Choosing your budgeting tools is one of the most exciting parts of budgeting. This is where you begin to fit your budgeting to your style.
There are so many different types of budgeting tools to choose from. Before picking out the types of tools that would be best for you, take a step back and think about your daily life.
Do you find yourself on the computer often? If so, what types of things are you doing on the computer? Do you use the computer just for games and chatting or do you also use the computer for emailing, school work, or for your job? What is your comfort level with the computer?
Now that you’ve begun to think about the tools in your daily life, think about your comfort level with those tools. Is using the computer a chore to you? Or, do you enjoy the computer? This could be a big hint as to which tool you should use.
Some of the most common budgeting tools include Computer programs, Computer or Phone Apps, Spreadsheets, Printables, and Envelopes for money storage.
These tools are not to be mixed up with the budgeting system you chose (Cash or Digital). You can absolutely mix and match the systems with any type of tool. For example, you can create digital envelopes or tangible envelopes. You can also use an all cash banking method but use a digital tool to track your finances. Or on the flip side, you could use a hand written register to balance your electronic funds.
With any tool you choose, make sure that the tool fits your lifestyle and that it will not cause you to go out of your way to use it.
Still haven’t quite decided on your tool of choice? Consider your phone usage. Do you have a smart phone? If so, do you use your phone for mobile banking currently? Do you use an app to track your grocery list? If so, an app may be a great option for you since it will fit in well with your routines.
Not comfortable with apps or computers? A handwritten register or a printable may be the best option for you.
Once you decide which tool or tools you want to use, use them for a few months. If you find the tool annoying or too time consuming, feel free to switch to another tool. The point of budgeting is to make your life easier, not harder.
Join me in Part 4 as we talk about how to put it all together. I will go into depth on all of the different budgeting directions, systems, and tools.