There are a million budgeting apps out there, and someone has recommended each and every one of them to me. Well, maybe that’s a tiny bit of hyperbole — but close! My good friend Andrea over at A Measured Life uses Mint, and is one of many frugal people that have suggested it. There are also a few Dave Ramsey style envelope apps out there that people swear by, one of which I tinkered with, Mvelopes. Over the course of the years I’ve given another handful a go, both PC and mobile apps.
Why have I been through so many apps, you may ask? For the simple reason that none of them were quite “right”. By that I don’t mean that the apps were inherently flawed, but simply that they didn’t quite mesh with the way it felt comfortable to budget for us. Still, for many years I kept trying, figuring the experts making these apps surely knew more than I did about how we should be keeping a budget. And hey, maybe they do! But the fact is, trying to mold my budgeting style to fit into an app that wasn’t quite right… wasn’t quite working. And the result was that budgeting wasn’t getting done. Periodically I would find a new app, start out with grand delcarations of diligence… and after a few weeks, it would be all but forgotten about.
I found this terribly frustrating, since the first piece of advice for someone looking to get their finances and spending under control is always “Make a budget!” Although it should probably be “FOLLOW a budget!” I had no trouble making them. Following was a whole other matter. I continued this on again, off again budgeting app war with myself for some time. It never got any less frustrating, nor did it get any more successful.
A couple of weeks ago I was playing on Pinterest, like I do, and came across someone else’s budgeting spreadsheet. My first thought was “Hey, I haven’t tried this before!” I printed it out and attempted to use it, but found a lot of the categories didn’t match what I needed. Still, I scratched out, wrote over, and did the best I could It wasn’t perfect, but it seemed better than anything else I had tried. Then, two nights ago, I was sitting here sort of bored while dh was napping and nothing sounded appealing to entertain myself with. I saw the printed out budget sheet laying on the ottoman, and suddenly it struck me — Why did I have to use someone else’s budget worksheet? Why couldn’t I make my OWN budget work sheet?
And thus, it was born…
Finally, I could customize it completely! It was exactly what I needed! I grant you I only made it a couple of days ago, and time has yet to prove that I will stick with using it, but I’m feeling good about this one folks!
The whole point of this long story was to say that you don’t always have to take the high tech road all the time. Normally I’m happy to jump on the technology bandwagon, but sometimes it just works better to do it the old fashioned way. The important part is that you make a budget and live your budget, not HOW you make your budget. Find an app, find a spreadsheet, find a pen and a piece of paper. Just find something and take the step!