Ok, so its been over a week since I tried YNAB (you need a budget). (read about the introduction here.) And, honestly, I am disappointed. You see, the free trial was to last one week, however, I didn't get a chance to check back in. I spent a few hours setting up the budget in the program. My plan was to check in again in a few days and monitor our spending. But life happened, and the seventh(or eighth) day came and YNAB would not allow me to look at my previously made budget without purchasing the software. All my work was lost. I was mad and frustrated. I didn't look at our bank account for almost two weeks. I didn't want to face it. Yes, I realize this is silly, but hey, its the truth. I'm not ready to commit 60 dollars to a download I'm still iffy about. So I haven't. But I have returned to my senses and looked at my bank account again. I revisited Dave Ramsey's online budget tool, used an old fashion calculator, paper, and pen, and re-wrote our budget. I found it oddly satisfying.
I think YNAB could be helpful, just not for my needs. I was able to import the data from my checking account directly into the software. I then assigned categories to each expenditure. YNAB allowed me to view how my spending compared to the budget I set up. It was easy to see where the money went. I recommend it for those who feel they need help identifying who gets their money. I, on the other hand, am well aware where my money goes. I am a planner, so I want the plan on paper as to how I am going to spend the necessary money. Once all my bills are paid, I want to know how much free money I have left to apply elsewhere; like paying off debt. For this reason, I like the budgeting tool by Dave Ramsey.
With Gazelle Budget Lite, I can plug in my income and the fields are pre-populated with the recommended numbers for each expense. I can then change the fields to reflect what I actually spend, or need to budget. It is easy to see if each category falls within the recommended range. The old fashioned person that I am, then writes all of this down in my notebook so I can refer to it as often as I want to. I also usually write out the subcategories and further breakdown the budget. For example, in transportation, I also write out the amount to budget for tags, taxes, oil changes, repairs, gas, and insurance. Overkill? Maybe, but I want to be sure I don't forget anything and have a 500 dollar surprise later.
So have any of you tried these or other budget tools? Any questions?