Do You Need a Budget?
Software to Help You Budget
How you keep your budget is a personal choice. Some people like to keep track of their spending on paper, while others prefer to do it on the computer. If you prefer a keyboard to a pencil, there are dozens of software programs especially designed to help with home budgets. Some good ones are listed here:
If you need some ideas for how to save, pick up a copy of 1,001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses. Written by Jonathan D. Pond, it was published in 1992 by Dell Books and is available on Amazon.com.
Organizitall Budgeting System
Home Finances (an Excel spreadsheet)
Money Counts Personal
Quicken for Windows
A good software program might make it easier for you to set up a budget, but the only way to make your budget work for you is to control spending.
If you've been used to buying what you want whenever you want it, cutting back on or eliminating expenses might be quite difficult. Try to get yourself into a savings mindset, where figuring out how you'll reduce or eliminate expenses is something you do every time you pull out your wallet, checkbook, or credit card.
Ask yourself if you really need to buy whatever it is you're about to pay for. Obviously, if it's your mortgage bill, you'll need to write the check. If it's a new pair of shoes or a blouse, however, you might be able to tuck your checkbook back into your pocket and head home without the shoes or blouse, but with that much more money in your account.
And don't give up on your budget. You spending habits aren't the same every month, so you'll need to keep track of your expenses for several years to really get a clear picture of your spending over the long term.
More on: Family Finances
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.