Taking ownership of our personal finances has never been easier. With phone apps, information on the internet, and free seminars abundant, managing money is easier than ever. But most people still have trouble accessing, talking, and thinking about their money. Why is that?
Well, first, people don’t know how much they spend. Second, making a budget is a process which people seem to find inconvenient. And third, all this information can come at us like a huge snowball and hit us right in the face. Making sense of it can be difficult.
I am here to tell you that it does not have to be that hard or complicated. Let’s start with budgets!
A budget is a living breathing thing. You should never set a budget and expect it to never change. Budgets move and breathe as we do. Some months, even some weeks, may be different than others, and we must adjust to those weeks, months, or years, to become financially independent and stay on top of our goals. Whatever changes in your life, your budget will also change. So, we must check and adjust our budget often. Don’t just set a budget and forget it. I check my budget weekly and make appropriate changes when needed. If you do not feel or need to do so as often, then do so once every two weeks.
So, we have figured that a budget is living, breathing document, and that you need to check it often. Now we must make one! The best budget is one that you will want to make and check often. So, if you are old-school and want to do a pen and paper budget, then all the power to you. If you want to step it up a bit and go with Excel spreadsheets, then chomp away at those spreadsheets.
But what If you aren’t old-school and don’t like Excel? Or maybe you want some more oomph behind your budgeting. Well, there are a plethora of amazing budget apps and services that can help you with that. Below I have listed some of my favorites.
Mint: Perhaps the most well-known budgeting app, Mint was created to simplify your budget and streamline your viewing of expenses. You can sync up your credit cards, bank accounts, and expenses, and track yourself.
Personal Capital: One that I use personally, Personal Capital is not perfect, but it hits the right mark with me. I love their mobile app. It can also be used to track investments as well.
GoodBudget: A cool app and service that lets you use the old envelope budgeting trick, but in an updated, modern way. If you love envelope budgeting, or you miss the simplicity of it, check it out and see if it fits the bill for you.
EveryDollar: I could not end a list without giving you a Dave Ramsey tool. EveryDollar was created to help families and individuals keep track of their spending to the very minutia. The free version takes some work, but once you finally input all your info, it is simple to keep up to date.
All the tools above have a free, basic version that you can use. Some allow you to upgrade to the paid version. I encourage to try all of them for free to see which is the best fit for you. You may never need to upgrade either, but don’t tell them I told you that!
Take a look at the tools listed above and let us know if this has been helpful!
– Coach Dario