Budgeting Tools You Can Use
Here's how to spend less time on your budget
Read time: 3 minutes.
Welcome to the Friday FinTips newsletter, where I provide tips to simplify how you manage money.
Happy Friday! I hope you all enjoyed your week (and the 4th of July if you celebrate it). Let's dive in!
Do you think tracking all your expenses is too time consuming? I did. Maybe you’re spending money at lots of places, maybe on multiple credit cards. You lose receipts. Or, if you’re like me, you don’t even get them to begin with.
Let’s simplify it.
Find a tracking method that works for you
I use Mint because it’s free, simple, and connects to all my credit cards.
Use whatever you’re comfortable with. There are tons of other options (like Nerdwallet, YNAB, or Goodbudget). Read reviews and see what fits your needs. I recommend something free (or cheap), but it’s up to you.
Export the data once a week and put it in your budget
I do it on Fridays because I like to know how much cash we have left before the weekend starts. (It tells us whether we'll be going out for the weekend or eating at home.)
The Friday FinTips budget has a template for Mint (so you just have to copy & paste). There are also instructions on how to do it manually if you don't want to use Mint.
The goal here is to get the data out of Mint (or whatever you're using) and get it into your budget. Good news: It should only take 1-2 minutes.
Update your subcategories
What's a subcategory? Things like Rent, Utilities, Car Payment, Entertainment, etc. (The newsletter from last week has more info if you want to read it.)
This step is important, because the outcome shows how much you have left in each subcategory.
After you copy your data from Mint, some transactions will have the wrong subcategory assigned to them. In this step, you just have to fix them. The Friday FinTips budget will highlight them in red if they need to be fixed.
If things are mislabeled, you may think you have more/less in a particular subcategory than you actually do. A couple weeks ago I thought we were way over budget on meals, but it was just because a grocery bill got mislabeled by Mint.
Take a few minutes to double check these, you'll be glad you did.
Using an app/website to track your expenses will make budgeting SO much easier! Mint is not the only option out there, it's just the one I use. Find one that you're comfortable with and try it out. If it isn't what you hoped, try another.
That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and see you next Friday!