33 Debt-Reducing, Money-Saving Calculators for the Newly Frugal

(This is a guest article by Garrett French*)

To get ahead financially you can either make more money or spend less money. If "make more" isn't on your horizon it's time to adopt some frugal habits! Frugal habits can help you stretch your existing cash farther - or help you reduce debt sooner. Making the decision to adopt frugal habits will be easier if you can see how much extra money you'll be saving.

Here are the debt-busting frugality-growing calculators you'll find in this calculator collection:

  • 6 Eating, Drinking, and Merriment Savings Calculators

  • 9 Daily Commuter Vehicle Savings Calculators

  • 4 Alternative Transportation Calculators for Daily Commuters

  • 3 Purchase Decision Making Calculators for Impulse and Big Purchases

  • 3 Kids Savings Calculators for the Early Years

  • 5 Around the House Calculators for Home Ownership Savings

  • 3 Appliance Savings Calculators

6 Eating, Drinking, and Merriment Savings Calculators

If you can make even small reductions to your regular expenses - drinking water instead of soda if you go out to eat for example - you'll save large amounts of money over the course of a year. These calculators demonstrate how much you'll save when making changes to your daily consumption.

1) Brown Bag Savings Calculator: "This calculator will show you how much you could save if you brought your own lunch to work instead of eating out. Plus, it will also show you how much your brown-bag savings would grow if you invested the difference."

2) Booze/Beverage Savings Calculator: "Here is a new and fun savings calculator -- the booze savings calculator. Personally, I never drink anyway, but if I did, I cannot imagine paying the prices even moderately priced restaurants and bars charge for beer, wine and mixed drinks ($2.75, $3.25 and up, often way up)."

3) Coffee Savings Calculator: "Calculate how much you could save if you stopped buying coffee or tea in the coffeeshop, and instead made your own coffee (or quit drinking it altogether)."

4) Cigarette Costs Calculator: "Calculate how much you could save if you stopped smoking. This counts just the cost of the cigarettes and not of health and other costs associated with smoking."

5) Free Printable Grocery Store Price Book (worksheet): "Create a list of frequently purchased products, track prices and only purchase products when they are truly 'on sale'"

6) Drink More Water: Are You Drinking Enough Water?: "Some people claim that drinking water before a meal can reduce how much you eat. Further, drinking water can reduce spending on other beverages."

9 Daily Commuter Vehicle Savings Calculators

Like food and drink, transportation is another of those regular expenses that can end up costing you thousands over the course of a year. Understanding what your vehicle choices may cost you - new vs. used situations, gas mileage or even car pooling - can help you put thousands of dollars back in your bank account every year.

1) Which is better: new or used?: "The debate is endless - you're the only person who can decide whether a new car or used car is a better purchase for you. Use this calculator for financial input on your decision."

2) How long should I keep a vehicle?: "Use this calculator to get a rough idea of how long you should hold onto a new car."

3) Compare MPG Savings in 2 Cars: "The real cost savings of MPG reveal themselves over the course of several years... This calculator will show you what your longer term gas costs will be."

4) Gas Guzzling Comparison Calculator: "Enter the current gas guzzling MPG of that SUV you bought when gas was $1.49 a gallon, and then enter the new MPG of that new Prius you've been thinking about. Then enter your daily round-trip commute, your driving days per year and the number of years to add up."

5) Edmunds.com - Gas Mileage Savings: "You would like to save money on gas so you're considering trading in your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient car. This calculator shows how long will it take before you pay off the balance of a vehicle purchase and really begin saving money."

6) Gas Costs: How much can you save with a more fuel efficient car?: "Calculate how much one can save by driving a more fuel efficient car."

7) Cost of Commuting by Car: "Calculate how much your daily commute by car costs."

8) Commute Cost Calculator: "Compare the actual cost of three different commuting modes."

9) Gasoline Price vs. Cable Bill Calculator: "Some folks complain about paying an extra dollar per gallon for their gas while paying $50, $70 or much more on their cable bills..."

4 Alternative Transportation Calculators for Daily Commuters

Bikes and public transportation can save you thousands and thousands of dollars annually. Do the math for yourself and make the switch!

1) Bike to Work Calculator: "Use this calculator to see how much you can save on gas costs and CO2 emissions by riding your bike to work."

2) Calculate Your Savings by Riding Public Transportation: "This calculator will help you compare the price of using public transportation with the price of paying at the pump and then parking your car in town."

3) The Cycle to Work Calculator (£): "How much fuel & money will you save? How many calories will you burn? How long will your journey take?"

4) Bike Your Drive iPhone App: "Track your mileage, CO2 offsets and more—in real time!"

3 Purchase Decision Making Calculators for Impulse and Big Purchases

There's the 30 second rule where you think about whether you really need an item for 30 full seconds. There's the 30 day rule for larger purchases where you think about it for 30 days. Both of these methods are designed to help you prevent impulse purchases that aren't connected to your financial goals. These calculators will help you make smarter, more cost-efficient purchase decisions too!

1) What Is The Value Of Reducing, Postponing or Foregoing Expenses?: "Use this calculator to help determine what you could accumulate by not eating out as much, eliminating the newspaper, not renting as many videos and other discretionary monthly expenses."

2) FIX OR REPLACE (Digital Equipment) CALCULATOR: "Sometimes it makes more sense to repair your digital equipment (TVs, cameras, receivers, etc...) than to buy new... sometimes NOT."

3) Generic vs. Store-brand Savings Calculator: "Switch from national brand or store brand items to its functional, less expensive equivalent such as generic, store-brand, private label or regional products and this calculator will show you how much discount you will get and how much money you'll save over the course of your lifetime."

3 Kids Savings Calculators for the Early Years

Children are expensive. For years and years and years. These calculators will help you run the numbers on a few major decisions that often accompany young kids.

1) Cloth Diaper Savings Calculator: "Compare the costs of cloth diapers to disposable diapers and make the decision for yourself."

2) Stay at Home Calculator: Can You Afford To Stay At Home?: "Use our calculator to see if your household can afford for you to stay home with the kids."

3) Budgeting Child Care Options: "See what your child care costs are, and compare one income and two income options."

5 Around the House Calculators for Home Ownership Savings

Saving money around the house begins with determining whether or not it makes sense to BUY or RENT in your area. From there you can work up to protecting your heating and cooling expenses with effective insulation. Small investments can have huge payoffs over the course of several years - use these tools to save yourself money!

1) Is it Better to Buy or Rent?: "Compare the costs of renting and buying equivalent homes."

2) Home Energy Saver: Web-Based DIY Energy Audit Tool: "Find the best ways to save energy in YOUR home!"

3) Calculate Your Bulb Savings When Switching to High-Efficiency Bulbs: "Cutting energy use saves you money on your electric bills and reduces the amount of global warming pollution created to power your home."

4) Insulation Upgrade Cost Saving Calculator: "Use this calculator to estimate the cost saving and greenhouse gas reduction for upgrading your insulation or windows."

5) ZIP-Code Insulation Program: "will tell you the most economic insulation level for your new or existing house..."

3 Appliance Savings Calculators

Inefficient appliances can have a major impact on your monthly bills. Use these calculators to see what a difference an energy efficient appliance could have on your monthly power bills.

1) Refrigerator Energy Calculator: "With this calculator you can compare you can see how much you'll save by swapping an old refrigerator with a new one. Or, you can compare energy costs between two new refrigerators."

2) Washer Dryer Energy Calculator: "Compare costs over 2 washers' life time."

3) Electric Appliance Operating Cost Calculator: "Estimate the cost of operating any given electrical appliance, based on the average KWH (kilowatt hours) used per day, and on the average cost per KWH charged by your electric company."

*About the author: This is a guest post by MyCESI.org, a Debt Management Program with Certified Debt Counselors and the publisher of 103 Free Debt Reduction Calculators.

*Image Credit: Photograph by ppinacio [via Flickr Creative Commons]

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David Wilson said...

Thanks for the info. People forget that making small changes can make a huge difference.