Making a budget and following it are the best things you can do for yourself financially this year. I just got back in the budgeting game recently. I got tired of wasting money and not making progress on my dreams. If you are in the midst of a divorce or other family case, a budget may be a critical part of your rebuilding process. This time around I am skipping the pen and paper method. I signed up with EveryDollar, an online budgeting program and app.
EveryDollar is a Dave Ramsey product. The concept is that you need to account for every dollar that comes in each month. When you set up your budget, you list all your income for the month and all your expenses. EveryDollar automatically totals all budget categories as you go along so you can see what you have left to budget. That feature is a huge plus compared to a paper budget.
Users can set categories and specific items in each category. For example, under “Transportation” a user might have items for gasoline, oil changes, maintenance and car payments. As you pay expenses through the month, you add them to the items and you can see as you go how much you have left.
Free or Paid Version?
There is a free version of this program that would be perfectly adequate for a family that does not have many transactions. In the free version users enter their transactions into the online program or the app. I opted to pay the $99 per year to have my transactions imported directly from my bank. New transactions pop up and all I have to do is slide them into the correct category. There is a little bit of processing time between the time of the transaction and the time it clears the bank. If you are one of those hyper-organized people, you might actually prefer the free version because you can enter the transaction right away. (Users of the paid version can enter the transaction right away and then delete the one that comes from the bank later.)
My Favorite Features of this Budget
I have two favorite parts of this program. The first is that you can turn any budget item into a fund. A fund will carryover the amounts from month to month. I was looking to budget some items on a yearly basis and this works perfectly for that. My other favorite part is the addictive-ness of it. This app has taken the human brain’s tendency to get obsessed over things like slot machines, video games and our phones and turned it to good. This is my second month using the program and I am still excited to manage my transactions.
EveryDollar is not the only budgeting app to be sure. Other people are just as excited about YouNeedABudget.com and mint.com. Whichever program you use, or if you decide to go with pen and paper, the important part is to do it and stick with it!