Money Saving Articles

Easy Budgeting Tools

budget gift yourselfThere it is, our favorite dirty word: budget. Just kidding, it’s a fantastic word, and as a gift to yourself, you should have a budget! One size fits all doesn’t work for budgets, you need to find one that works for you. I generally feel most comfortable with a budget that has some wiggle room built in, but I’m willing to bet that many people don’t feel that way. With that in mind, I have done some research into budgeting tools and plans that offer a variety of tips.

 

Paper Budget

Do you like to be able to write things down on paper? I know lots of people prefer not to use computer-based systems. If so, there are two ways to track your budget. The first is with a binder or notebook of some sort. Budgets Made Easy has a yearly planner available that’s designed based on a personal system, along with quite a few blog posts explaining how to set up your budget.

If a printable budget binder doesn’t interest you, a small bound notebook like a Moleskine could be set up to track your spending and budget. The concept is to keep track of your finances in a bullet journal along with your calendar, to-do lists and even actual journaling. I’ve thought about trying this, but my creativity fought with my perfectionism, and I gave up. Many of my friends love their bullet journals and refer to them regularly.

 

Computer, Not Online

This is my method of choice as my handwriting is hard to read sometimes, even for me. So, typing my information is what I determined to be my most successful system. I have an Excel spreadsheet I’ve set up with tabs for each month of the year and a few formula blocks to make it easy. I did find the template online and have tweaked it a bit to match my needs; here is the basic template I use. This blog post has links to quite a few different templates, most of which are free.

For this method, you can also print them out to either fill out manually or to file for later. If you don’t trust keeping the files on your computer, and don’t want to waste paper, you can also back them up on a flash drive or in the cloud.

 

Online Systems

By online, I mean internet-based. There are so many companies that have created online budgeting tools that you can access across all your internet-enabled devices. Some of them even have a way to link your bank and credit card accounts to give a complete picture of your spending. Often starting with something like Mint or YNAB will help you figure out how you spend your money, and that is the first step in creating a budget!

 

Do you Have a Budget?

Maybe I should have started with this, however, I have written about this before here and here, plus most of the links I have provided also cover how to set up your budget. Dave Ramsay said, “A budget isn’t about restricting what you can spend. It gives you permission to spend without guilt or regret.” A great rule of thumb is to break your budget down by the 50/30/20 rule.  The basic rule is to divide after-tax income, spending 50% on needs and 30% on wants while allocating 20% to savings. When you look at your budget categories as percentages instead of set dollar amounts, it can be easier to feel like you are controlling your money rather than your money controlling you.

 

Free Up Some Money in Your Budget

While BillCutterz can’t organize your finances for you, we are here to help you gain control of your monthly bills. Take a few short minutes to sign up and submit your bills, then our professional team of Savings Experts will go to work making sure you are getting the best possible rates while staying within your budget!

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