Goal Setting & Budgeting: Tools & Calculators Back »

Written by Carrie Johnson (former SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist).

Setting financial goals and creating a budget are tools to help you start making better financial decisions. Setting goals will show you where you want to go financially and creating a budget/spending plan will give you a map of how to get there. This page will give you some links to calculators and tools that may help you in setting your goals and creating your budget.


  • PowerPay (Utah State University): Compare the amount you spend to that recommended by financial experts. Use the secure site to develop a basic and/or extended spending plan and then compare the amount you spend in each category.
  • Cash Course Budget Wizard: The Budget Wizard will help you easily create a monthly budget. If your income or expenses change, you can log in and make the updates. Or you can test your budget scenarios and see what works best for you. The Budget Wizard requires no personal account numbers and keeps all your information confidential.


  • Family Budget Calculator (Economic Policy Institute): This calculator measures the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest standard of living. The budget estimates community-specific costs for 10 family types in 618 locations.
  • What You Should Spend on Food (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach): This calculator gives you an estimate of what to spend on your family’s food based on the USDA Low-Cost Food Plan.
  • The Prioritizer: CNNMoney provides this calculator to help you rank a series of goals or options which are most attractive to you.
  • Ideal Budget Calculator: This calculator provided by CNNMoney helps consumers identify trouble spots by highlighting categories where annual expenses are higher or lower than average for households with similar demographics.
  • Budgeting for a Baby (VISA): Expecting a new addition? This calculator by Visa helps you calculate your new budget plan for one-time and monthly expenses.
  • Your Holiday Budget: This calculator from VISA will help you determine how much money you should set aside for holidays throughout the year.
  • Rework Your Budget (VISA): Knowing where your money goes is an eye-opening experience and an education in itself. This calculator will help you by tracking your expenses. Keep a log and jot down whatever you spend.
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