My Budget Goals for November & December
These two months are the most expensive months for me and most people. With the holidays, birthdays and traveling it can hit your wallet hard and before you know it, you've spent your entire paycheck in a couple days. Lucky for me I actually work more during December because I'm on winter break which means a slightly bigger paycheck. These are my goals for the next two months to save money and stay on track with my budget:
- Write and publish an eBook to generate passive income
- Work extra hours at current job (especially over winter break)
- Organize and sell unused items (clothes, books, movies, etc)
- Start shopping for holiday gifts early to save money
- Plan budget for each person receiving gifts & stick to it!
Best Budget Tool Online
Budget Simple is an online budget tool. They have a free version (which is what I'm using in my screenshots below) or a pro version (only $4.99). First I'll show you what it looks like, then tell you the features and the differences in pro/free.
- At the top left you can see how much you've budgeted vs. actual amount spent. You can easily add budget items and transactions by clicking the green buttons just below that.
- You can customize and edit each category to fit your needs
- To the right of the green buttons you can view the following pages; Expenses, Income, Combined and Transactions. Expenses is the current page
- In the right column there is a graph showing how much you've spent of your income and how much you have left to spend.
- You can add notes and goals in "November Notes" to keep you on track
- Each category can be edited easily and quickly.
- Next to some categories Budget Simple has tips to save money on that category (see Office Supplies)
Under the reports tab you can see a pie graph of each category or sub category to see how your money is being spent. There are other graphs as well to help you compare your expenses to your income. Pro users can access more reports than free users.
There are two tools; Debt Payoff and Savings Funds.
Debt Payoff allows you to enter each debt (credit card, loan, mortgage, car payment etc) under any name you want. You type in the APR and Starting Balance you owe. After that you will be shown a graph that suggests how often you should make payments based on your goal to have the debt paid off. You can update your goals and change the balance to keep track of how much you still need to pay. GREAT resource for college students and 20-somethings.
Savings Fund works in a similar way to the debt payoff tool. You enter the name of the goal, how much you currently have in savings, how much you want to save, and when you want to save it by. Again you'll be able to track your progress and work your way up to your goal. It's pretty awesome.
Free vs. Pro
Pro users get two major bonuses.
- Budget simple has an iPhone and Android app, but you can only use it with a pro account. If you don't want to pay, just save your receipts and at the end of the day, enter them in on your computer.
- Pro users can connect their bank accounts (very similar to mint.com) which will automatically enter how much you spend and categorize it for you. In my opinion this tool is not helpful. Part of creating a budget means holding yourself accountable. If your banking info is all done for you, there is no reason to check your budget every day, it makes it easy to overspend. If you want a free account that enters your bank info for you, go check out mint.com instead.
The only major advantage to me is the phone app. Regardless, I LOVE this site. It's perfect for what I need and it's well designed to be simple and easy to use.
What tools do you use to plan/track your budget? Let me know below in the comments!