Everyone knows it is important to have a budget, but sometimes figuring out how to put one together and then actually following through with it can be a little challenging. The good news is there are a ton of tools out there to help you stay on track. Here are a few of them you might want to check out.
Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
We'll start off with a more traditional option- the good old fashioned spreadsheet. Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets offer you a blank canvas to lay out your finances however is easiest for you, or, for those of us who are a little more unsure of where to start, you can always find a budgeting template and tweak it to fit your needs.
Some upsides include the ability to visualize your budget as a pie chart or graph and the ability to calculate statistics based on your spending. Plus, since Excel and Google Sheets are widely supported file formats, you can access your budget almost anywhere. The only downside is it will take a little more knowhow to use these options. It's not just plug and play like some of the other options out there.
If you're looking for something really easy to use, Mint is probably a good choice for you. By linking your bank account to Mint, you can easily see your spending habits. The app will automatically update and categorize your spending. It tracks all of your transactions and can show you a visual breakdown of where all your money is going, making it easier to see where you might be able to cut down on spending. It's free to open an account, and there are apps available for both iOS and Android.
HomeBank offers an option for people who would rather sit down at the computer and buckle down on reviewing finances. This software, which has been around for more than 20 years, allows you to import bank statements, create templates for the types of transactions you use most, and break everything down in charts and graphs to help track your spending habits. The software is a free download for Windows, OS X, and Linux.
There are countless other tools out there to help you create and stick to a budget, but these three are all great free options to get started. Whether you would like a heavy-duty spreadsheet program or a more streamlined budgeting app, there's something out there to get your budgeting template hammered out.
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