Tuesday, December 20, 2005

You Need a Budget review

Time to review a site/software. I've come across it before and I think it will be useful for some (but not all). The site and software is called You Need a Budget and there should be a link on the right hand side. Before I continue, I just want to point out that I'm not receiving any referral fees or anything like that. So I have no interest if you buy the software or not, I'm just writing about it.

The first thing to mention (besides the cost, under $20) is that you're not only buying some software, but also a budgeting method. The software consists of various Excel spreadsheets that make it easy to follow the method and rules.
The first step is to save one month's expenses and this is a good starting point. This will lead into a zero based budget where all your cash inflows go to a specific category (the second step).

The last two steps deal with unexpected expenses/shortfalls and these are crucial. I've seen a good amount of people who seem to be on a budget, but when something unexpected happens they don't know what to do or where to get the money from. I've (and many other blogs) have stressed the importance of an emergency fund. I do like the last step because it forces you to adjust your budget. If you over-spend in one category, that excess amount is taken away from the amount available next month.

Who is this for? If you're looking for something more complex (taxes, portfolio reviews, etc.) then I would suggest getting Quicken. If you're just looking to start from scratch, learn how to prepare a budget, and stick with it- then it would be worth the time to check out the site. It is a very simple program to use and this could be an advantage for some compared to Quicken (which can get a bit confusing).
So I would say this is for someone who wants something basic and easy to understand. You definitely need to follow the rules and this will be beneficial for those who don't even know where to start. This is one other key advantage. Quicken basically keeps track of everything and assumes you know what you're doing. If you don't know what to do, this software will show you a way.

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