Managing Your Finances Well = Saving More Money!

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In my opinion, one of the most important ways to actually achieve your savings goals and be able to stick within the boundaries of your grocery budget (yes, even with wholesome and organic foods!) is by making sure that you are managing your money well in the first place.

In fact, I believe that so much that I actually started my newest book, Real Food on a Real Budget, with a chapter all about managing your grocery budget!

Personally, we use a software that we purchased called You Need a Budget, which I highly recommend! You can read my husband’s rave review of it here.

For those who are still in debt, though, or just not prepared to fork out the money on a software they’re unsure of, there’s a great alternative. I just learned about a site called Mint.com that offers some similar tools for budgeting and tracking your spending, except that it’s completely FREE to use!

If you’re eager to start cutting down your budget and getting your finances really under control, I would definitely look into Mint.com and see if it will work for you!

What do you use to manage your finances? Do you agree with me that you save more when you more carefully manage what you already have?

Comments

  1. Heather says:

    We tried all kinds of budget software and found that we didn’t keep up with it for more than a month. Then we started listening to Dave Ramsey and after hearing him say all you need is a paper and pencil decided to try it on paper. Much better. We’ve been keeping it for over a year with only a minor hiccup when the baby was born and I was in the hospital unexpectedly.

    All that said, of the budget software we tried YNAB was the best. We just aren’t people who do that kind of stuff on the computer.

    • Stephanie @ Saving Naturally says:

      It’s always so interesting to hear what works for different people! My husband is a bit of a numbers geek (his own words) and so he just loves plugging everything into the software. Myself, I’m more pen and paper. If I were the budgeter in this house, that’s probably what I would use. So long as it works for someone, that’s all that matters! :)

  2. Stephanie P says:

    Totally agree that you need to manage your finances to actually save money!

    The DH and I are big Dave Ramsey fans and as such we’re on a cash only system. For us, things like Mint only give us the big picture after we’ve purchased something while looking in our envelope system shows that money and transaction in real-time.

    Thus far it’s working great. Since getting married (3/09) we’ve paid off over $13K in credit card debt (now credit card debt-free) and we’re now paying for my masters degree in straight cash. We’re also committed to renting until we have at least a 20% down payment on a house and then plan to do a 15-year mortgage.

    • Stephanie @ Saving Naturally says:

      Awesome, Stephanie! We’re big Dave Ramsey fans as well. :) We also use a cash system, but we do pay our major bills online and we also like to track our budget and savings online, so we still use a budgeting software. But we’re totally sold on using cash!

  3. Rea says:

    I’ve been a budgeter ever since I was out of college…so, about 20 years! First it was the paper, pencil and a ledger book with a page for each category. Then came the computer era and I moved on to carefully crafted Excel spreadsheets that drove my husband crazy. In the interest of marital harmony when we switched to Quicken for our software we set up our budget in there. It isn’t perfect, I’m thinking of combining it with a cash envelope system. But at least it helps us to track how we are doing. And we absolutely save more when we are tracking carefully. We have been able to do much more with little money than many people manage on incomes twice our size, simply because we know where it is going and we know when to reign it in.
    .-= Rea´s last blog ..Looks like salad =-.

  4. Kate says:

    We tried the Dave Ramsey software, too. Used it for awhile. But it wasn’t my thing because I couldn’t get down to the nitty-gritty with it. I just didn’t like it because it felt so theoretical to me.

    What works best for us is an envelope system. We use a computer to write our “general” budget, then I take the money I’m “in charge of” (household money) and withdraw it in cash. Then I put it into different envelopes. Each envelope is labeled with what is in there, like “bulk food,” “farm food,” “kitchen gadgets,” etc. In each envelope is an index card that keeps track of how much is in there and when I put it in and took it out. Then I keep a running list for each category of things I need. Some envelopes I use weekly, others I have to save before I buy things. But this way I know what I need, I know I have the cash physically set aside. Works great for us, and helped us get our grocery spending really under control.

  5. Michelle says:

    We just started using Mint. My husband has taken more control of the finances so we can both be on board together (makes a big difference when we work as a team!). He really likes Mint so far and I am so proud of how great he is doing with it all. We are also working to start an envelope system.

  6. lisa says:

    I just switched to Mint.com after finding out the site I was using (Wesabe) was shutting down. I like Mint much better already. I haven’t gotten into all it’s tools yet, but I was impressed that they send you a weekly email showing you how you’re doing on your budget in several categories. That’s pretty cool. They also email you when your account balance gets low (how do I know that? ha).

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