Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Need A Budget Software Review

My first year of marriage, I was still in school and we made a total of $21,000/yr. and every month I worked to keep the check register above zero. Then I got a job teaching and made $34,000/yr by myself and STILL had to keep the check register above zero. When I noted that after a few months I knew something was wrong.

I first used Larry Burkett's Crown Financial Envelope system and photocopied pages, but that got cumbersome and complicated when I was trying to keep track of small temporary things I was saving for. And just last year, I did Dave Ramsey--good information--but the budget system was similar to Burkett's and I'd never change from my budget software (YNAB or You Need A Budget) which I've been using for over 5 years.

It practices one tenet that neither Larry Burkett or Dave Ramsey seem to advocate--living on last month's money. If you don't make a set amount of money, I believe it is a must! And even though my income doesn't change much anymore, I still wouldn't change back to living on the money I'm making today.

Here's a video on the 4 rules YNAB teaches, including living on last month's income:

This software does cost $60 but it is very worth it. If you do a paper copied budget, it will save you paper and ink cost, and that alone becomes worth it after a year or two, but it makes working with your budget so much easier and takes less time and time is money, right? When I've counseled people about their finances and realize they have no money, I still recommend that they find the $60, because if they use this system, they'll save that money easily.

If your budget is frustrating or not working well or you don't have one--You Need A Budget!

The only con I have with this software is its reports. I hardly have a need for the reports, but the few times I've wanted to use it, it's not that great, it has set reports for you to look at and isn't very customizable. Also, I'd like to print my transactions for an entire year, but you have to print them all which when you've used this for several years, that's annoying. But, that said, the reports being as they are, I still recommend it highly, plus the guy behind it always takes suggestions and one of these days he'll take mine, right?

So, how has the budget software helped me? Staying home, we now make less than when I was a teacher, but we adjusted easily with the help of this software. Instead of having to be careful to keep my check register above zero, I normally have heart flutters if it's below one month's budget which is a little over a couple thousand dollars, however with the third rule, the heart flutters are minimal because I know even if I messed up, I can easily recover without worrying about incurring fees or bouncing checks or anything of that sort. But I rarely have those heart flutters because I normally have much more money than that since I now save for my auto tags instead of letting those "surprise" and bankrupt me, and I know exactly how much money I can spend on clothing if I go shopping on a whim without hurting my ability to pay the bills.

Seriously, you should get it unless you have a good, easy-to-track budget system in place that is helping you meet your money goals.

(You can watch more than one account with the software, so I run my business budget and home budget with the same software.)


  1. This looks like a pretty great concept. Thanks Melissa. Not sure what the hubby will say about it though. And since you have so much extra in your checking account, I think you should buy your good ole' CP a Christmas present. :-)

  2. That's another cool thing about living on a monthly salary, you have 4 "extra" paychecks a year--When there are 5 paydays in a month or 3 if your biweekly paid. But I kinda just blew it all on Christmas! You'll get an epiphany card though, that's what you wanted, right, a picture of your CPF?

    It is a great concept! And works.