Budgeting Tools: Which Ones You Need in Your Toolbox
At Mint, we're interested in helping you create a budget that actually works. We want you to stay on track for the long haul, well after the initial excitement of creating a budget has worn off. Here are some of our recommended budgeting tools to help you achieve your financial goals.
Financial Tracking Software
The first step to making a budget is to figure out what you're earning and what you're spending. Financial tracking software like Mint.com helps you do that by organizing and categorizing your spending, then helping you set up your financial goals.
A Spending System
Develop a system so that whenever you spend money, you can record the amount going out, and the budget category. Websites like Mint let you easily enter each transaction, allowing you to see where your money is going, what's in your accounts, and what you owe.
Whether you use a service like Mint (which offers e-mail and text reminders), or your own calendar system, develop a way to remind yourself when bills are due, so you can avoid late fees and unnecessary interest payments.
If you own a smartphone or tablet, it helps to have access to your budget from your device, so you can keep your accounts up to date, no matter where you are. Not only does this help you stay on top of your budget, it also prevents a collection of receipts from building up in your wallet.
A Time to Review
A budget is not a "set it and forget it" exercise. You need to review your budget frequently, comparing it to what you've actually spent. You can set up a calendar reminder to review at the same time each month, or you can use a tool like Mint to keep you constantly in sync.
No matter whether your household is filled with financial gurus or first-time budgeters, the tools outlined here will help. If you can measure it, you can manage it -- and the tools listed above will help you do both.
Mint.com comes with a full suite of budgeting tools that you can use to create your budget and achieve your financial goals. Click here to sign up!