Better than a raise: The smallest thing you can do to make the biggest difference this year

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  • Father of 8 Evanston, WY
    Dec. 11, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    I use YNAB (you need a budget) for budgeting and planning Think looking forward.and I use Quicken for tracking and and accounting, think looking back and preparing tax returns.

    Love YNAB, allows my wife a much more involved role in budgeting since quicken was too overwhelming.

    Great feature of YNAB is you can create multiple budgets, I created one for Christmas, a major event, and am beginning one for an upcoming vacation. Holidays is one line item on my main budget, but about 20 categories on my Christmas budget.

    I absolutely agree that YNAB is empowering, before budgeting always felt oppersive and depressing, YNAB makes it almost like a game, a challenge. It really is empowering.

    BTW, you don't even need to buy the software, the site teaches a method which can be executed using paper and pencil or spreadsheet, the software just makes it easier.

    Sorry if this sounds like an infomercial, but I like it that much.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    Trust is earned. The more experience you get the easier it becomes. You have to be honest, don't brake the trust. Your as good as you think. The experience of being dishearted is hard to forget.

  • Steven11421 AUSTIN, TX
    Dec. 11, 2013 6:34 a.m.

    @ Nan BW - for me it is a combination of having self-discipline and then creating a method that works for your family.

    For 20 years I used Quicken, which is more accounting, not Budgeting. About 6 months ago I was introduced to YNAB - It is my method, or tool of choice.

    No tool will work without self-discipline, and self-discipline without the proper tools is bound to fail.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 6:04 a.m.

    The only easy to use consumer financial program is, I hate to say it becasue it is barely as easy to use as Microsoft Money was, but the Quicken home and/or office version is the only real comprehensive and adjustable program on the market. Quicken can be integrated with all bank accounts in any bank and information can be stored independently or using bank secure website.

    Banks offer assistance to setup and use this program. The Quicken customer service is outsourced to India so they useless for bank and customer setups. Most banks and retailers offers training to integrate this program with your accounts and takes a lot of commitment, patience, to financial independence married or single.

    Internet bill pay and money transfers make life stress free and you don't have to grant access to your accounts for payments. Any retail transaction is doable with Quicken on international or local purchases. You control who, what, when, and where you money is going.

    Spread sheets are complicated and takes a lot of algebraic math skills most millennial's with a college education don't have. Ignorance is against the law and that includes personal finances.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 4:28 a.m.

    Just use cash. When you don't have any money you will know it first hand.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:58 p.m.

    To me, it isn't the method used that matters, it is self-discipline. If you decide you are only going to spend money on that which is truly important, and skip impulse buying, frivolous purchases and credit card buying because you don't have the cash now, you can do much better than having spread sheets, lists, etc. However, for a family to make it work, both parents have to be working toward the same goals, and often that is a tough thing work out. Bottom line, self-control is the lesson of life.

  • jNeal United States, TX
    Dec. 10, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    I have been on You Need A Budget for about 6 months. For me it is like the Dave Ramsey envelope method, except that you do not have to go to the bank to get cash. I can even use my credit card for internet transactions without worry. It has helped me remove the items I was spending money on that I did not care about, thus freeing more money for things that I do care about.

  • jlyman West Valley City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Our family has started implementing the Jars System for budgeting. We have had to adapt it to our situation, but it has freed us up immensely! We are no longer scraping by each month and we have money in several savings accounts. I never thought we could do it until we dedicated ourselves to actually practicing it. I think that's the way it is with any system you may choose.

  • Vince Clortho S_SPRINGS, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    If you need something to start with. Email accounts (google, Microsoft) include their cloud drive applications. You don't need to list account #s and so on. Just use the simple spreadsheet app to at least track your expenses. I keep a record in a simple microsoft database which I tie to an Excel spreadsheet for easy summarizing and pretty formatting that my wife can understand.

    Freedom through budgeting. I'm a believer.

  • Michael De Groote
    Dec. 10, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    My wife and I have been using an Excel spreadsheet based on Dave Ramsey's budgeting advice since 1999. We are just beginning to experiment with Mint and I may try You Need a Budget and review it.

    Here are a few questions for people reading the story: What type of budget do you use? If you are not using a budget, why not?

  • lasaurus MIDVALE, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    I love budgeting and I love You Need a Budget software. It feels the opposite of restrictive. It took all the guilt away from spending money on vacations or other fun stuff because I have budgeted for it after I budgeted for all the important stuff (rent, food, insurance, savings, etc.)