Author Topic: Personal Budgeting  (Read 3629 times)

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RuthNY

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Personal Budgeting
« on: Feb 17, 2014, 11:49 am »
Does anyone have a favorite personal budget spreadsheet or software that they use, to keep on track financially? I've never officially budgeted each month in "writing" and I'd love to try it, to see if I can save more money than I'm already saving, but I need some recommendations! Thanks!
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BARussell

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #1 on: Feb 17, 2014, 12:38 pm »
Lots of people suggest Mint.com, I don't personally use it but I've heard good things. I just dont feel all that comfortable giving a third party access to my accounts.
« Last Edit: Feb 17, 2014, 12:41 pm by BARussell »
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KMC

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #2 on: Feb 17, 2014, 01:18 pm »
I use Mint and I would recommend it.

I just dont feel all that comfortable giving a third party access to my accounts.

I take some comfort that Mint is owned by Intuit and they have a robust security apparatus on par with what banks and financial institutions are using, though this is certainly a valid concern.

I will say that Mint is really, really easy to use and requires little effort to maintain once it's set up.  I used to do budgeting by spreadsheet but manually entering each transaction into a line item was tedious - Mint does that all for you.
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BARussell

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #3 on: Feb 17, 2014, 01:51 pm »
I might have to try it then. It would be great to have all the information in one place and not have to go searching and making spread sheets.
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KMC

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #4 on: Feb 17, 2014, 02:36 pm »
It's a personal preference, really.  Mint does certainly present a desirable target for cybercriminals, but so do your banks, online retailers, etc...

It's part of the age we live in. 
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

Maribeth

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #5 on: Feb 17, 2014, 07:55 pm »
I use Mint and really like it. There's also a program called You Need A Budget, that is spreadsheet-based, if you don't want to go the online route. The downside for me is that you have to go through and manually input expenses and income, where Mint automates that for you. 

lsears

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #6 on: Feb 17, 2014, 10:07 pm »
I recommend Ace Budget app to students who are always on their smart phones anyway.  That way they have access to their budget when not at home.  It probably links to your computer, but I can't say for sure.

Tempest

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #7 on: Feb 18, 2014, 10:55 am »
I made my own fairly simple spreadsheet; it's not hard to make or maintain, and SO HELPFUL!

First three columns list each of my monthly bills, their due date, and how much they are (if it's a bill that varies by month like water or power, I update that last column every time I get a statement). Then there's a total below that last column; that my total to pay my regular bills for the month. 

Then I add two more columns. I get paid bi-weekly, so the next column just splits all the bill amounts in two. I total that column, and that's how much I have to take out of my paycheck every two weeks and deposit in a checking account I use only for paying bills.

The column after that multiplies the previous column by 1.1, or increases the amounts by 10%. That's how much I try to take out of my paycheck and deposit into the bills checking account.

You don't really notice that 10% difference, but boy it helps! If a bill suddenly goes up, you have the money socked away to cover it. After a few months of putting an extra 10% into a bills only account, you'll discover that you have a month's worth of bills saved up. Then two. Then three. When you realize that if you're unemployed for three months you can pay yours bills, even without unemployment? That's a gorgeous feeling of freedom.
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Dart

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #8 on: Feb 18, 2014, 11:39 pm »
I'm also a Mint user. I really like it, but I recommend tracking how it labels your transactions, particularly at first. For example, the bar my theatre usually has post-tech drinks at keeps showing up as a barbershop. You can absolutely change that, though, and if you go through the website you can change the label forever.

Aside from that, it even has labels I didn't think I'd be using - like pet-specific expenses. Up until now, I'd been budgeting kitty food under "groceries."

Branden

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #9 on: Feb 20, 2014, 11:03 pm »
Lots of people suggest Mint.com, I don't personally use it but I've heard good things. I just dont feel all that comfortable giving a third party access to my accounts.

I've used Mint for a while, and wouldn't recommend it. I find that it's just as easy to forget about or ignore as checking your bank statements. Since it's mostly automatic, it doesn't have the same effect as sitting down and doing the math to see how much money you have.

I will say that it alerts you when big purchases are made; so it's not a bad way to detect fraud. When I bought my iPad it sent me an email and a text, letting me know that I spend a large amount on electronics at Apple.

I prefer to stick to a simple excel spreadsheet, that forces me to enter the data. That way I'm looking at the money I'm spending regularly, instead of letting a program do it for me.
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Dart

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #10 on: Feb 20, 2014, 11:33 pm »
I will say that it alerts you when big purchases are made; so it's not a bad way to detect fraud. When I bought my iPad it sent me an email and a text, letting me know that I spend a large amount on electronics at Apple.

It will also alert you when your available credit is "low," which does mean a monthly heart attack for me because anything less than $500 on my $500 credit card is apparently "nearing my credit limit." The first coffee of the month is nervewracking...

BARussell

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #11 on: Feb 21, 2014, 01:58 pm »
Lots of people suggest Mint.com, I don't personally use it but I've heard good things. I just dont feel all that comfortable giving a third party access to my accounts.

I've used Mint for a while, and wouldn't recommend it. I find that it's just as easy to forget about or ignore as checking your bank statements. Since it's mostly automatic, it doesn't have the same effect as sitting down and doing the math to see how much money you have.

Believe me I don't have the problem of "forgetting" to budget. I check all my accounts everyday. Plus I am buying a house so I definitely have to be on top of things. I just don't feel like sitting down with a spreadsheet anymore, it takes too much time. Mint seems to be working well for me.
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Branden

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #12 on: Mar 01, 2014, 05:32 pm »

Believe me I don't have the problem of "forgetting" to budget. I check all my accounts everyday. Plus I am buying a house so I definitely have to be on top of things. I just don't feel like sitting down with a spreadsheet anymore, it takes too much time. Mint seems to be working well for me.

I, sir, am envious of you. It slips my mind way more than it should.
Branden Scott Stewart

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Plabebob

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #13 on: Feb 17, 2016, 04:39 pm »
For any Brits out there I should warn you that Mint is banned by (as far as I know) all banks here. It's in your Ts&Cs that you can't give out log in information to any third parties so you are liable in the event of fraud.

I just use good old excel myself! I tried a whole bunch of apps but in the end it turned out that what I really wanted was the flexibility to set it up exactly how I wanted it.

LexieTaylor

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Re: Personal Budgeting
« Reply #14 on: Feb 18, 2016, 12:11 pm »
I just use good old excel myself! I tried a whole bunch of apps but in the end it turned out that what I really wanted was the flexibility to set it up exactly how I wanted it.

Same here! I am definitely rely on my monthly budget, and I love my excel spreadsheet. I just started with a template and then changed some categories to meet my needs. It definitely helps to make financial decisions when I can see if I'm on track any day of the month.

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