Budgeting? Here’s What I Do!

Who here has a budget? Raise your hands!
Who here actually sticks to it every month? Bueller? Anyone?

It’s hard. That’s no joke. You can plan all you want or start with the best intentions and then you fall off the track. Happens to the best of us.

I’ll use myself as an example. Starting at the top of the month, I’d make a spreadsheet that listed all of my bills and a rough estimate of how much I assumed I would spend on other needs throughout the month. That’s a LIST…NOT a budget! That never worked for me; I’d always be way off in my variable categories – groceries, gas, etc. Eventually, I gave up. No plan, just went with it. When I was out of money, I was just out of money. That’s not why I’ve started this blog. I want to be accountable to all of you and SHARE what I know is helping me (or hurting me).

Right now, I’m digging my PearBudget spreadsheets. If you’re like me, I like spreadsheets. I like to see how everything is laid out and I like fiddling with the cells to try out different possibilities. PearBudget has created a very simple interface that explains SO MUCH. It’s free to download, but if you want to use their web based version there is a small cost.

Things I’ve tried & disliked:

  • The old fashioned paper budget – That meant I had to do real math, that was fruitless.
  • A simple Excel spreadsheet –  I didn’t want to program the formulas.
  • Mint.com – I prefer to see the numbers as I go, I don’t want to see summaries AFTER the spending.
  • Payoff – I just did not enjoy this online program.

I’ve also heard really good things about You Need a Budget and PocketSmith!

I’ll keep you posted on how my PearBudget spreadsheet looks by the end of the month, you can bet some solid cash that I’ll be posting a screenshot!

What are some of your favorite budget or money management programs? I’m always on the lookout for new ways to stay on top of things! Share in the comments!

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