Hubby and I spent a few hours one afternoon this past week working on a budget program. We've sat down before to hash out a budget (one of the most intimidating things I've done) and have always scribbled it out. I am a pen and paper kind of girl. I like to see it. However, that hasn't been working for us lately. For starters, I spilled coffee grounds on my notebook. Secondly, our living situation has changed since we made last budget (hello, cross-country move). Finally, I was feeling like a failure with the whole thing. I like to be able to review and read the budget frequently, and that wasn't happening. Our life had some drastic changes, and we needed to re-visit where our money is going. After the last few months of loosely watching our finances, we decided to take a closer look.
I've read a few of Dave Ramsey's books and really like his outlook on money. Reading The Total Money Makeover opened my eyes. It showed me how I could make a plan and take control of our finances. It gave me some tools and assisted in making a budget and sticking to it less intimidating. Plus, it helps that I know several people that have used it to get out of debt successfully. And I need all the encouragement I can get. Eight years of college loans (thank you expensive professional degree) plus hubby's four (or was it five?) years add up quickly...and that's just the beginning.
Recently, I have heard about YNAB.com. (You Need A Budget) A family member told me about it, plus I've seen the name mentioned in other web articles. It has great reviews. In short, its personal budget software you can download and tweak it to fir your needs. We decided to download the free trial (7 days worth) and give it a go. I feel like I need to move beyond pen and paper. I am putting on my big girl panties, so to speak. I'll give you an update once I have used it enough to form an opinion. I sincerely hope it works for us. We used many of Dave Ramsey's principles and his tool Gazelle Budget Lite to help us visualize the pieces of the pie.
Do any of you use budget software? Any tricks that you swear by? I like the cash/envelope system, but find it difficult to juggle. It seems hubby has the envelopes and I'm the one at the grocery store, or we don't make it to the bank and use the debit card for three days. They we aren't sure how much money to withdrawal. I know these are just excuses, but its the truth! I can't seem to find a good balance. Let me know what works for you!