Budgeting Calculator

Plan your finances with precision, where every dollar finds its purpose.

A Budget May Help You Strike a Balance Between Your Needs, Wants, and Savings.

Whether you’re looking to save money, pay off debt, or plan for retirement, this easy-to-use free online Budgeting Calculator is here to help you stay on track.

How to Use the Budgeting Calculator

Use the free online Budgeting Calculator to plan your savings goals and manage your expenses. All you have to do is enter your monthly income after taxes below, and the calculator will do the rest.

What is the 50/30/20 Budget?

The 50/30/20 budgeting approach is a simple, flexible and easy-to-understand strategy to structure your budget. With this approach, you allocate 50% of your income to cover the essentials, 30% for the things you want, and 20% towards either savings or debt repayment.

50% Needs

Think essential expenses or things you can’t live without: housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and insurance.

30% Wants

Think non-essential items you don’t need but would like to have: entertainment, dining out, hobbies, and splurges.

20% Savings/Debt Repayment

Use the remainder to plan for the future: emergency fund, retirement savings, and paying off debt.

Calculator service provided under license from CALCONIC™. The information provided in the calculator is from CALCONIC, a third-party calculator builder. Flexibility has not independently verified the calculations. Consult with a financial advisor or check other sources before making financial decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

To create a budget, the following steps are often recommended:

  • List your sources of income.
  • Identify and categorize your expenses (needs such as rent, utilities, groceries, and wants such as entertainment) – remember the 50/30/20 rule.
  • Assign specific amounts to each expense category based on your income.
  • Total your income and expenses to ensure they match.
  • Regularly track your spending and adjust your budget as needed.

To stick to a budget, the following steps are often recommended:

  • Review your budget regularly and adjust as circumstances change.
  • Use cash envelopes or digital tools to track spending.
  • Prioritize needs over wants – we recommend 50% of your total income for needs.
  • Set realistic goals and rewards for staying within budget.
  • Automate savings and bill payments.
  • Hold yourself accountable and avoid impulse spending.

Budgeting apps can help users manage their finances effectively. They’re also a great tool for many people, no matter the financial situation. Budgeting apps usually offer key features such as automatic expense tracking, budget creation, alerts for overspending, visual representation of data, goal setting, expense analysis, bill reminders, savings tracking, and financial education. By providing real-time insights, automation, and organization, these apps allow users to make informed financial decisions, track progress, and achieve their goals.

Some popular budgeting apps include Mint®, YNAB (You Need A Budget)™, PocketGuard®, EveryDollar©, and Goodbudget®.*

Budgeting tips for beginners can include starting simple, tracking all expenses, categorizing spending, setting realistic goals, prioritizing debt repayment, using cash envelopes or digital tools, avoiding comparison, and seeking professional help if needed. Using tools like a Budget Calculator can prove to be super helpful for beginners as it can simplify the budgeting process for you.

To budget and save money, the following steps are often recommended:

  • Allocate a portion of your income to savings – 20% is typically recommended if you can afford it.
  • Set specific savings goals (emergency fund, retirement, etc.).
  • Automate transfers to savings accounts.
  • Cut unnecessary expenses.
  • Negotiate bills and look for discounts.
  • Limit impulse spending.
  • Use windfalls (bonuses and tax refunds) for savings.

Common budgeting mistakes can include underestimating expenses, not tracking small purchases, neglecting irregular expenses, not adjusting the budget as circumstances change, setting unrealistic goals, and failing to prioritize saving for emergencies. Do your best to avoid these mistakes so you can stay on track moving towards your financial goals. For a full list of common financial mistakes you should avoid, check out our blog post here.

Just because you have limited financial resources, doesn’t mean budgeting is out of reach. Even with a low income, saving may be possible! Budgeting on a low income involves prioritizing needs, minimizing wants, seeking assistance programs, using community resources, looking for additional income sources, cutting unnecessary expenses, and finding creative ways to save.

Budgeting techniques are strategies to manage finances effectively. Examples include the 50/30/20 rule as seen in the free online Budgeting Calculator, zero-based budgeting (allocating every dollar), envelope system (using cash for categories), and the snowball or avalanche methods (debt repayment strategies). Read more about each technique below, then choose one that suits your goals and financial situation.

The 80/20 method is a more simplified version of the 50/30/20 budgeting approach. The 80/20 budgeting method, also known as the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule, involves allocating 80% of your income to specific categories of expenses and directing the remaining 20% toward savings, debt repayment, and other financial goals.

Here’s how the 80/20 method works:

  • Allocate 80% to Expenses: Dedicate 80% of your income to cover essential expenses and discretionary spending. This includes necessities such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and even some entertainment.
  • Allocate 20% to Savings and Goals: Set aside the remaining 20% of your income for savings, investments, debt reduction, and pursuing financial goals. This can include building an emergency fund, contributing to retirement accounts, paying off high-interest debt, and saving for specific goals.

The concept behind this method is to confirm that the majority of your income goes towards meeting your daily needs and maintaining your lifestyle, while a significant portion also goes toward securing your financial future. It’s a straightforward approach that provides flexibility while emphasizing the importance of saving and setting aside funds for long-term financial stability.

While the 80/20 budgeting method provides a general guideline, keep in mind that personal circumstances and financial goals may require adjustments. Some people might need to allocate more or less to certain categories based on their priorities and needs.

Zero-based budgeting is an aggressive budgeting method where every dollar of your income is assigned to specific expenses, savings, or goals until your budget reaches a balance of zero. This approach aims to make sure that your income is fully utilized and aligned with your spending priorities. It encourages intentional spending and helps manage finances efficiently. However, it requires careful planning, regular tracking, and adjustments as needed.

The envelope system is a budgeting technique where you allocate specific amounts of cash to different spending categories, such as groceries or entertainment. Each category has a separate physical or virtual envelope containing the allocated cash. When you make purchases, you take money from the appropriate envelope. Once an envelope is empty, you’ve reached your spending limit for that category. This method provides a visual way to control variable expenses. It also encourages discipline and helps you stay within your budget. While effective, it requires consistent tracking and might be adapted using digital tools for convenience.

The snowball method is a debt repayment strategy that involves starting by paying off smaller debts first, regardless of their interest rates. As each smaller debt is cleared, the payment amount is rolled over to the next smallest debt. This creates a snowball effect that can accelerate debt payoff. While it may not be the most cost-effective approach in terms of minimizing interest, the snowball method offers psychological benefits by providing a sense of accomplishment and motivation as smaller debts are quickly eliminated.

The avalanche method, in contrast, is a debt repayment strategy that focuses on paying off debts with the highest interest rates first. By making minimum payments on all debts and directing extra funds toward the highest-interest debt, this method aims to minimize overall interest payments and expedite becoming debt-free. The strategy involves creating a list of debts ranked by interest rate, and as each high-interest debt is paid off, the payment amount is directed to the next highest-interest debt. While it’s financially efficient, it may require more time to see significant progress compared to other methods like the snowball method. Choosing between strategies depends on personal goals, financial circumstances, and individual preferences.

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Flexibility does not provide financial advice. The content of this page is provided for general informational purposes only. Flexibility does not make representations and warranties with respect to any information from this page, including Budgeting Calculator results. Consult with a financial advisor and evaluate the risks and merits before making financial decisions.  

High-interest loans can be expensive and should be used only for short-term financial needs, not long-term solutions. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling.