The Best Financial Websites

by Deborah Skolnik

The Best Financial Websites

CNNMoney Budget Calculator Feed it stuff like your salary and tax information, and it’ll suggest what you can afford for housing, insurance, and other big-ticket categories, plus help you divvy up what’s left for the fun stuff. Debt Pay-Down Adviser Figure out how quickly you’ll whittle down your credit card balances if you increase your monthly payments. (Once you see what a big difference even a few extra dollars a month make, you might be more motivated to fork ’em over to Visa instead of Starbucks!)

The SmartMoney “How Long Will My Money Last?” Calculator Learn how much money your current nest egg will generate annually in your leisure years. Don’t have enough saved yet to live the way you’d like? Follow the link to retirement-strategy worksheets to see how to fatten your bottom line.

MSN Money Central College Savings Calculator How much will you have to save to afford college? Or what’s your tuition limit based on your current savings rate? It’s not too soon to think about these questions  — and do something. There’s useful financial info here as well on how to invest wisely and protect your financial privacy.

Zillow Home Valuation Site How much did your best friend pay for that cute colonial, anyway? Punch in her address and get an estimate  — as well as the value of every house in spitting distance. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: It’s addictive. This site’s also great for house hunting  — you can figure out where you’ll get the most bang for your buck without a lot of legwork.

Coupon Mountain Discount Code Finder You know those “enter promo code” boxes so many cyberstores’ checkout pages have? This site lists ’em for scores of merchants. Try, too, which gives links to downloadable coupons, free-sample offers, and more.

PBS Kids “It’s My Life” money topics and games page A “Mad Money” game challenges kids to stretch a make-believe allowance to the max. There’s also “Be Your Own Boss,” where players aim to launch a small business. And kids can get advice on setting money goals and boosting their income. (Oddly enough, “hold an interminable pledge drive” is not listed as an option.) For kids 6 and up.

The United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change Even kindergartners will love the amusements this site offers, including virtual coin designing, a memory game, and a wishing well (cyber coins included, of course!).

Deborah Skolnik is a senior articles editor at Parenting.