Plenty of people spend money to get help with saving money when perhaps they could start with things they already own. You can make a great stride toward easy budgeting by using any of the following five things you already own.
You probably already have spreadsheet software through your employer or personal productivity suite of apps — or you can easily access a free spreadseheet through Google Apps. Start a file within a spreadsheet app where you enter your monthly income and expenses to look for opportunities to plan to save money.
To budget with envelopes, you will have to write down a budget and have a set amount of cash for each of your expenses. The nice thing about using envelopes for budgeting is they force you to make your financial plans more tangible. Label each envelope with what you intend the money to be fore. 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.
Only Use Cash
If you’re not into separating your money into envelopes but still want to budget and become more aware of your spending, think only paying for things in cash. After you’ve put money into your savings account, 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.
Balance Your Checkbook
Whenever you get a new set of checks from your bank, you also get a ledger tool that helps you balance your checkbook. This requires you to write down every check you write as soon as you do so. But it’s a great habit to get into since it will keep you from incurring overdraft fees while also keeping your spending in line — sticking to your budget becomes much easier when you keep good records of your checks.
Your Mobile Device
There are a plethora of apps out there designed to help you better yourself, and many of them are free for downloading to your mobile device. Top choices include Quicken, Personal Capital, Mint, EveryDollar and You Need a Budget. They let you monitor your spending, savings and investments all in the same place and without having to pay for privilege of doing so.
The easier you can make the budgeting process, the greater the likelihood that you will be able to stick to a budget. Readers, what tools do you use to help you budget?