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The following is a guest post from Amanda Green. Enjoy!
Love it or hate it, the United States government is a source of unprecedented human capital and resources. While we can’t say that Uncle Sam’s wealth trickles down to only the most necessary of places, it’s a guaranteed fact that the overwhelming majority of federal funds go to useful things, such as services to the public and grants to universities. The existence of online financial calculators stemming from both government agencies and state schools is an example of the capability and reliability of public service and funding.
While they won’t replace the expert advice of a financial advisor, the following six calculators available through various federal agencies and public universities are free to the web-connected public and above all, are trustworthy:
University of Maryland Medical System Cost-of-Smoking Calculator
For those of you who dealing with a cigarette addiction, this cost-of-smoking calculator puts the price of your daily pack on an annual scale. While not the main reason to quit, the financial benefits are a definite perk.
Analysts say to prepare for $5.00 gallons of gas by the end summer. Those thinking about trading their gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient ride can’t afford not to stop by the DOE’s fuel economy comparison calculator to see their options side-by-side.
Before you and your loved one decide to start a family, make sure it’s the right time financially by using this cost of raising a child calculator. It’s also useful for existing families looking to see the bigger picture regarding the expenses of parenthood.
Federal Reserve Credit Card Repayment Calculator
While minimum payments give you more spending money today, they’ll result in massive amounts of interest paid over time. To get a glimpse at the long-term state of your credit card debt at the rate your going, use this repayment calculator.
Many cost-of-living calculators exist online. But, none get as specific as this living wage calculator created through economics research conducted at Penn State. While it focuses primarily on the necessary wages needed for low income living, it provides an accurate portrait of living conditions in cities across the United States.
By plugging in information about your geographical area, home, utility bills, energy habits, and existing efficiency efforts, this handy calculator will tell you the ways in which you can further increase sustainability and eliminate waste. It’s ideal for families as well as college roommates.
Uncle Sam has never had much of a glossy reputation, but our tax dollars do go to more useful things than we tend to think about. The aforementioned online calculators, and the inevitable financial information you’ll gain from using them, are proof of the benefits of public funds and service.
How about you all? Do you use any financial calculators online? Have the ones you’ve had more success with been provided by the non-profit (academia/government) or for-profit sector?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://opencage.info/pics/files/800_4543.jpg