Like any life skill, financial literacy and the knowledge of various financial skills are acquired over time with practice. One financial skill necessary to conquer on your way to financial literacy is creating and following a budget. Budgeting tools can help you create a personal finance plan that works for you, but how do you get started? You don’t want to begin by paying money to learn how to save money. That’s just counterproductive! We’ve pulled together the top 5 finance tool sites to help you achieve your money plan goals.
The EveryDollar budgeting app is a personal finance tool that simplifies the process of saving. Enter your income, allocate where each dollar goes (hence the catchy name), and enter how much you spent to see if you lived up to your budgeting plan. The major downside about EveryDollar is that you can’t connect your bank to the app unless you upgrade to the premium paid version starting at $60 for three months, so you have to enter all of your purchases manually. However, manually entering how much you spend can make you more conscious of exactly where your money is going.
Mint is a fantastic finance tool because it allows you to connect all of your accounts in one place. Unlike EveryDollar, you can connect your bank accounts and even your investment accounts to the app. You get an excellent overview of your finances with Mint and can spend and save accordingly. Mint also has 24/7 free credit score checks as an added perk. The classic version of Mint can be upgraded to an ad-free version at only $1 per month or the premium version at $5 per month for more detailed help with managing subscriptions and tracking trends.
NerdWallet offers a free budget calculator that can accompany whatever budgeting app or spreadsheet you use. Simply type in your monthly income, and NerdWallet automatically breaks down how much you should spend and save. Follow the 50/30/20 budget rule, distributing 50% of your income to necessities, 30% into wants, and 20% into savings. Becoming a NerdWallet member is free for tracking spending.
There’s nothing wrong with being a little old-school regarding your financial planning. Google sheets is a spreadsheet tool that makes tracking your spending straightforward. If you’ve been a long-time fan of Excel, consider switching over to Google Sheets. Excel documents can be converted to Google Sheets documents with just a button click. Also, since it’s a part of the Google family, you can easily connect and transfer data over to Google Docs, Slides, and other extensions. Google Sheets is entirely free for personal use.
Goodbudget is a budgeting app for beginners. This free tool gives you 20 “envelopes” to separate your paycheck. In this way, users can visualize exactly where their money is going. Rather than having broad categories, users can get creative with their envelopes. Enjoy a weekly coffee out? You can budget for that with Goodbudget. Goodbudget also offers unlimited envelopes and unlimited accounts.
See Which Works for You
Personal finance is personal, so find what tools and resources work for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these financial tools. You may find what works for someone else doesn’t work for you.