Do you have a budget? If not, you should get on it ASAP. I refused to budget for the longest time until my husband and I got engaged and I started with a wedding budget. This was my gateway to monthly budgeting thereafter and there’s no looking back now!
Budgeting allows you to track where each and every dollar you have goes, whether it’s to savings, retirement or expenses. And I don’t know about you, but I like to know where my money goes.
Below I am sharing with you four of the top budgeting tools I have come across. Some are free while others come with a charge and they all offer different pros and cons. Read below and choose which works best for you!
Mint is a free personal financial management app. It allows you to see exactly where your money goes by linking your banking and credit cards to Mint. Mint suggests your budget numbers based on your average spending habits.
The app allows users to set spending limits and will provide a warning notification when you approach those limits. Mint can also be used to manage and pay bills and check your credit score. To give you peace of mind in case you’re worried about linking your accounts, Mint is a product of Intuit, which is the maker of TurboTax.
If you trust them with your tax information, you can trust that they are a secure place for you to view your finances all in one place.
Many people in the personal finance blogging community utilize and promote Personal Capital. Personal Capital is an app that provides both free and paid services.
In the free basic service, Personal Capital gives you a “dashboard” that allows you to see all your investment and other financial accounts, including your retirement accounts, on one screen by sharing your login information. This gives you the ability to check all your stocks and bonds in one place so that you can check that your overall investment mix is what you want it to be, even if they are in different accounts with different brokerages.
In the paid service, in which Personal Capital manages your money for a fee of up to 0.89% of assets a year, the app pairs investors with financial advisors online and over the phone.
YNAB or YouNeedABudget is a software that helps make budgeting easy by offering several features. YNAB allows you to sync your bank accounts so that your activity is all in one place. It allows you to set, track and reach goals. It offers tools specifically to help you pay down your debt.
You get personal support and teaching, 7 days a week. It works on the go. Last but not least, YNAB offers reporting, so you can visually see your progress. You can sign up for a free 34-day trial and after that, you will be billed $50 annually.
I personally prefer Excel to any other budgeting tool because it’s the most customizable. Excel offers templates for budgeting which are a great starting point. From there, you can either change the names of categories, add things or take them away.
This is exactly what my husband and I have done. We’ve turned a budget template into a perfectly customized spreadsheet that allows us to easily input our numbers each month to analyze our actual expenses as compared to our budget numbers. One downfall to excel is that it is a manual process, so it tends to be more time-consuming than other tools out there.