For years I struggled with setting up and then following a household budget.
From complicated software programs on my PC, to spreadsheets and even Quicken (which worked fine, but was very labor intensive!) I grappled with developing a household budget. My goals were to work with a budget that (a) was realistic, and (b) could be adhered to.
Unfortunately, the result was usually not very good.
I might frantically track my spending for a few months, keeping all of my receipts organized and then dividing them up into predefined categories before totaling up a month’s worth and then adding them to my budget figures for comparison. But, inevitably, I would get busy with other tasks, or focused on the needs of my family, and my budgeting fantasy would once again fade away – along with a missed opportunity to decrease expenses and put aside excess income in an emergency fund or investment vehicle (essential when you’re trying to reduce dependency on revolving credit).
Then I discovered an amazing web-based solution that completely changed everything for me. Called Mint, it’s a free, powerful and reliable budgeting management system that really seems to work for me.
Mint’s strengths include:
- You rarely have to enter information (always a time-consuming nightmare), as the software tracks your spending right from your credit card, chequing, saving and investment accounts for you.
- It’s designed for review and evaluation only, so no one can access it to remove money from a bank account or tamper with your financial life – not even you. It’s that secure.
- It’s supported by most of the major banks and financial institutions in Canada so you can “tie in” all of your financial stuff and then see the results clearly on-screen.
- It’s great at nagging me when a credit card bill is due (“Your XXX credit card bill with a minimum payment of $80 is due on 9/14”, for example) or informing me when I’ve exceeded my budget in a specific category (“In the past 30 days you’ve spent $400 on Home. Usually you spend $155”, for example).
- It displays all of your spending and net income – by category, over time and – right on-screen, clear as day, so I can see (with the help of a pie or bar chart) how my money is being spent monthly.
- It also displays a running total of my cash flow, including how much I have in my investments, my bank accounts and what my current balance is on my credit cards and loans.
Did I mention that Mint does all of this budgeting stuff for free?
No fees, no surprises, no headaches. And no more spreadsheets or complicated budgeting programs. Best of all? I can run a free Mint app on my smartphone (iOS, Windows Mobile or Android) or tablet (iOS, Windows Mobile or Android), as well as my desktop through my favourite web browser. So I can access my essential financial information at any time, anywhere, with one secure password.
If you’ve been eager to start the budgeting process (and who is?), but dread the thought of tracking receipts, accounts, categorization of expenses and other budgeting nightmares, then Mint may be the tool you’ve been dreaming about. It’s has certainly changed my money management habits and I’ll bet it can do the same for you.
If you have a Debt Management issue I am also suggest to visit The Debt Education Centre, where you could find various options to solve debt problems.
Now it is not longer a question how long it will take to pay off your debts.
Oh, did I mention it’s free? Already you’re economizing!
Should you discover that you don’t have the income to pay off your debt, don’t hesitate and contact us. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our debt relief professionals. Together you’ll review your debts and discuss all the opportunities available to you to get out of debt.