Simplify your Finances: 6 Simple & Free Budgeting Tools

Collaborative post / Tue 24th Jan 2023 pm31 01:33pm

Budgeting is integral to managing your finances and reaching your financial goals. It involves creating a plan for spending and saving money, which can help you make the most of your resources and avoid overspending or getting into debt. 

While many budgeting tools are available, not all are easy to use or affordable. These six simple and free tools help you with your budgeting.

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  1. Spreadsheets: 

Spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets can be a powerful and flexible way to create a budget. To use a spreadsheet for budgeting, start by setting up a simple table with columns for income, expenses, and savings. You can then enter your income and expenses into the appropriate columns and use formulas to calculate the difference between the two. This can give you a clear picture of your financial situation and help you see where you can cut costs or save more money.

A budgeting spreadsheet allows you to customize your budget to fit your specific needs. You can create separate sheets for different categories, such as housing, transportation, and entertainment, or you can create a more comprehensive budget that includes all of your expenses. You can also set up formulas to track your progress toward your financial goals, such as paying a mortgage payment.

  1. Budgeting apps: 

Budgeting apps like Mint or EveryDollar can conveniently track your expenses and create a budget. These apps allow you to enter your income & expenses and categorize them. Many also have features such as alerts for overspending or reaching your budget goals and tools for tracking your investments or creating a debt repayment plan.

One of the advantages of using a budgeting app is that it can be accessed from anywhere, as long as you have your phone or a computer with an internet connection. Some budgeting apps can also connect to your bank accounts and credit cards, making it easier to track your spending automatically.

Using the Mint app, you can also categorize your expenses and set budget goals, such as saving a certain amount each month or paying off debt. The app will alert you when you are close to reaching or exceeding your budget in a particular category.

Similarly, EveryDollar is a budgeting app that allows you to track your income and expenses, create a budget plan, and see your progress toward your financial goals. You can also use the app to create a debt repayment plan and see your progress toward paying off your debt.

For example, if you are self-employed or do not receive traditional pay stubs, using a budgeting app with a payslip generator feature can be a convenient and user-friendly way to track your expenses and create a budget.

  1. Personal finance websites: 

Personal finance websites like Personal Capital or YNAB (You Need A Budget) can be a comprehensive way to manage your finances and create a budget. These websites often have features such as budgeting tools, investment tracking, and retirement planning in addition to budgeting.

Using a personal finance website can be especially helpful if you have multiple accounts or investments and want a more holistic view of your financial situation. Many of these websites also offer educational resources and support to be helpful for those who are new to budgeting or who want to improve their financial literacy.

  1. Envelope system: 

The envelope system is a simple and effective way to budget by allocating a certain amount of cash to different envelopes for different expenses. 

For example, you have an envelope for groceries and bills. When you spend money, you take it out of the appropriate envelope. This can help you stick to your budget.

One of the benefits of using the envelope system is that it can be a more tangible way to budget. This can be especially helpful if you struggle with overspending or impulse purchases.

  1. Cash-only budget: 

Using cash only can be a simple and effective budget by making you more aware of your spending. When you use cash, you can physically track how much you have left, making you more mindful of your purchasing decisions.

Using a cash-only budget can also help you avoid overspending or getting into debt, as you can only spend what you have. It can be beneficial for those who tend to overuse credit cards or struggle with impulse purchases.

  1. Pen and paper: 

A simple pen-and-paper method, such as writing down your expenses in a journal or creating a budget plan on paper, can be a straightforward way to budget. This can be helpful for those who prefer a more hands-on approach or don’t have access to technology.

Using a pen and paper method for budgeting can be a more tactile way to manage your finances, and it can also be an excellent way to visualize your progress. To use this method, start by writing down your income and expenses in a journal or on a sheet of paper. You can then use this information to create a budget plan for your business that includes your necessary expenses, savings goals, and discretionary spending.

One of the advantages of using a pen and paper method for budgeting is that it can be a simple and low-tech way to manage your finances. 

In conclusion, 

Many simple and free budgeting tools can be used for your finances. Whether you prefer a spreadsheet program, a budgeting app, a personal finance website, an envelope system, a cash-only budget, or a pen and paper method, there is a budgeting tool that can work for you. Try out a few options to find what works best for you and your financial budget.

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