Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to finding Family Budgeting Tools that work well for each individual household. So, I have shared some of my favorites to help get your family budgeting on track.
As a busy parent with a mile-long to-do list, I’m sure making and keeping a budget probably isn’t always going to be a priority.
But, what if I told you there are a handful of amazing tools available to you for free that can help you stay on track with your budget?
These 10 awesome family budgeting tools are the best way to make and keep a budget – even if you don’t have the extra time to dedicate to budgeting.
Why Do You Need a Budget?
Not everyone understands the necessity of budgeting… but making a budget is one of the best ways to reduce your spending, get rid of debt, and increase your family’s savings.
Why is that, you may be wondering? That is because creating a budget forces you to take a long hard look at your family’s spending each month…it kinda slaps you in the face with the reality of your situation too.
With a budget, you can easily see how much income you have, how much you’re spending, and whether those two numbers reconcile (jive with each other). If your family regularly spends more money than you make, you’ll be digging yourself deeper and deeper into debt, so it’s just plain good to know either way what exact numbers you’re looking at.
Ask any financial expert out there… Using a budget is a tried-and-true method for helping you get a handle on your family’s finances. Creating a budget will help you clearly see where you are spending your money, allowing you to pinpoint areas you can cut back to help reduce your reliance on debt and increase your family’s savings.
If you’re like me, “pinpointing” those areas can be kind of a downer… I already knew I have a Diet Dr Pepper addiction and looking at those actual numbers really tell me just how out of control it can be sometimes.
Why Should I Use Family Budgeting Tools?
The biggest reason I recommend you use these family budgeting tools is that they will make budgeting easier in general. From creating your first family budget to helping you track your spending, these budgeting tools will make sure you stick to your budget and help you easily analyze your expenses from month to month.
While this list features a variety of family budgeting tools, there’s no need for you to use every single one of these tools to keep track of your budget. Find the tools that appeal to you and your family (or the ones that even apply to your unique situation) to ensure you make the most of the features available.
Family Budgeting Tools to Start a Budget
If you’re just getting started, finding the right tools to help you set up your budget is essential. When you’re starting to outline your budget, these tools will help you create a comprehensive budget plan to begin your budgeting journey.
- Bank statements. The best way to see where your family spends their money is to take a look at your past bank statements (or credit card statements if that is how you do your spending). By having these statements on hand, you begin estimating the amount of money you’ll need to set for each category. Once you know this you’ll have a better idea on where you can begin cutting back on your spending. So, before you start setting up your budget, make sure to have past bank/credit card statements on hand to help you create your budget plan.
- Pen and paper. While budgeting apps and software are a great way to help you stay organized and get started with a budget, using a pen and paper to help you get organized is a great way to start… but then again I’m a little “old school” and love having paper in my hand. Before you can even think about creating a budget, it’s a good idea to take the time to track all your expenses. Start by making a list of your regular expenses, like your mortgage payment and car payment. Then, begin narrowing down your list of expenses to include irregular expenses, like dining out, and monthly expenses with irregular payments, like your electricity bill.
- Spreadsheet. To create a custom budget for your family, you could use a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets, to make your family budget. These free tools are perfect for anyone who is already familiar with the programs and wants to create a budget that is completely customizable from the very beginning.
- Budgeting app. If you would rather have an automated budgeting system, consider using a budgeting app to help you create and stick to your budget. Apps like Mint and You Need a Budget will allow you to connect your bank account to the app, giving you the opportunity to easily track your spending without the need to input each purchase.
Best Budgeting Tools for Sticking to Your Budget
Creating your family budget is just the beginning. Once you finish your budget, you have to stick to it!
That means keeping track of your spending on a regular basis to make sure you don’t go over budget as you go through the month.
These family budgeting tools are a great way to help you stay on track as you use your budget each month:
- Your bank. Let your bank help you stay on track by setting up account alerts that let you know when you’re spending too much. Most banks will allow you to set an alert when your checking account dips below a certain threshold. When your bank account goes below this amount, you’ll receive a text or email so you never have to worry about overdrawing your account. Your bank may also allow to set alerts when you spend more than a set amount in one transaction. These alerts are great for reminding you to track your large purchases so you don’t go over budget.
- Envelopes. A cash budgeting system is a great way to keep track of your spending each month. When using a cash budget, envelopes make it easy to separate your cash into your various budgeting categories. Just allocate the correct amount of money to each envelop and when the money is gone, you can’t spend any more on that budgeting category.
- Goodbudget. If you like the idea of a cash budgeting system, but would rather take a digital approach to managing your family’s money, Goodbudget is a great choice. The app allows you to use envelopes to allocate your monthly spending without the need to withdraw cash every month.
- Payment reminders. Missing payments on your bills can cost you tons of money in late fees (not to mention it can ding your credit score costing you more in higher interest rates later on). Make sure you don’t have to worry about missing a payment by setting up reminders in your budgeting software. Your budgeting software should have an option to set up alerts through email or text when you have an upcoming bill due. If you’re using your own personalized spreadsheet, consider setting alerts on your phone to remind you of upcoming due dates so you never miss a payment again.
- PocketGuard. Knowing how much money you have left to spend each month is one of the most difficult parts of sticking to your budget. With Pocketguard, you can easily see how much money you have to spend after all your bills are paid. The app will help you create a budget or simply keep track of your spending so you know exactly how much money is in your pocket at any time during the month.
- Budgeting journal. Are you a fan of journaling in your daily life? Consider using a budgeting journal to stay on track each month. Budgeting journals can help you manually track your spending with the included budgeting pages, but you can also set your own budgeting goals, keep track of your debt payments, track your savings, and keep a list of your monthly bills all in one place. You can even store your receipts and paper bills inside the journal so you have them on hand when you need to reconcile your budget at the end of the month.
Well, these are really all the budgeting tools that I can think of to share and help get you and your family going on the road towards your own financial freedom.
Remember that they are all just suggestions and to make sure to pick and implement whichever ones that are actually going to fit your particular needs…and if you pick one and don’t like, try another… just keep trying until you find your financial groove.
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If you would like to check out my entire Budgeting section, go here.
Here are several of my other posts to get your financially savvy juices flowing:
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