town, or whether it's still worth spending ridiculous amounts on an art collection go a long way towards achieving budget goals. Dogs are man's best friend, but is the owner their best friend in return when their unprepared budget cannot accommodate a vital medical procedure? For anyone looking to fix a failing budget, this section should be the first area to evaluate.
Gifts & Donations may seem like an odd category compared to the others here, but it may be the most important. It is proven that acts of kindness, which includes gift and charitable giving, are also important for personal sense of fulfillment. Lavish vacations, loving pets, and fulfilling hobbies are all great ways to invest in oneself if financially allowed.