One reason that debt gets out of control for so many people is that 70% of Americans don’t have a budget — or at least not a realistic budget that they can live with.
To become a better saver and learn to budget properly, try using the online tools available at www.mint.com, www.budgettracker.com, or www.budgetpulse.com.
I like all three of these services because they are free, very easy to use, and flexible enough to be used by anyone — regardless of whether you are paid weekly, twice a month, or (like in your case), monthly.
Some Highlights of Mint.com, BudgetTracker.com and BudgetPulse.com
Mint.com helps you put all your accounts in one place, quickly identify areas where you are spending (or perhaps over-spending), as well as see where you can instantly start saving money. Your information is categorized and updated automatically each day, and also presented to you via simple, yet powerfully visual graphs and images that summarize your finances.
As mentioned, another really good service is budgettracker.com, which, among other things, tracks your bills and sends you email alerts and reminders about when they’re due.
Budgetpulse.com has several neat features too, one of which is that it allows you to create goals, and share them with family and friends. Your family members can even track your progress and make financial donations to you – helping you to reach your goals.
Budgeting Tips That Work For Anyone
No matter which online budget planning software you use – or even if you just break out some pencil and paper to get the job done – follow a few tips to ensure your success and help you stick to your budget.
For starters, create a budget that is not overly strict. Don’t manage your finances in such a way that you feel deprived or that your entire budget is out of whack if you spend $1.87 more than you intended.
Start by listing your necessities – housing, food, utilities and so on. If you have money left over, then budget a modest amount for the occasional luxury – like dinner out once a month, or trips to the hair salon or manicurist. Set reasonable limits on these latter categories, but don’t feel compelled to completely slash them from your budget. That way, you’ll be able to stick with your budget over the long haul.
In the end, a realistic budget you can live with will give you more cash flow, and allow you to pay off debt more quickly.