The infamous “B” word has a tendency to send folks into a frenzy. No, I’m not talking about the profane insult of calling someone a female dog. I’m referring to the word “budget.” Quite simply a budget is a “spending plan.” A budget is the foundation to reach any kind of financial goal. There are three common reactions that people have to the notion of budgeting: 1. I don’t use a budget 2. I don’t know how to budget 3. Budgeting is too difficult. Thankfully, there are resources out there to help people plan their money and remove some of the above perceptions. We’re going to take a glance at 4 budgeting tools that will help you organize your finances more easily.
First up is EveryDollar. EveryDollar is budgeting software developed by Dave Ramsey’s company Ramsey Solutions. The EveryDollar name dictates the use of the software: assign every single dollar of income a responsibility for the month. EveryDollar has a clean and appealing user interface and is pretty easy to set up. EveryDollar is available both on the web and mobile for iOS and Android. There’s a free version and a paid version called EveryDollar Plus for $129/year bundled with Dave Ramsey’s online version of his capstone money course, Financial Peace University. Check out the video below for a closer look at how EveryDollar works.
YNAB (You Need A Budget)
Next up is YNAB (You Need A Budget). YNAB is award winning budgeting software that shows you how to manage your money and stop living paycheck to paycheck by getting ahead. YNAB seeks to help you “gain total control of your money” based on The 4 Rules: 1. Give Every Dollar A Job 2. Embrace Your True Expenses 3. Roll With The Punches 4. Age Your Money. YNAB has a very generous 34 day free trial. Post trial YNAB is $11.99/month or $84/year annually. YNAB is available on the web and mobile (iOS, Android). Check out the videos below to learn more about YNAB’s 4 Rules and an in depth YNAB tutorial by Nick True of Mapped Out Money.
It’s a good day to budget with Goodbudget. Goodbudget is a service based on the tried and true concept of the envelope budget system. The money for all monthly expenses is divided among envelopes for each budget category (Ex. Groceries, Rent, Utilities, etc.). You spend down the money in each envelope. Once the money is emptied, you’re “done” for that envelope, thus keeping you from overspending. Goodbudget has a free forever version and a paid version with more features for $6/month or $50 annually. Check out the video below to learn how to add envelopes in Goodbudget.
Last but not least is Mint.com. Mint is an all encompassing personal finance hub, helping you effortless manage your finances in one place. Mint calculates average spending by category, so you can easily create a budget based on spending patterns. You can observe how much you’re spending on what, year-to-year or month-to-month. Mint is 100% free. Mint remains free because they make money off of advertisements with partners (Ex. Credit card recommendations, loans, etc.).
Ok party people. It’s action plan time. Based on the 4 budget tools discussed above, what do you need to apply, what do you need to change, and/or what do you need to teach somebody else? Oorah!