As many of you know, I have a lot on my plate and can be quite scatterbrained. Years ago, my husband gave me control of the budget-he decided I would be much better at it. Over the years, I have tried many tools to help our family on our financial journey. I wanted to share what I have found with you. I have to say that I have learned a lot of lessons in budgeting along the way. Today, we are simply going to focus on the tools to budget.
My first tool I used for budgeting was Excel. However, as someone who was new to budgeting, I made quite a mess of it. To do a budget on excel, you must know what categories you want to include in your budget. Furthermore you must know how to use excel to efficiently track and calculate your expenditures and income. The good news is that Excel is free to use.
These days, many people are using apps for budgeting, including myself. The first one I will discuss is YNAB (You Need A Budget). They have been rated by Forbes’ Advisors as one of the top budgeting apps. They offer default budgeting categories, but you can add your own categories as well. Each dollar has a job, accounted for by your budget. I enjoy the fact that you can link your bank account to YNAB in order to track your transactions. It costs $11.99 per month or $84 per year.
Every Dollar is a Dave Ramsey app. Like YNAB, Every dollar is an app that assigns every dollar to something. The app asks about your financial goals. It offers default budgeting categories, funds, and you can also create your own categories. A fund is a spot for you to set a savings goal for the fund and track it cumulatively. There is a paid feature that includes automatic bank transactions, online classes, in depth content about budgeting, baby steps to moving forward, coaching and more. It offers a 14 day free trial, but it costs $129.99 per year. There is no option for monthly payments. However, they do offer a $59.99 option every three months and a $99 option every 6 months.
If you are leery of putting your information out there on the internet or cloud based server, you might stick to the old fashioned pen and paper. If you like to write these things down Clever Fox offers a really nice option. Sometimes, banks will also offer budgeting tools, planning, classes or advice. USAA does offer a budgeting tool. Call your local banker today and find out!