Budgeting is often a struggle for many families, but luckily, there are many budgeting tools that may help you and your family build a better budget. Fortunately, many of the best budgeting tools for families are accessible and free to use.

It’s easy to allow your financial situation to cause stress. But, by using some of these budgeting apps, you remove some of the stress and frustration of managing your finances. Essentially, budgeting tools enable you to rely on technology to guide your financial decisions.

If your family needs to jumpstart this season with a new budget, check out some of these budgeting tools to get you started. These tools will not only help you get your family’s finances on track, but they’ll also bring a sense of peace to your daily life.

Mint: Budgeting Made Simple

Mint is a simple and free tool to gather information about your finances in one place. If you have a smartphone, you can use Mint right from your touchscreen. Whether you’re in the line at the grocery store or waiting to pick your child up from soccer practice, you can do a quick Mint check-in.

Mint categorizes your finances into specific fields. For example, your living expenses may fall under “Bills & Utilities” while your midnight Amazon splurge may fall under “Shopping”. Mint will send you customized pie chart for each expense category. Then you can review each chat to determine areas where you’re overspending and other areas where you’re managing your money well.

Also, Mint has the ability to assist in finding ways to save. Mint will alert you if you’re missing out on an offer on a purchase you’re making. Additionally, it can alert you if you have rollover IRA funds from a previous employer you may not be aware of.

Mint is like having a good friend watch over you and your family’s finances. By using this app, your family may feel secure knowing that your finances are being monitored.

Acorns: Investing Your Spare Change

Acorns is both a fun visual and a helpful budgeting tool. Have you ever watched squirrels gather their bounty for the winter? They take one acorn at a time and build up a large stockpile to make it through the cold, winter months. The Acorns app works in a similar fashion. Through rounding up your spending, Acorns allows you to invest your spare change in your most important asset: you.

While these small amounts may seem insignificant, after several months of using Acorns you’ll notice a difference. You can choose to put the spare change into your savings account or use it toward a retirement account. Whatever way you approach it, Acorns shows you that the small, incremental steps can help build lifelong financial success.

Every Dollar: Creating a Monthly Budget with Ease

EveryDollar is a great budgeting tool for families. Whether you’re new to budgeting or a veteran EveryDollar is good tool to have in your back pocket. Through the use of the EveryDollar app, you can create a monthly budget. Your budget will assist you in understanding how you spend. EveryDollar will also help you plan your payments. This will allow you to space your payments throughout the month.

Essentially, EveryDollar will help you consider some of your long-term financial goals. The app will give you guidance toward achieving your desired milestones. Additionally, if you have big purchase coming up that you want to budget for or need some motivation to start your retirement savings, EveryDollar can lend a helping hand.

Goodbudget: Virtual Envelop System

When you were younger, you may have used the cash-only budget. You withdrew a specific amount of cash that you designated for spending. Once the cash was gone, it was gone. Therefore, the rest of your income stayed safe in the bank. Meanwhile, you learned to operate on the amount that sat inside your white envelope.

Today, you don’t have to operate on the white envelope budget in the literal sense. You can use the Goodbudget app to drive home the same budgeting principles. Using the app will allow you to forgo carrying around a small white envelope. Also, Goodbudget will hold you accountable and remind you when you’ve overspent.

Additionally, Goodbudget offers you help toward tackling your largest and most expensive debts. This aspect allows Goodbudget takes the hard work out of the repayment planning process. Goodbudget is a great budgeting tool for families.

YNAB (You Need a Budget): Teaching Money Management Skills

Another budgeting tool for families is You Need a Budget. YNAB will not only assist you in budgeting your money, it will also teach you new money management techniques. Similar to the concept of giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to to fish, YNAB gives your the tools you need to successfully manage your money.

YNAB won’t wait until you’re in a bad spot to tell you what you need to change. Instead, YNAB will help you make a plan of action, so you understand how you will move forward with your budget every day.

YNAB encourages you to be intentional with your money. By assisting with your planning process, it reminds you to think of your goals and your obligations when you have the urge to splurge.

Start Your Family’s Budgeting Journey

If you’re not ready to use these budgeting tools for families, there are still simple ways you can start incorporating smaller steps into your daily routine. Once you’ve completed a few of these steps, you’ll be better prepared to use some of the budgeting tools for families suggested above. Here are a few ways you can begin to manage your finances.

Monitor Living Expenses

You may need to start at the very beginning. Become aware of what your non-negotiable living expenses are. Start by sitting down and collecting a list of any expenses you have that are in the “cost of living” category.  You’ll want to include expenses such as your rent or mortgage payment, utilities, and grocery expenses. This will give you a general idea of where your paycheck is going, and what it costs for you to live at a basic level.

Once you’ve created this list, you can start monitoring these payments month to month. Keep in mind, some expenses may be seasonal. For example, in the summer you may have a higher power bill than in the winter. Keep track of these expenses so you know what to expect on a regular basis. Consider setting up automatic bank transfers that occur on dates that you choose. This will help you never forget a bill and you’ll always have a record of your payment.

Collect Receipts

Once you have a firm grasp on your living expenses, you may want to start collecting your receipts. These receipts should be from transactions outside of your living expenses. This can include meals out, shopping excursions, or unexpected repairs.

At the end of the month, take a few hours to categorize the receipts. Separate the receipts into categories such as “Shopping”,  “Maintenance” or “Kids Activities”. Then, add up each of these categories. Once this is complete, you’ll have an idea of where you’re spending your disposable income.

Record Your Goals

Perhaps you’re someone who loves cars and dreams of owning a Maserati. Or, perhaps you prefer travel and daydream about the opportunity to see the world. Whatever you dream of, start recording your goals. When you do, put a price tag on them. This should be close to the exact amount.

In doing this, you’ll start to think of some ideas of how you can save to achieve your goals. This exercise can relate back to your budget. It will allow you to see where your disposable income is going in comparison to where it could go. Knowing that the expense of eating out could go to better use may inspire you. It will enable you to start being more conscious of your spending habits in general.

Cut the Unnecessary

We’re all guilty of making impulse purchases. It can happen and does happen, to most of us. What’s important is to recognize our mistakes and make an effort to not to repeat them.

If you agreed to a membership that you’re not using, consider cutting the cord. Take some time to review your monthly bank statements and spot the unnecessary. You may have forgotten that you agreed to a monthly, recurring membership. Identify your underutilized expenses and get rid of them. Cleaning up your expenses, even before you commit to a full-blown budgeting tool, will help reduce the money you’re spending.

The Bottom Line

Money management is a difficult topic for many families. However, establishing a budget is one of the best ways to mange your family’s money. This includes understanding your expenses, your income, and where you’re spending your extra money.

To ease the process of managing your finances, try using these budgeting tools for families. The best budgeting tool for families fit different budget needs. Try different methods to see what technique suits your lifestyle.

Remember, mistakes happen. Don’t dwell on them or allow them to discourage you from moving forward. When it comes to your family, you want the best. To provide the best you should do everything you can to become smarter and manage your finances well.

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