Budget Planning Tools to Consider
There’s no single budget planning tool that’s right for everyone. And if you’re keeping a budget, which is a fantastic way to stay in control of your money, then you want to choose the right tool for you. When you have the best budget planning tool for your needs and style, you’re more likely to create a good budget – and to stick to it as well.
What’s Your Planning Style?
Some people prefer pen and paper while others prefer to get and stay organized digitally. Take a look around your home. How do you plan? What materials do you usually use and are they successful? For example, do you plan your daily task list on a piece of paper or a pocket calendar? Or do you use a software program or a mobile application on your smart phone?
It’s not uncommon for people to embrace both paper and digital planning. You might first create a daily task list on paper and then transfer it to your digital calendar. That’s fine too. What’s important here is to know what generally works for you and to apply that style to your budget planning system.
If you’re a pen and paper person, there are many budget planning tools you can utilize. They include (but are not limited to):
* Templates – You can find an abundance of budget templates online. These templates are printable. This means you can print them out for the year, three hole punch them and keep them in a handy three ring budget binder.
* Handmade – Another method is to simply make a list each month of your budget categories on a piece of lined paper. You might use a composition book to keep your monthly budget organized and accessible.
* Spreadsheet – If you prefer pen and paper but you want the functionality of software, you might utilize a simple spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel. You can create categories and columns to keep your information organized and you can copy the information onto next month’s worksheet to make each month’s budget creation quick and easy. Once your worksheet has been created, print it out, punch it and place it in a three ring budget binder.
We live in a digital age, which means if you prefer digital budget planning then you have an abundance of options.
* Spreadsheet – The same spreadsheet you printed out can be left on your computer and used digitally. In fact, you can create simple equations to calculate your monthly overages and extra cash. This is a simple way to embrace technology.
* Applications – If you utilize a smart phone for most of your planning, you might enjoy one of the many budgeting applications available. These applications allow you to track your budget in real time and enter expenses as they’re incurred.
* Software – Budgeting software programs have been around for about a decade or more. They often involve a bit of a learning curve but can be used to manage your taxes as well. They can also run reports so you can see at a glance where you are often over or under budget.
The most important consideration is following through. Find a budget planning tool that is not only easy for you to set up but is also one that you’ll use every day. A budget only works if you use it.
On a Final Note I find it easier to think of my budget as my tax write off plan, in other words if I keep excellent records of my budget and expenses I have an easier time during tax season.
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