If household expenses seem to pile up each month out of nowhere and you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, it’s time to create a budget. Many consumers used to rely on financial planners and other professionals in order to get their finances in order, but today’s array of free online tools can save you money. Just as you would use real estate listings sites such as Homesales real estate to search for a home, you could now use personal finance sites to get your budget in check. These can help you with a number of tasks, from monitoring your credit rating to tracking expenses, to create a more sustainable household budget.
Household Budgeting Programs
There are numerous websites out there dedicated to helping individual consumers develop and track their personal budgets. One option is PersonalCapital, which helps you set up a working budget, track your purchases, and monitor investments. You can choose to link your financial accounts to their tracking service, giving you a clear idea of investment performance and where your money is going. This can help you pick up on trends and adjust your budget accordingly. Another option is Mint, which has swiftly become one of the most popular personal finance tools on the internet. It’s easy to use, allowing you to link your checking, savings, and credit card accounts to get a visual breakdown of how you spend your money.
Another tool that uses a visual element to help you stick to a budget is MVelopes Personal. This simulates the act of putting money from your monthly pay into different envelopes. One envelope might be allocated to your current mortgage, one to your savings account, and one to a vacation or holiday home fund. That way, when you’re ready to find Perth real estate or pay for a getaway in Barbados, you’ll have a visual indicator of just how much money you’ve allocated to each expense.
Tools for Tracking Credit
Although you may not think about credit playing into your budget preparations, your credit rating is an important indicator of your overall financial health. You can gain access to an annual free credit report in the United States at AnnualCreditReport, with other countries offering similar services. Be sure to look your reports over for any errors, to improve your rating and keep your financial health on track. Another credit tracking service is CreditKarma, which offers free monthly updates on your credit status and advice on how to improve your score.
You may or may not be a fan of accounting, but it can be useful to track your finances using programs like Microsoft Excel. This is particularly useful if you’re thinking about starting up a small business or if you have more complicated expenses. With free templates online, you can input your expenses into a form that has already been set up for you, so you don’t need to be an Excel expert to stay on top of your budgeting. There are specific templates designed for business, personal, and even wedding budgeting. A service called Mactopia provides templates for Macintosh computers, allowing you to find something compatible to your needs.
With the array of online financial tracking tools, consumers are now able to stay on top of their budgeting and personal finance more easily. This gives you greater purchasing power in the future and can protect you from unexpected setbacks.
What are your favorite tips/templates that you use for your household budget?