I used “spending plan” in order to get you to at least read the first couple of sentences. The reality is that I am going to discuss a budget for personal finances. If you really want to get off on the right foot financially this year, it will require working with a budget. The good news is that you do not need to know how to work an Excel spreadsheet or double entry ledgers. There are several tools that make it simple
I turned to Nerdwallet for information on some free resources that work on a variety of phones and tablets. For those wishing to avoid electronic devices, a simple sheet of paper listing income and monthly expenses will work. The best rated electronic resource is Mint.
Mint has been around for some time, and the company takes the top spot here for a few reasons: The app automatically updates and categorizes transactions, creating a picture of spending in real time. Users can add their own categories, track bills, split ATM transactions into the purchases made with that cash, and set budgets that alert you when they start to top out.
PocketGuard boils budgeting down to how much one has for spending. It crunches the numbers to show how much money is available after accounting for bills, spending and savings goal contributions. All users can view how much money is left “in their pocket” for the day, week or month. Those who want to dial down farther can track certain categories of spending — like groceries, clothing or eating out.
Nerdwallet also has a number of tools available for debt work, banking, savings and other financial matters. But the only good tool is the one that you use. Right now is a good time to begin. You can make it happen.