During the first few months of the year I receive several emails asking for tips for staying on budget. With the holidays behind us and summer vacation looming on the horizon, folks are looking for a system to keep their spending in line with their goals. For the next week, I’ll be sharing my tips and tricks for managing our household budget.
If you don’t have one, this is where you need to start. The first step is determining which type of budgeting system best fits your life. Here are a few options.
Option #1 Old School
There’s no school like it! If you prefer to have your budget written on paper, here are some freebies you can snag.
- Jaymie Pierce created a set of budgeting and debt management printables (shown above).
- Sissy Print has a simple monthly budgeting form.
- Get Buttoned Up has a single page budget form.
- Freebie Finding Mom created her budget form in a variety of colors.
Option #2: Web & Mobile
Here are some popular mobile & web budgeting tools to check out:
- YNAB (you need a budget) – very popular, but a little intense. Extremely thorough and no monthly charges. Pay $60 once and it’s yours forever.
- PearBudget – simple to set up and 30 day free trial. After that it’s $4.95 per month.
- Mvelopes – set up “spending envelopes” within your account, track your spending and stay on budget. This one is free.
- BudgetTracker – another free program that can be viewed on your mobile device.
- Dave Ramsey Gazelle – Dave is the man when it comes to budgeting. The only thing that has dissuaded me from using this one is the whopping $90 per year fee.
I am pretty old school when it comes to budgeting. We use a free printable calendar from Microsoft Office. Simply download, then delete any unnecessary text or images, and use the text box to list monthly bills. As they are paid, they are crossed off.
In the calendar section we write in our income, along with dates we plan to pay each bill. Savings and giving are also scheduled. Since we are self-employed, our income does not come at regular intervals so this works well for us. We have a separate page with addresses, account numbers and passwords for each account.
ACTION PLAN: Create (or tweak) your budget today. Later in the week we will discuss organizing your accounts and I’ll share my #1 secret for staying on budget every month.
Please leave a comment and share your favorite budgeting software, app, printable or any other tips!