Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday: Free Online Check Register & Budget Help

I must admit, keeping our budget up-to-date & checkbook balanced is not one of my strong suits. I don't mean that to sound like I just spend whatever I want & pay no attention to the budget. Actually, I was very detailed about our budget when I first became a stay-at-home mom and tracked every purchase for several months. I've updated the budget now & then since that time, and I always have a mental idea of where I'm at in different categories, but I've always struggled with finding the time/motivation to track it in more detail, to see where we can tweak things.

So yesterday I decided to do something about that. After a quick google search to see what's available (and free), I'm testing out ClearCheckbook.com to see if it will meet my needs. It seems to be pretty cool so far, and does pretty much what I imagine programs like Quicken do, but without all the extra stuff I don't need. I simply enter each transaction & pick what category it belongs to (groceries, gas, etc.) You can also add categories of your own.

Limits can be set for each category (this is where the budgeting help comes in), so the program will keep track of where you're at in your respective spending. If you don't have a budget set up at all, you should do that first so you'll have an idea of what your limits should be.  I suggest simply googling "budget worksheet", there's a zillion of them available and you can look at several and decide what style & content you want. A budget needs to fit YOU and your individualized needs, so that's why I'm not simply sharing my budget worksheet, because it may not be what YOU need.

By the way, I'm not being paid by ClearCheckbook.com, just testing it out on my own. I've only been using it for about a day, so I haven't completely made up by mind yet. :-)

1 comment:

  1. I do the cash envelope system suggested by Dave Ramsey. You tqke out the budgeted amount at the beginning of each month and put it into categories. Mine are grocery, gas, household, gifts, clothing, entertainent, etc. You see instantly how much you have left. I also keep track of how much I save each month that I dont spend. It really helps us stay on track.