Free Budgeting Tools
When you’re looking for budgeting tools, remember that not everyone thinks the same. So, your budget may need to be a bit different than your mother’s was. These five budgeting tools are free and really easy to use:
Spreadsheets are one of the easiest ways to set and keep track of your budget. By entering your monthly income and expenses into a spreadsheet you can see where you have the opportunity to cut some expenses. Of course, to have a budgeting spreadsheet you’ll need to have Microsoft Excel or a similar application. However, if you don’t have access to the program, you can access Excel for free through Google. You can also access Excel and a computer at your local library (though you’ll want to be careful about logging any personal information on those computers).
As far as free budgeting tools goes, this is one of the most hands-on. To budget with envelopes, you will have to write down a budget and have a set amount of cash for each of your expenses. For example, if you spend $400 per month on groceries you would put $400 cash in an envelope marked groceries. This will insure that you don’t go over your budget and, for many people, makes them realize how much they are spending.
Pay in Cash
If you’re not into separating your money into envelopes but still want to budget and become more aware of your spending, think about paying in cash. After you’ve put money in savings, pay everything else throughout the month in cash. Many people who pay in cash tend to better stick to their budget and turn away from unnecessary purchases. Paying in cash is a great budgeting approach for many people.
You can also participate in fun savings challenges like the 52 Week Money Challenge with your change if you pay in cash regularly.
Balancing Your Checkbook
Not many people carry around checkbooks anymore but if you’re having trouble with budgeting it can be a great tool (and it is free). Balancing your checkbook requires you to stop and write down everything that you spend. It will let you take a look and realize if you are within your budget or not. Like many of the free budgeting tools mentioned above, it helps you gain awareness of your finances.
There’s an App For That
Last but not least, technology has made it easier for you to budget as well. When it comes to finance, there are a plethora of apps out there designed to help you better yourself. One of the best among them is Mint. If you’ve not heard of it, Mint is a finance app created to help people budget, monitor their credit, pay off debt and save. You can monitor your accounts, your spending and even your savings all through one single app. It is definitely one of the best free budgeting tools out there.
When it comes to budgeting everyone is different. Have a free budgeting tool you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments!
Photo: Six Dollar Family