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Simple tools to help you manage your personal and household budget
If you haven’t performed a personal or household budget, you’re missing out on one of the simplest money saving procedures available to you.
Firstly list all income and expenditure and you’ll immediately see if you’re living within your means or spending more than you can afford. Once you’ve established that – often difficult – fact, you can start to properly budget and save some money.
But how? What kind of budgeting tools are available to individuals and homeowners? The good news is there are plenty, and in this post I’m going to highlight five of the best.
Pen and paper
Don’t laugh. In this digital, social media-infested world, there is nothing wrong with turning to old fashioned tools. The most important thing with budgeting is that you are able to be productive and precise with your numbers. If for you that means your trusty, battered old notebook and favourite pen – go for it. Just don’t lose it down the back of the sofa or inside the dog.
Fond of apps? If so, you’ll doubtless want to turn to your trusty mobile companion to manage your personal budget. You could do a lot worse than take a look at iSpending by Hana Mobile. This is a brilliant, free expense tracker that helps you track income and expenditure. Simply tap ‘Add Income’ or ‘Add Expense’ whenever you need to, enter the details and then see your daily, weekly, monthly and annual spending budget in handy pie charts and broken down by category.
Goodbudget Budget Planner (iOS and Android)
Proudly labelled an ‘expense tracker and personal finance manager’, Goodbudget is another free personal finance app. It is available for both iPhone and Android devices. Offering much the same feature-wise as iSpending, Goodbudget ups the ante with the ability to share your budget with others. If you’re budgeting as a couple of family, the ability for you all to contribute to a central report of income and expenditure is a powerful thing indeed; there’s no hiding!
Mint (web, iOS and Android)
For ‘power budgeters’ or those who simply want a more comprehensive personal budgeting experience, Mint is a fantastic choice. It combines income and expense tracking with financial tips, bill reminders, unusual account charge alerts and integrated credit checking, to name but a few of it’s colossal list of features. It is quite simply the Rolls Royce of the personal budget world.
Microsoft and Apple to the rescue. Excel and Numbers, respectively, are the most popular spreadsheet apps in the world, and for good reason. They’re easy to get to grips with, can take the mental pain out of arithmetic and, if you’re so inclined, can even add a bit of design flare to your budgets. You won’t have to start from scratch, either, because there is a boat load of free budgeting spreadsheet templates available on the web.