Monday, May 12, 2014

The Best Budgeting Tools You Need To Be Using

A budget is more than just another headache that eats up your spare time. Budgets help you to live within your means, save for the future, and pay down your debt. Of course, building a budget isn’t always easy. If math and organization aren’t your strong suits, here are 4 budgeting tools you need to be using.

Automatic Savings Deposits


Automatic deposits into your savings account can go a long way toward helping you stay on budget. If the money goes directly into savings, it limits the temptation to view it as disposable income. Most banks provide you with options to designate a fixed amount or percentage of direct deposits to be diverted into savings. If you don’t get direct deposits, you can typically set up a transfer from checking into savings for a fixed amount on a fixed day. 

Credit Card Repayment Calculators


Credit cards make it easy to buy now and fret later. The more credit cards you have, the more fretting you’re likely to do in the long run. Abakhan & Associates Inc., a company that assists with debt consolidation in Vernon, recommends consolidating credit card debt from higher interest cards onto lower interest cards. A repayment calculator shows you how long it will take to pay off the consolidated debt, but you can also use them to compare how much you’ll pay if you leave balances on the higher interest cards. 

Mint.com


Mint.com is a very useful tool for those who go bleary eyed at a page full of numbers. It’s free, online budgeting tool provided by the makers of Quickbooks. It’s visually based, defaulting to charts, and brings most of your financial information together in a single place. In additional to allowing you to track your available money over time, it also lets you set up reminders about bills, track investments and set goals for future purchases. 

BillCutterz


Billcutterz is a money management tool that helps you save money. What you do is send them your monthly bills and they will contact your providers and negotiate a large discount without you having to sacrifice your service or switching providers potentially saving you hundreds a year. 

Wave


If you are looking for an app designed for small businesses and freelancers but also has a personal fiance section Wave may be the answer. They also have an accounting portion that works great if you want details about your finances. Wave connects your online accounts such as mint and manilla and downloads your transactions. The app will learn your habits and automatically categorize your transactions so you don't have to. 

BudgetPulse


BudgetPulse doesn't make you give them your banking account information for tracking, they let users manually enter or import banking data from their files. Using social media they let you post your financial goals and have friends and family help you meet those goals through Paypal. 

Software


If the idea of linking all of your financial data to a web-based application makes you nervous, you can also invest in budgeting software to use at home. Some of the best paid software options are Quicken Starter Edition and AceMoney. If paid software isn’t feasible, free software options include Buddi and AceMoney Lite. Free software often comes with limited features, but is far preferable to having no budgeting tools.

As with other tools, budgeting tools take some work to set up initially. For example, you need to link accounts, enter transactions, or set up categories. Over the long haul, however, they simplify your life and help you to take control of your finances.

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