It's very easy to dismiss financial problems with the suggestion to create a budget. But you see, it's not that easy. A budget is hard to do, and even harder to stick to. How do you even track your spending? How do you figure out how much you spend now? How do you figure out what you should be spending? You could try to do it manually, the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. Or, you could just make smart use of personal finance calculators to help determine how much you should be saving, how much you should be spending, and just how much a baby or retirement might cost you.
1. Expense calculator
You know you're spending too much, you just don't know exactly where the money is going and in what amounts. Before you can make a budget and see how much you can save, you need to be aware of what your expenses are now, and why. An expense calculator like the one made accessible by Financial Mentor can help you keep track of how much you're spending, and on what. When faced with this information, you can then determine where you are hemorrhaging money, and where you can stand to cut back. Suddenly, that fifth drink won't be so appealing when you remember just how much you spend on nights out.
2. Budget calculator
And now that you know how much you're spending, you can also work out how much you should be spending, and if that's an attainable goal or not. A budget calculator will help you break down your income in an effective and practical way, and show you how much you should be spending - and can afford to spend, in percentages. For example, 10-15% should go to insurance costs and pension, another 5 to 15% for food, etc. When you look at it like that, suddenly, it becomes easier to budget.
3. Savings calculator
Saving is, perhaps, one of the most difficult things to do, because you need excellent discipline, and because it can be difficult to figure out how much you need to put aside, exactly. A great method is to put a specific sum aside at regular intervals - it can be a certain amount per week or per month, or just a percentage of your paycheck. A savings calculator can help you determine either how much you need to put aside regularly to achieve your savings goal, or how long it'll take you to save a predetermined amount.
4. Mortgage calculator
So, you're thinking about getting a mortgage, but you're not sure whether you can afford it or not. What you need to do is put in the price of the property and the amount your deposit is and it will work out the price that you would need to pay for your monthly mortgage for you. For such a massive financial undertaking, something like this might be necessary, just to make sure that you can actually afford to pay your mortgage every month. You might also want to work your mortgage amount into your budget with your budget calculator, in order to ensure affordability. You can find a reliable mortgage calculator at Money Saving Expert.
5. Child-rearing calculator
Having a child is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your life, from every point of view, including financially. Child-rearing costs are extremely high, and they're only increasing. Between all the costs the early years bring and the massive expense of childcare, having a child (or more) can be prohibitively expensive. A child-rearing calculator like the one from Bankrate shows you how much you're looking at spending on raising a child and it can give you an idea of whether or not you can afford a child now, or ever, or if you can have more children on the income you currently have.
6. Pension calculator
We should all keep in mind that there will come a time when we won't be able to earn an income anymore, and in that case, we'll be relying on our pension. The time to think about and calculate your pension is now, and the easiest way to figure out what's going to happen come retirement time is to use finance calculators. A pension calculator like the one you can access from The Telegraph can figure out how your finances will fare in your twilight years.
As you can see, personal finance calculators can be extremely helpful if you are having issues managing your personal finances. Anything from budgeting to child-rearing to figuring our mortgages and pensions can be simplified and managed with the help of a calculator that can help you figure out how much you can afford, and how to organise your finances.