6 Money-Saving Back-to-School Calculators

Katie Simon

back-to-school-calculatorRemember that old Texas Instruments calculator that you used to drag to calculus? The giant one that didn’t even fit in your pocket?

We do, too, and we don’t miss those exam-filled days. But it was still fun to know that you could punch a bunch of complicated numbers into a machine and it would spit out results for you.

Now that back-to-school season is in full swing, we could all use a little help crunching some numbers, whether it’s for something as simple as spending on school supplies or as complicated as comparing college aid packages.

We’ve rounded up six cool calculators that will not only help you stay on top of your money goals, but also teach you something new about how far your dollars can go—after all, it’s not only those of us in school who could stand to learn a lesson or two.

Calculators for Spending and Saving

Budget for Back to School This tool from the folks at practicalmoneyskills.com can be useful for parents who want to show their children that those school supplies don’t pay for themselves. It itemizes costs for everything from binders to backpacks to sporting gear, and can help parents and their kids come up with a suitable back-to-school budget together.

Before entering specific data, you’ll be asked to estimate your total expenses so you can see if your (or your child’s) expectations are realistic. Plus, you can personalize your budget by adding as many extra categories as you’d like.

Save for College Some parents start contributing to their kids’ college accounts starting from their first birthday, but no matter how old your child is, it’s never too early to start (or keep!) saving.

LearnVest’s How Much Should You Sock Away for College? calculator helps you figure out what might work within your budget. You plug in the current tuition at your child’s future school (at least, the one you hope they’ll attend); your child’s age; and how much you want to contribute to his or her college expenses. Based on this information, it can help you shape a custom savings plan with targeted goals and estimated monthly contributions.