According to a survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and National Foundation for Credit Counseling, only 40 percent of Americans have a budget. When establishing a budget, the main challenge is changing your habits and behaviors, so that you can start saving money and paying off debt. A smaller part of the challenge is putting your income and expenses into a basic format that is easy to follow and understand. Create a personal budget planner using software to make managing your finances simple and straightforward.
Use a Microsoft Excel worksheet to create a personal budget planner. This is a simple and straightforward way of planning your budget; you may already have the program on your computer. It's a useful tool due to the formulas and automatic calculations offered by the program. You can download a personal budget worksheet template from the Microsoft Online Website to get started (see Resources).
Create a personal budget planner using My Budget Planner software. The format is similar to a spreadsheet format only specifically dedicated to budgeting activities. Enter your mandatory bills, flexible bills, income and the amount you want to save. Update your budget planner file whenever you have a new transaction or change to your expenses or income. If you want to get a young person involved in budgeting, the Website offers separate software versions for kids, teens and college students.
Sign up for Mint's online budget planner as another option. This is a full service, online solution that allows you to manage your accounts from your browser. Enter your bills and income, then review the results in a convenient format. You can also add information about your cash accounts--such as bank accounts and PayPal--and update the balances automatically. The software informs you of trends in your spending, how financially "fit" you are and ways that you reach your savings goals.