It’s crucial to know how much you earn and how much you spend if you want to take control of your finances.
You will get a monthly picture of your cash flow if you take the time to jot down your expenses and revenues. Creating a budget not only gives you more control and knowledge over your finances, but it can also assist you in reaching particular financial goals, such as buying your first house.
There is a budgeting tool out there that can help you with your financial needs. Select, evaluate and test a variety of free budgeting programs to help you get started. We considered three sorts of budgeting tools when determining our top five: spreadsheets, desktop applications, and smartphone apps.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy to budgeting, as seen by the order in which we ranked them. At the end of the day, it’s critical to choose the finest budgeting tool for you.
Here are some simple and free budgeting tools to keep your spending on track, from old-fashioned ways to the latest apps:
- Pen and paper
- Banking Tools
- SoFi Relay
- Personal Capital
Using an envelope approach, you put money in envelopes that are labeled with important budget areas like food, clothing, and dining out. As a result, it’s simple to determine how much money is available for each type of expenditure.
According to Howard Dvorkin, CPA and chairman of Debt.com, “the envelope approach is an excellent tool for budgeting since it compels people to take control of their expenditures with cash in hand.” When the money in a certain envelope runs out, it means that until the cash is refilled, there will be no further spending in that area.
Pen and Paper
Despite the popularity of budgeting applications and tools, you don’t need anything more than a pen and paper to create a budget. Writing down all of your spending, from monthly bills to tiny luxuries like morning coffee or lunches, is the first step in the budgeting process.
Then, depending on whether you’re spending money for a need or a want, categorize it. After that, sum up your earnings. Prioritize your needs first, and whatever money left over can be used to satisfy your desires.
You’ll need to figure out what changes to make if your spending outnumber your income. Depending on your situation, you may be able to balance your budget by reducing expenses such as dining out or joining a gym.
However, in certain circumstances, you may need to make more significant changes, such as moving to a lower-cost location.
Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your income and expenses in a very customisable way.
“Budgeting spreadsheet templates with formulas, dates, and labels can be downloaded,” explains Dvorkin. “This strategy makes it easy to revise a budget and keep track of income by taking the uncertainty out of budgeting.”
Users can download free budget templates from both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. You can even make your own, however using the programs can be difficult at first.
On its support website for Office products, Microsoft offers free online training classes. On the other hand, YouTube has a plethora of tutorials.
The idea of an envelope currency management system appeals to those who don’t want to carry around real envelopes, but don’t want to deal with the trouble of carrying them about.
User funds virtual envelopes, which are used to track costs and exchange budget information between devices, are instead funded by Goodbudget. 10 normal envelopes, 10 additional envelopes, a year of account history, and access to community help forums are all included in the free edition.
A worksheet might help folks who are building their first budget by removing some of the guesswork. The percentages mentioned in these articles usually reflect how much of your monthly earnings should be spent on each category.
American Consumer Credit Counseling is one group that provides free budgeting worksheets on the internet. Sheets for household budgeting, cost tracking, and budgeting for special requirements are available from the non-profit credit counseling organization.
It’s possible that you can find free budgeting tools on your bank’s website. Customers may track expenses, run spending reports, and export data to spreadsheets or computer applications through banks like Bank of America, Chase, and even local credit unions.
“You don’t have to be a computer whiz to pay your bills,” Miller explains. Banking tools can build spending charts and graphs by paying bills online. “That will provide you with a budget on its own.”
Banks may also provide other financial management tools that aren’t specifically designed for budgeting but can be useful. You might be able to set up automatic savings transfers or receive alerts when your account balances are low, for example.
Another free budgeting app is SoFi Relay. Users can link their accounts, check their balances, and establish spending goals. It makes it simple to review spending by category by aggregating accounts.
Brian Walsh, a licensed financial adviser at SoFi, a personal finance startup, says, “SoFi Relay allows members to comprehend everything they own, owe, and spend from the palm of their hand.”
The app also allows you to see your VantageScore 3.0 credit score and interact with a financial advisor to discuss your financial goals and plans. Users of SoFi Relay are entitled to a free 30-minute consultation with one of the company’s financial advisers.
Budgeting isn’t the only reason to use Personal Capital. The software allows users to review investments and manage retirement accounts in addition to automatically tracking and classifying spending.
“By seeing all of their finances, including their investments, in one spot, users can receive a holistic picture of their money,” says Scott Schleicher, a financial planning specialist group manager and senior financial advisor at Personal Capital, an Empower Company.
People may use the free tool to see their net worth, budget, and track their progress toward their goals, according to him.
Albert can be a fantastic alternative for those who are new to the realm of personal finance because it was designed with millennials and zoomers in mind. The software analyzes users’ spending habits, assists them in creating a budget, and suggests ways to save money.
“Albert is a fantastic tool to use to help you budget, save, and track your expenditure,” says Trina Patel, Albert’s financial advising manager. She explains that the budget interface is an easy method to see a glimpse of your current financial situation.
Despite the fact that the Albert app is completely free, users may get tailored advice for as low as $4 per month.
Without discussing the various free budgeting websites and applications accessible today, no list of free budgeting tools would be complete. Mint is one of the most well-known budgeting apps on the internet and on smartphones, and it is completely free to use.
In order to track and categorize expenditure, customers can connect numerous financial accounts to Mint. It has a bill reminder feature and a payment tracker, as well as a calculator that allows users to see how their actions may affect their progress toward their goals.
Since budgeting allows you to create a spending plan for your money, it ensures that you will always have enough money for the things you need and the things that are important to you. Following a budget or spending plan will also keep you out of debt or help you work your way out of debt if you are currently in debt.