To be successful with managing your personal finances it is important to find tools or a system that works for you. If it seems like a chore, you are likely to not keep it up.
There are a number of tools available ranging from a pad of paper, computer software and other tools.
For some people it may be easier to just use a pad of paper so they can see what they have coming in and going out. This is also helpful for those who don’t have computer knowledge or don’t like using computers.
The “envelope system” was developed by Dave Ramsey. The theory behind this tool is to allocate a certain amount for each category in your budget. Each payday or whatever date you choose, take out an amount in cash for various categories such as groceries, eating out, clothing, entertainment, etc. Label an envelope for each category and put the cash for that area into that envelope. The spending for each category comes out of the correct envelope. Once the envelope is empty, then you are done spending from that category until the envelopes are refilled. Some people take money from another category, but that lessens the amount you can spend in the other category.
There is an online version envelope system called mvelopes that works the same way. It is important to consider if having the actual envelopes and cash would work better for you or if the online version would work for you.
Some of the computer programs are Quicken, mint and others. With these programs you can input your income and expenses. Your spending will be broken down into categories and you can make various charts to track your spending. These programs can also be linked to your bank accounts and investment or retirement accounts to have all of you financial matters in one place.
If you don’t care for these computer programs an excel worksheet may work better for you, such as these. An excel program or paper pad may seem to simple but if it works for you it can work.
When considering personal finance tools, it is important to take into consideration what kind of program would be easy enough to assist you in keeping it up to date. It should be easy for you to update at least weekly so you don’t become overwhelmed and frustrated so you may give up on it.