Budgeting software: You Need a Budget

Posted by on March 11, 2017 at 8:48 pm.

When it comes to my budget, the way I typically keep track of my finances is pen and paper. It gets the job done, as long as you use it (I do) and it has suited me well for many years. A few years ago I DID try Quicken. I used it occasionally, but wasn’t married to it and found myself going back to pen and paper. I purchased it last year and… same thing. I wasn’t really impressed with it and stopped using it quickly. What a waste of money… at least for me. Since I rarely waste money, that stung a bit.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a new to me software application titled You Need a Budget and I must say that I’m really enjoying it immensely. I’m currently using the trial (I was actually offered two months for free) and I leaped at the opportunity. I like that I have so much control of how I use this software, of course I do. I keep a tight rein on my finances. You have to if you want to stay on top of things and while you can link to your bank accounts (just like Quicken) I won’t. I never was comfortable with that feature, and while I HAD used it, in the past, with Quicken. I eventually removed that capability.

I must sat the amount of people living paycheck to paycheck is a bit sobering. Sure, the economy definitely is a factor in some instances, but in others? It’s just poor decision making. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck but are continually eating out, perhaps you need to rethink your priorities. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and received a tax refund, but instead of using that money to eliminate some debt (if you have it) you decide to purchase some wants… yeah you might need to rethink your priorities. I’ve met some of these people. I must admit, there lack of taking responsibility and getting aggressive about tackling their debt does leave me puzzled. For me, paying bills as they come (I don’t have debt, just monthly bills) having an emergency fund and being able to survive for several months if something were to happen to me, makes all the sacrifices I have made worth the effort.

My parents were fabulous examples of being a good steward. I’m a Christian and God commands me to do just that. I’m passing on what I’ve learned to my daughter. So yes… she sees me make budgets and adhere to them. She also sees me write down monetary goals, setting aside money for big purchases that I can pay in full, and do what’s needed to meet them.

But back to You Need a Budget… by the way isn’t that a catchy phrase? It’s quite accurate, right? I do like the free webinars that they offer, a lot of what is said isn’t new to me, but you know what? At times, it is nice to be surrounded by others, even virtually, who totally get it when it comes to staying on top of their finances. I’ve watched several of their videos and while they don’t come out and say it, it’s very obvious that credit cards aren’t put on a pedestal to whip out and use often. You know what is? Budgeting, paying bills as they come and saving so you can get to the point where you are able to make large purchases without a credit card. I only used a credit card, briefly, in my early thirties.

4 Comments

  • Mike says:

    I don’t budget or do anything with our bills or accounts. Karen had to deal with all of that when I was gone on the boat in the 1970s. She did so well at it that she just kept on with it after that. I think that, in all the time we’ve been married, she’s missed paying one bill — and that was to Bonneville Power in Idaho. Somehow or another the bill had fallen behind the couch.

    While, at one time, we had more credit card debt that we should have, these days we don’t have any. However, we do use a credit card for almost all of our purchases, but we pay it off, every month. The way we use it, we earn several hundred dollars in the rewards program every year which we usually take in cash for use around the holidays. When we travel, we don’t carry an excess of cash. Years ago, we used to get travelers checks, but for quite a long while now, we have used our debit card instead. We’ll do some regular grocery shopping at a Walmart and then, when we pay, we’ll use the debit card and select the option for getting some cash.

    The only debt we have is for bedroom furniture that we bought a couple of years ago. The interest rate is 0% so long as we keep up with payments. We’re paying extra on it every month, since I’m working. We’ve always paid things off early. We had a 15 year long for our motorhome, but paid that off 7 years early, using earnings from my contracting job.

    It’s got to be hard for some people to make ends meet these days. A lot of people have been unable to find full time jobs and have had to settle for whatever they can find in part-time work. With the high cost of housing in many places, many have had to go back home and live with their parents. Our oldest daughter and her husband are living with his mom, just down the road from us. She’s been working part time at the library on the bookmobile, but landed a full time job after the kids’ librarian got fired (drug use). [It’s not been announced yet so shhhh.]
    Mike recently posted..Alternative Facts

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    Opal Reply:

    @Mike, My mom handled the finances for the same reason. She was a stay at home mom until my brother and I were in our teens and then she went back to school and received her nursing degree. She’s still working. In their case, their avoidance of credit cards, I believe, had a lot to do with how poor their childhood was. They both had told me stories about that, but they survived and made it. My mom had 16 brothers and sisters (two have died in the past eight years) and her dad was a sharecropper. My father’s dad did warehouse type work and they took on three additional children and raised as their own.

    Yes, this economy has put people in some challenging positions. I felt the effects of that a few years ago. I work inside the home, but picked up additional work outside the home. It would help me reach some of my long-term goals a bit faster, after a few years I lost the job. IT was for a faith based company and they simply weren’t getting the donations that they used too. An acquaintance lost her job for similar reasons. Different company, different state, but the economy hit so many businesses hard. It didn’t effect me too badly since I’d been squirreling away for years and I was still working from home, but some of the people who did lose their job at that place were in tears. My parents had an impact with the squirreling, others and reading The Millionaire Next Door. Still, depending on what you’re doing, it can be hard or impossible to make it work and even for those wanting to find another job to bring in additional income that was choosing to be impossible, in many cases. I’m hoping we continue to see an upturn in our economy. It is looking promising!

    Recently, I picked up additional work outside the home. I have a few long-term goals that I want to achieve and the best solution (at least for me) was to look for outside work and so I got active and started applying and finally landed a job. I work nights, four days a week. The additional income has helped out significantly, the benefits are amazing, and more importantly it has helped me move forwards with my goals, now rather than a few years from now. That position is only temporary, perhaps two years.

    Oh I definitely use my debit card… a lot. It works the same as cash and I really dislike carrying cash with me. I also receive the same protection as a credit card. Interesting what you mentioned about the credit cards, early last evening I had told my daughter that I can’t say I would not ever use a credit card again, but I mentioned if I did, I would payoff the balance within the grace period, just like I had before. I do remember the rewards, at least, for that card weren’t appealing so there was really no reason for me to hold onto that.

    I’ll definitely keep your daughter and family in my prayers. That has to be a blessing for them. 🙂

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  • Jennifer says:

    Certainly something I could improve
    I’ve done a lot of eating from your pantry blog posts but I might start doing eating vegan for $30 per week posts too. I think it will make me more accountable
    Jennifer recently posted..Tabouli Mediterranean Snack Bar & Cafe

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    Opal Reply:

    @Jennifer, Budgeting is great. If you haven’t read The Millionaire Next Door, check it out! I read that in my early thirties. Those that are successful aren’t the ones that we see in the spotlight. They’re not living that flamboyant lifestyle, true success are typically the ‘quiet millionaires’ and many of them got that way by… budgeting, working hard and making smart choices. Anytime I need a reminder, I pick up that book, surround myself with like minded folk or check out a few forums that preach the importance of budgeting, sacrifice and making wise decisions.

    I’ll have to check out your posts. I’m going to tweak a few categories since I went over in three places. The money was there, but I just had it assigned to other areas. I went under the amount by a lot, so I just assigned that money a new home. I do like the laser focus approach, it’s even more detailed than my pen and paper approach which is surprising. 🙂 So, yes… I most likely will be purchasing this after my two months has passed. The only way I wouldn’t if I saw something similar that was available offline.
    Opal recently posted..Long term vacation planning, Europe or…?

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