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How To Find The Best Budgeting Tool For You

How To Find The Best Budgeting Tool For You

There are lots of great budget tools out there.  Some are free budget tools and are available as online tools.  Some will cost you a monthly or one-time fee and are downloadable. Here is some advice on how to find the right one for you.

Finding the Best Budgeting Tool

Search the Internet, a lot

There are millions of different budgeting tools out there. There are so many that do different things, in fact, that it can be difficult to determine which is the best and will work the most effectively for you and your budget. In finding which tool works best for you, decide what you hope to gain from a budgeting tool. Start by reading online reviews of different budgeting tools. A simple Google search will yield millions of results that can help you make an informed decision.

Read Reviews, and often

In your search for the best tool, read customer reviews as much as you read the product descriptions. It is very common that a product will seem great until you read that everyone who has bought it says that it doesn’t do what it claims to. Customer reviews may also lead you to realize what you actually want in a budgeting tool; from reading other’s complaints or praises of products, you may realize that a certain feature is necessary for you. This will only streamline your search. Also, be mindful of what ratings customer’s have given different products. For example, if a product doesn’t have a lot of reviews but has an overall high rating (say, 4.5 out of 5 starts) it is probably still a pretty safe investment. If a product doesn’t have a very good rating, but it has some good individual reviews, you are still better off avoiding it.

Remember that you get what you pay for

how to find a good budget toolDecide how much money you are willing to spend on a budgeting tool right away, and stick to your limit. There are a lot of different options out there that range from free Internet downloads to more costly software to hiring a legitimate financial advisor. Determine what you are willing to spend, if anything before beginning to search and remember that you will most likely get what you pay for. If you decide to use a free online application, it may not work so well or it will solely depend on the amount of effort you put in.

Use what you pay for!

In selecting a budgeting tool, what it comes down to is this; how much will you actually use the tool? If you find a product that you think is really cool and could potentially help you a lot, but it seems confusing and complicated, don’t get it. It makes absolutely no sense to put the effort and money into purchasing and setting up a product if you aren’t going to use it. In products that are overcomplicated, this happens often; people put out the money for all of the bells and whistles but then don’t use them. It would be much smarter to use a simpler, cheaper product that makes sense to you than one that does a million things that you don’t understand.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • MoniqueSeibel August 22, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I have to admit I just created my own budget in Microsoft Word, in a way that makes sense to me. However, I’d be open to searching around a finding a more legitimate budgeting tool, as you recommended. Although, I don’t want to actually spend any money. Therefore, if I can find free and useful software that is the most ideal. I would be willing to put the effort in.

  • Herschy August 22, 2012, 11:38 pm

    This a very complete advice guide for people who are looking for the best way to create budgets.You should do another article about in depth budgeting tools, I think that would be very helpful but you did a very good job with this article.

  • tickayo August 24, 2012, 3:30 am

    Intuit Quicken is a personal finance management tool, with a vast array of features. There are several versions of Quicken and the brand has been extended to include products for healthcare, home businesses, but typically personal or household finance. Best Tool, I ever know….

  • Novasparker August 24, 2012, 1:22 pm

    I use Microsoft Excel for my budgeting needs, but this is merely a convenience for me. I am comfortable in Excel and find it easy to use (plus, it’s free since I have already purchased Office). With that being said, I know that there are plenty of extremely simple to use and inexpensive budgeting software out there. Regardless of the method of software you choose…or even if you choose to go old school and get out the paper and the pen, a budget is the most powerful tool you can use to get your finances in order and keep yourself on track. Get into the habit of writing everything down: your budget, your actual expenditures…everything. And you’ll find yourself well on your way to financial freedom.

  • vida_llevares August 25, 2012, 7:58 pm

    It’s great to know that there are budgeting tools one can use for free. When you want to succeed with your budgeting initiative, you definitely want to get things for free. If you can get it without spending any amount, then get it.

    I also admit that I have been making and monitoring my budget on a self-created tool. Although it already works for me, I will explore the available free online budgeting tools and check if one of them will be more valuable to me.

  • arajoo August 26, 2012, 2:04 am

    I learned “Use what you pay for” in a hard way. I availed a discount coupon for a great traveling destination and forgot to use it. I just burned my hard earned money that easily. The coupon was expired and we did not even experienced the service that we should have used. Always plan and make sure that your plans will go well until the end.

  • dhintaka August 27, 2012, 2:22 am

    Like many even I use Microsoft Excel for my budgeting needs. This is primarily because I don’t want to spend any money on this or one can say ” No Budget ” for this. I think first & foremost we must first make up our mind as to for what purpose we need this tool & do we really want to spend money for that. There are many downloads available which are simple & useful. I agree that rather than picking up something that is very complicated & has multiple features we must pick up that is simple & easy . The point is that we must get into the habit of jotting down all our expenses. Then even a simple notebook becomes handy.

  • iampeebs August 27, 2012, 9:14 pm

    I need to start budgeting again and appreciate all the great advice above. Does anyone know of a good Ipad app for budgeting?

  • Straker August 28, 2012, 5:03 am

    Nowadays, I recommend to search budget tools via Android or iOS devices. They are convenient and most of them are free.

  • iampeebs August 28, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Has anyone come across any good budgeting apps for the Ipad? I really would love to get my budget out of my head and down on something. I find that I use the Ipad much more than my computer and it is much more portable.

  • Jameson August 30, 2012, 2:10 pm

    I think one of the best methods of budgeting is to actually switch to a cash method. You really get a feeling for what it is that you’re spending when you have to fork over cold hard cash. It tends to have a greater psychological impact than the simple swipe of a credit/debit card.

    I sort my cash into budget envelopes that get a preset amount at the start of each pay-period. When the money in that envelope is gone, it’s gone. One of the greatest things that I’ve learned from doing a lot of research online is to actually budget money to go towards frivolous spending. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but the simple impact of spending money on YOU can have a huge benefit in those weeks where you feel like you’re watching every penny. Lately, I’ve been saving up my “me” money so I can make a big purchase. I can’t wait to see how excited I get in the store that day!

  • Ciles September 24, 2012, 5:50 pm

    I used Google Documents to create a budget for my family. We made a spreadsheet with a list of all our bills, when they are due, and then what our income is each paycheck. It’s free and we can share it between our accounts (mine and my husbands) so that we can keep an eye on the budget. When we pay something, we make a notation next to it on the spreadsheet so that we know its been taken care of. So far we have not been able to start saving any extra money but hopefully that will be a next step in our budget!

    I wish we were on a cash system but my husband is a techie and likes all our stuff to be digital!

  • BloggerMB September 26, 2012, 9:15 pm

    I think the most important thing you mentioned is subscribing to various blogs such as this one. There are hundreds of them out there and every little bit of information you can gather will help. Just reading a few blog posts a day will keep you constantly updated with the latest techniques and ideas.

    The fact that free tools are becoming more freely available is also a great help. Thanks for the links to the budget software by the way, I will check them out. I have never really bothered spending that much time with budgeting software, but maybe it’s time to start.

  • GSBryce November 12, 2012, 10:35 pm

    I admit I have put my husband on the cash method and so far he has really controlled his spending. Can you tell who controls the money in our relationship? Haha! I am extremely interested in starting a budget but I am looking for an easy online tool to use, or a spreadsheet type program that I could save to a flash drive. Does anyone have suggestions on their favorite, easy to use program?


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