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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

4 personal budgeting tools to help you get a grip on your money

Improve budgeting with personal finance sotware tools
Budgeting is a must if you want to keep your household afloat.
By Andrew Lisa

Budgeting for yourself or for your household is the difference between sinking and staying afloat in a difficult economy. Keeping track of your household's income and expenses is the only way to get a picture of how much you have, how much you need, and what your fiscal future holds.  

When spreadsheets replaced longhand lists, things improved slightly, but modern software makes everything immensely easier - if you choose the right tools. Follow this guide to getting the budget tools to bring your budget up to speed.  


In the class of free personal budgeting software,  Mint  is at or near the top. It's free and it's fast; you're up and running in a few minutes, and the software is web-based, which means you don't have to download anything or worry about security issues on your end.  

Mint centralizes all of your financial data in a single location, giving you overall perspective at a glance. Easy, clear charts and graphs make the interface user friendly and simple, and a range of options allow you to tailor the software to your specifications.


Like Mint, Outright  is web based and free. It provides much of the same functionality and is an excellent tool for unifying all of your different accounts, from your checking and savings accounts to your third-party payment gateways such as PayPal.  

Outright will automatically update your budget as your income comes in and your expenses go out. Outright simplifies your life at tax time by organizing your income and deductions.

'You Need A Budget'

If you're looking for a step a above the free, entry-level software already mentioned,  You Need A Budget  helps you achieve saving goals, manage your money, help you identify budget leaks, and plan for future projects. The software is about $60, but comes with a free, 34-day, full-featured demo.  


Mvelopes strives to not only lay out a budget for you, but to incorporate your credit cards and other expenses to help you get on a path out of debt. It can automate repetitive functions and help you track your finances on the go with a mobile app, and help you set aside money for future savings.

Save prescious time by using apps for budgeting
Modern software makes budgeting easier than any spreadsheet could.
Budgeting is tedious and drains time you don't have to spare, but it's absolutely necessary to a healthy, functioning household. The good news is, there are tools that take the heavy lifting and guesswork out of it for you.

Many are free, and all can help. There is something for everyone. Shop around and don't be afraid to try a demo to make sure it fits your needs before you commit.

About the authorAndrew Lisa  is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about personal finance and gives tips for  creating a budget.

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