The most important thing you can do for your financial health is to plan your budget. Being aware of how much you’re spending, how much you’re saving, and what you can afford is essential in order to build wealth and avoid bad debt (and yes, there is such a thing as good debt – as long as it doesn’t overwhelm your finances). However, planning your budget isn’t always easy, especially when you start considering hypotheticals such as Should I buy a house? and What happens if I put $50 per month into my retirement account? Here are six different online calculators that you can use for free to help you plan your budget!
How much of your income should you be spending on necessities, how much should you be saving, and how much can you spend on things that you want? This Budget calculator from Nerd Wallet suggests that 50% of your monthly after-tax income should be spent on necessities, 20% should be put towards savings and repayment of debts, and 30% can be spent on things that you’d like. Necessities include expenses such as housing, food, transportation, utilities, insurance, and minimum loan repayments. The 20% that should be saved or used to pay off debt can go towards emergency funds, retirement, and paying off debt (any payments made that are higher than the minimum required are included in this category). Wants include things such as streaming service subscriptions, travelling, entertainment, meals out, and anything else that isn’t technically necessary for you to have. Of course, this budget is just a suggestion, and you will need to make sure that your budget fits your lifestyle.
One question that many people ponder, especially when it comes to their budget, is whether it’s better to rent or to own a house. In many parts of the United States, a monthly mortgage payment can actually be cheaper or about the same cost as rent – plus, when you pay off a mortgage, you’re building equity. However, owning a house comes with maintenance costs, property taxes, and other responsibilities that typically aren’t associated with renting. Furthermore, it’s often easier to move out from an apartment than to move out from a house.
This Rent vs. Buy calculator is offered by Goodmortgage and factors in details such as current rent, approximate rent increase each year, home value, loan terms, and monthly costs. The results are broken down by the net cost of owning versus renting and the average monthly payment. If you’re trying to figure out whether you should rent or own your next housing situation, definitely try this calculator.
When looking at real estate, the biggest question people have is how much home they can afford. Take some of the guesswork out of house affordability with this Affordability Calculator, which takes a look at your gross annual income, monthly debt, and desired home loan terms. Then you can view what price range you can afford based on the down payment that you have saved up. This calculator also shows you an estimated monthly mortgage payment.
This calculator is meant to just be a guide, and you should double check your finances to make sure you can truly afford the price limits that this calculator suggests. But having an idea of where to start can be helpful in determining if now is the right time to buy, or if you should continue saving.
If you’re planning out your monthly budget and are planning on buying a home, it’s important to factor in a monthly mortgage payment. This calculator lets you plug in your home value, loan value, interest rate, loan terms, and other factors that affect your monthly payment. You can then use this calculator to help calculate how much you should plan to spend on a mortgage payment each month, and whether or not that is something you can afford. Additionally, you can use this calculator to set a desired goal, whether that’s a house that’s in your price range or a mortgage interest rate that gets you a certain monthly payment. Knowing what to expect and having a plan in mind when shopping for a mortgage can make the process much less daunting.
Perhaps you’re wondering whether owning an investment property is a good idea. In addition to earning equity, investment properties can also earn rental income, often helping to pay for their mortgage payments (if not covering the cost of the mortgage payment entirely). This Investment Property Calculator uses home value, loan information, and rental information to determine expenses, taxes, rental income, and net worth for the first five years of owning the investment property. It can be a useful first step in determining if purchasing a rental property is right for you.
How much have you saved for retirement, and can you retire at the age that you want? This retirement calculator helps check to see if you’re on the right track for saving enough based off of your current age, the age at which you plan to retire, your savings and your income. It lets you know how long your retirement income should last and whether or not you need to start saving more. Of course, there are other situations that may need to be factored in, but this is a good start to ensure that you’re saving an appropriate amount.
Online calculators are no replacement for a financial advisor or expert. They are merely tools and suggestions to help guide your thinking towards your finances and the future. It’s important to thoroughly research before any major financial decision. If you’re considering purchasing a home, or if you already have a home but are thinking about refinancing, you can use RateZip to compare some of the top lenders and mortgage rates in the nation. It’s completely free to use our service, and there’s no obligation! Start comparing mortgage rates today.