Online Budget Calculator: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

online budget calculatorEven the greatest online budget calculator is no longer private; the best ones are often ones that are for public use. An online budget calculator has multiple uses; some of which include saving you money and assisting in debt reduction. Not using a budget calculator is a huge mistake. Often times a computer will make less calculation mistakes than a human calculating a budget will. The quality of the online calculator is something that someone should keep their eyes peeled for. If the calculator is not programmed correctly, it could make a monstrous mess of your perfect budget. Budgeting is most definitely one of the best ways to keep your finances on track; and an online budget calculator will help with budget creation. Using such tool will also enable you to properly prepare for your future economic endeavors. There is no reason for you to not start using one of these tools today. It could save you money and most importantly time. These three that we have listed below may just be the best option for you.

Before we list out what calculators we’ve picked, it would be wise to tell of just where we’ve found them. These calculators below were found using several different sources. One of the ways that we utilized was being referred to the calculators via email. Awhile back on our social media accounts we asked our users to send in recommendations for their pick of the best calculator. Every recommendation was written down and taken into account when determining the final list of three. We also searched ourselves, reading through articles and adding the calculators to a master list. We have even received a few recommendations through word-of-mouth at conferences. The longevity of these tools were also important in our search for the top three and of all three of these calculators, we’ve heard of numerous success stories.

Of the hundreds of online budget calculators, there were many differences. However, there were just a few universal specifications by which we sorted them by. The very first thing that we looked for in a particular application was the value and ‘bang for your buck’. It was very important that these calculators were free to use so that many people can utilize them. Another major key that we searched for was the usefulness of the calculators. What would be the point of listing them if they were not even a tad bit useful to our readers? Flexibility was the third factor that we used to determine the best of the best. The calculators need to be able to be used on multiple different devices, including computer and smartphone. It is also a bonus if these calculators are able to be edited to your needs with ease; such as adding additional financial fields. The final thing that we were looking for was the trustworthiness of the source. These calculators need to be secure do to the nature of the information that they’ll be processing.


1. Schwab MoneyWise: Monthly Budget Calculator

Schwab makes some of the best financial tools in the industry. If you are looking to do any type of financial calculation, it would be wise to use Schwab’s MoneyWise line of free online tools. The majority of the tools supplied by Schwab are free of charge; however some tools may require for you to have an account. This tool is great because it offers a wide expanse of fields to add information too. Some of these fields include: Income, education, health, and more. Another great addition to this tool that is rare to see on other calculators of this sort is Schwab’s addition of a percent of total box. One drawback to this great tool is the inability to add custom fields and expenses. There are just a set amount of fields to fill and that is all you get, no more, no less.

Schwab Online Monthly Budget Calculator

The screen-cap above is of the Schwab Monthly Budget Calculator. This is undoubtedly one of the cleanest looking calculators in the field. With several different fields to put your finances into, calculations are accurate and a breeze.


2. Bankrate: Budgeting Calculator

This tool by Bankrate can be found on the savings calculator area of the Bankrate website. This particular tool that they offer is free of charge. There are several things that are great about this tool; although it is not the absolute best. One major advantage of this tool is the longevity of it. In 5 years if you find yourself needing a tool of this nature, you’re sure to find that the Bankrate calculator is still up and operating. However, this is also a drawback. The tool is quickly becoming outdated. The calculator itself is created in basic HTML and is not keeping up with the standards.

Online Bankrate Budgeting Calculator

A bit outdated, the Bankrate budgeting calculator is still known to get the job done. This is a key tool in anyone’s frugal lifestyle.


3. Federal Student Aid Calculator

The third item on our list is the Federal Student Aid Calculator made available at the education government website. The calculator is 100% free of charge and is made available to anyone who wishes to use it. This particular calculator is so great because it is created and distributed to the public via governmental means. This means that is is almost guaranteed to be more accurate than any random calculation device that you find online. Much like the calculator made by Bankrate, this online budget calculator is becoming outdated. In order to use the tool, you must have JavaScript enabled in your browser; creating some potential security threats.

Ed Gov Budget Calculator

Finally, the online budget calculator provided by the United States government. This calculator is in dire need of an updated interface, but the power of it is still there.

With all of this information spewed out onto the table, where does this leave you? You will need to determine which one you should pick. You could even potentially use multiple online budgeting calculators, but we would not advise you to do that because it opens you up for human error. You should pick the calculator that fits the needs in your life. Remember that the negatives of the three calculators listed above may just be an advantage to you; it all depends on how you look at it.

Expenses Calculator for Monthly Budgeting

expenses calculatorWhere ever you happen to find yourself in life, having a spectacular expense calculator at your disposal is greatly beneficial. If you want to remain frugal while living a comfortable life, knowing just how much money you have will help you achieve just that. Knowing your monthly and yearly expenses/income will help you manage many different aspects of your day, including food, clothing, and more. Using a tool such as a calculator to determine your expenses and income is one of the many great ways to save money and stay happy.

We will be going over just how to keep track of your expenses with tools freely available on the internet for anybody to use. By ‘anybody’, that means you! The top expenses that people need to track are usually their rent and groceries. Everybody needs a shelter and some food to stay healthy, so I usually place the most emphasis on pay for those two first. What’s the point of living if you cannot enjoy it? Entertainment is usually the third category that I calculate. (Hint: I place family gatherings and such go under ‘entertainment’)

One other important reason why many will find a living expense calculator useful is to organize their finances. Every receipt that I receive goes straight into a folder. At the end of each week, I enter the receipt totals into my excel expense file. This is useful so that I know just how much more money that I have for the month left. I am rolling in some cash the first two weeks of a month and then I stricken up come the last week or two. Sometimes I don’t have enough money, but I stay true to the living expense totals that calculated at the beginning of the month. If I go past my spending limits that basically makes all the other numbers obsolete. If I go surpass one limit, it’ll be much easier for me to do the same in another category. Just like procrastination, not staying loyal to the goals that you set can begin to snowball in a negative way.

Now let’s get down to business, shall we? It’s time to talk about some of my favorite expense calculators. I use many different forms of calculators. The two main types that I use day-to-day are excel (spreadsheets) and online (forms). Both different options have their own individual pros and cons.

Excel Expenses Calculator

online expense calculatorAs soon as I boot up my computer in the morning, I open up my financial excel file. This is the first thing that I look at in the morning and the last thing at night. As you might imagine, Excel has a variety of pros. For me, Excel is generally easier to use just because I am familiar with the layout. I’ve been using Excel for a number of years so doing a few calculations is no harder than brushing my teeth.

The great thing about Excel that can make it superior to an online based expenses calculator is the fact that it is locally based. This means that if the internet happens to go out, I will still have complete access to my financial file. This is why I put tons of more trust into a software based calculator rather than an online calculator. In no way am I saying that an online expenses calculator is useless, I use a few frequently!

Excel has pretty and beautiful customizable graphs. This point pretty much speaks for itself. I can show my family the monthly frugal budget, along with a line chart and pie chart. Graphs make everything much simpler to comprehend. Numbers become shapes and shapes are more familiar than patterns of numbers.

The last major argument towards using Excel is the fact that you have the ability to save the file. Some online living expense calculators may save cookies but usually they are just simple forms. No account is needed for most calculators. This means that you cannot save; so you just end up having to calculate and then recording the data on paper or on your computer.


This is the part that you’ve all been waiting for. You most likely landed on this page via searching for an online living expenses calculator. Simple or complex, there are only a few that I like. All-in-one is a necessity to any calculator. If there are multiple different pages on a website to find the results, count me out.

An example of the Expenses Calculator found at Four Hour Work Week

One major benefit of an online based calculator is that webmasters usually update the calculator frequently. The categories are up-to-date and useful. If there is a glitch in a calculator, a webmaster can go in and fix that glitch. I cannot completely say the same for a spreadsheet or text file.

expense calculator

Online expenses calculators, most of the time, happen to be easier to fill out. There are boxes next to the calculator. Just fill in your numbers and hit the calculate button. I don’t know if things could really be any simpler than that.

Everything is set up for you. No need to research the categories to build an expense calculator in Excel, as I said in a previous point, everything you’ll need is laid out on the page for you. Best of all; calculations are instant in some responsive calculators. Fill in a field with $5, and the total will instantly say $5. Simply brilliant!

Why use a calculator in the first place?

We jumped straight into what types of calculator would be right for you. But honestly, why? Using any income and expense calculator will just take time out of your day. Let’s face it… the more that you spend time on useless tasks, the less time that you’ll have your day. Let me let you on in a little secret of mine. Using a calculator will actually save you time in the long run. Sure it’ll take you 5 minutes a day, but it’ll end up saving you an hour a day.

Let’s face it, the more effectively that you spend your money, the more money and time that you’ll have in the end. Start figuring out how much money that you actually have to spend and you’ll save time. Days can be easily wasted by worrying and stressing about debt. To solve that issue, just go ahead and eliminate your debt in all. That’s what I did and now I am much happier than I have even been.