The Best Budgeting Tools | Giftie Etcetera: The Best Budgeting Tools

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Best Budgeting Tools

Most people don't have the proper tools for budgeting. Having less-than-superior tools can make it hard to keep track of what is spent every month. What are the proper tools?

Surface Pro 3, budget, budgeting

Mason Jar

I like this big mason jar for receipts. It's clear, so I cannot ignore that I haven't processed them yet.

Budget Application

I have an app that works well for me (Spending Tracker) on my Surface Pro 3. The key, for me, is very simple-to-use budgeting programs (or I don't use them) and a fun, portable laptop.


Now, if you are a Loyal Reader, you know that I used to use pen and paper to budget and that I almost always prefer writing. So why the technological solution?

Well, first, math.

I like the computer to do the math for me. Ironically, I'm excellent at algebra and trig, and horrible at arithmetic.

Second, I prefer the graphs that computers can do over the thousand pieces of paper for discerning how I am spending my money.

Third, I don't have to file thousands of pieces of paper! My Surface keeps track of the numbers for me.

The most important reason that I don't write my budget in my planner, though, is because I don't need to make decisions on the front end (those are made at a meeting with my husband) and I don't need to remember the information. If I did, I would use paper. I only need the running tally of the number, which the computer communicates quite well.

I am a big fan of a paper planner. But, sometimes, another tool is better. 

For budgets, try a glass jar and a great laptop.



Geertrude said...

After reading a lot of planning blogs using paper for budgets and financials, I tried to use paper too. For a week.
And then I ran back to my trusted tools: a laptop and spreadsheets. I collect and store receipts in my purse and process them when I clean it out - or I add them to the "inbox" in my cupboard, where I also keep our business bills and other mail until I process them.
I know spreadsheets (I use OpenOffice - it's free) seem intimidating, but to me the one big advantage over apps (apart from privacy issues) is that it's fully costumizable. I can change, simplify or extend them just the way I like. Got to love that ;-)

Giftie Etcetera said...

Geertrude, yep! I really believe in paper, but for this task, it just is difficult to use.

Jill O. said...

Thank you for this app recommendation! I am loving your posts about the Surface. I'm still figuring out all I'm able to do with mine. :)

Anonymous said...

We use YNAB (You Need A Budget). It has completely changed our approach to money. Even if you don't want to use their software, I would highly recommend their YouTube videos.

Giftie Etcetera said...


I try to do tech posts on Saturdays (in case you haven't noticed yet).

Momshomerun said...

The mason jar is my favorite. It's nice and low tech!

KariP said...

Actual budgeting on Excel spreadsheet. Somehow, when dealing with finances, I think better on the computer. Maybe because I don't have to do all the repetitive arithmetic. Then daily receipts in my planner's Inbox for processing. Ive used Splash Money (phone app) for years, to handle my register. For me, this is the one system that doesn't need changing.

Amanda said...

Love the mason jar idea. I am slightly obsessed with them--even named my son after them!