Budget Management Tools

One of the most important skills to learn in life is budgeting. This skill comes easier for some than others. Fortunately, there are so many budget tools and programs that aid in the process of keeping to a budget. The correct use of budget management has the power to completely reshape the way a person views and spends money. There are many different budget software and budget spreadsheet options out there to help you start saving money and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) uses familiar and easy to use spreadsheets to track expenses. One of the reasons YNAB is different from other budgeting tools, is that it teaches the user to live on the previous month’s income. YNAB gives a specific job to each individual dollar, changing the user’s entire mindset regarding money. Visual aids such as graphs and charts help the user better understand and physically visualize where their money is being spent. This program does not link to any banks, so one must download transaction history from banks manually. This process usually takes five to ten minutes a month.

One of the oldest budget management tools around is Quicken. This program offers linked data from banks and other devices, allowing the user constant availability to accounts. Because of the linking of banks and devices it helps the user track not only spending, but investments, bills, and income. The PC version of this program is ideal, while the Mac version seems to be less user friendly.

The Mint budgeting tool has a very user friendly interface. It is similar to both previously listed budget assistants, and provides the user with useful data regarding spending habits within minutes of downloading and syncing accounts. The best part about Mint is that it compiles all spending data and presents in a chart labeled with different categories of spending. Mint can tell you exactly how much a person spends on entertainment, shopping, groceries, and other categories per month.

Of course the option of a good old budget spreadsheet made on a program such as Microsoft excel is also a viable way to track spending habits. It is more time consuming as the user must manually enter each transaction, but for the same reason, creates more awareness regarding the user’s costs and income. Some prefer the privacy of not releasing their personal banking information to an outside entity. There are capabilities to show data in various charts and graphs, also allowing the user to create a personalized data picture that best suits their needs and understanding.

There are plenty of budget tools available for individuals and businesses looking to get a grip on spending. As technology improves, these tools will only increase in tracking spending habits.