When it comes to improving personal finances, just about every one of us could use a helping hand. In particular we could use some free help. While there’s no direction to be pointed in that will lead you to getting free sit down time with a financial adviser, there are a number of online tools you can use to get your spending in shape and a savings plan in order. In particular, online calculators come in pretty handy, such as the following:
Credit card repayment: Courtesy of the Federal Reserve, all you have to do is enter in a desired monthly payment or payoff period and the opposite figure will be shown to you. It’s the easiest way to get a realistic picture regarding your credit card debt, and for judging whether or not your current monthly payment makes enough of a dent.
Student loan repayment: Before taking out those Stafford, PLUS or Discover college loans, run the numbers through this federally-created student loan repayment calculator. While borrowing is a fact of life for most people who choose to attend college, nobody needs the burden of added thousands of dollars of debt after graduation.
Mortgage payment reduction: The Home Affordable Modification program created by the Obama administration aims at ensuring those with mortgages at risk for foreclosure stay afloat for as long as possible. One aim of the initiative is to get mortgage payments to less than 31% of household income. Use this calculator to determine how much you could save by getting your monthly payment lowered.
Cost-of-smoking: If you’re on the fence about stopping smoking, use this cost-of-smoking calculator to see how much you’re spending on cigarettes. Not only will it encourage you to lead a healthier life, you stand to also save a substantial amount of money if you choose to quit the habit once and for all. If you think you can’t stop abruptly, use those portable vaping devices (like vaporizers sold here). It has been observed that they are cost efficient and help you take baby steps to kick out the habit of smoking.
Fuel economy: The next time you’re in the market for a new automobile, run your options through this fuel economy calculator provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. Every make and model from the ’57 Chevy to the 2012 Toyota Prius is on there, so don’t skip this crucial money-saving step in the car buying process.
Home energy saver: Americans allow more than half our energy output to go to waste every year due to inefficiencies. At the home level, this translates into hundreds of dollars lost every year. Help yourself and your family reduce this waste by using the Home Energy Saver calculator created by the U.S. Department of Energy. As user Nick Wilder of Wheat Ridge, Colorado puts it: “Home Energy Saver helped me save thousands of dollars per year. It is one government service that makes paying taxes worthwhile.”
You don’t have to go about fixing your personal finances alone, but you also don’t have to pay for financial assistance. All you really need is an Internet connection and the ability to use resources such as the aforementioned calculators. With such an enormous source for tools and information at your fingertips, there’s no reason why you can’t get a grip on your personal finances once and for all.