IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT TRYING TO FIX SOMETHING THAT IS BROKEN.
For many people money management tools can be overwhelming especially when computer programs come into play such as excel or even finance apps. Please don’t feel pressured into believing you need to own a computer or a cell-phone to stay on top of your finances. That’s simply NOT true.
My parents are NOT computer savvy and have no interest in budgeting or banking online. They don’t trust the system because it’s just not the way of the past. Bundle that with too many hacking horror stories which is enough for them to say, no way I’ll do it myself.
That means if you want to budget your money to ensure you are on track to meet your financial goals but aren’t ready to jump online, keep it simple. You don’t need to fix a simple budgeting system to be successful you only need to change it to fit your current needs.
I’m not ready for technology
A quick email from a fan about a month ago reminded me that not everyone is ready to download a budget spreadsheet like the one Mrs. CBB and I offer for free to our subscribers.
Keep in mind we do offer a printable budget that can be put into a binder for ease of use and to save everyone time. The only downfall to this is that it’s not customized which means you need to go in and do the work.
If you don’t own a printer then you may struggle finding someone who has one to help you print budget sheet templates. It’s almost exhausting for someone who wants to budget in 2017 but either doesn’t have the technology to do so or simply don’t understand how to use it.
I’m 40 years old and still don’t own a cell-phone yet everything seems to be going the card-only route where cash is not being accepted. This is likely the way the world is going to swing financially but the only chance of this to succeed is to wipe out a generation of users who aren’t prepared to handle this type of financial world.
I’m not sure how well a system of no cash will work but what I do know that no matter what we all need to understand the money we earn and how we spend it. If not then we face potential finance hardships in the event of a money crisis. Not only this but if you think that you can survive on the money you earn today consider what would happen if you are no longer able to work, get laid off or even terminated tomorrow.
In a round-about way budgeting seems simple and it really is depending on what motivates you to budget. Keep in mind if you’re forced to budget using a system you are not comfortable with your budget will fail. Why? Most people give up. In the 6 years that I’ve blogged I’ve seen fans come and go who were excited to get on track with their money, start the process and then disappear.
Wait a minute…
Didn’t I just spend hours trying to help you figure your budget numbers out, set out a plan and then you let it all flop? I did but I can’t control the way someone takes their money seriously. What I’ve learned over the years is that for many people simple is best and by that I mean going the old-school budgeting route.
There is nothing wrong with the pencil and paper budget because ultimately it can give you all the data you need to make sure you are spending less and saving more. It can tell you where you are spending too much and how much more money you need to earn. It’s simple.
If you want more of the nitty-gritty details broken down this is where a budgeting app might win over paper and pencil but only finance nerds like myself might go hog-wild in that department. Some people get a tad addicted to their budget numbers and enjoy breaking it down until it’s naked but with a full closet of clothes.
In other words strip the budget until you have maximum data on every category. For example, how many pairs of shoes one bought for the year. A bit over-kill but a computer or budget app might be a winner if this is the financial detail you need. There are plenty of simple budgeting apps and budget spreadsheets available online like ours but if doesn’t appeal to you then don’t use them.
Financial Technology isn’t for everyone
What simple financial tools can you use for budgeting?
I’ve got you covered, don’t worry.
I’m a 50-year-old widow on a fixed-income and not sure how to use your online budget spreadsheet as I’m not smart with the excel program. What do you suggest for someone my age who wants to make sure she is saving as much as she can before retirement.
Right now I find that I’m not getting ahead and savings are slim. I do have some retirement money set aside but I’m getting worried that it won’t be enough. Now that I’m on my own with money I need something simple to track my money that won’t overwhelm me.
What do you suggest I do? What do I need to get started budgeting at home?
Thanks for your question. I understand that not everyone is ready to use an online budget spreadsheet which is why I have the simple budget that is printable that might work better for you. Alternatively I’ve come up with some simple finance tools that I think every adult should consider especially if budgeting online is not something they can do or stick with.
If you have any further questions please feel free to email me. Good luck on your financial journey towards retirement and congrats on thinking ahead about your future needs.
Simple Personal Finance Tools
If I told myself years ago that I’d be managing my money online I probably would have laughed only because budgets were pen and paper based for years and years. Accountants, lawyers, doctors did everything by hand and the filing systems were horrendously large. We no longer see this as we’ve moved to a technology based financial world.
Even so, computers are in high-gear and as the industry is ever-changing there are those people who simply can’t keep up or choose not to. I hope that using a few simple personal finance tools to achieve your goals will motivate you to meet and exceed your expectations.
Congratulations on finding a way to protect your money even if it is old-school.
Did I say 5 simple personal finance tools? Silly me, Just kidding, I meant 8.
I know you might be laughing at this but an office or space where you do all of your finances MUST be stocked with a few simple finance tools such as pens and pencils. You may want to include a pencil sharpener or buy eraser-mate pens so you can fix any errors. I suggest budgeting in pencil obviously but for note-taking a pen will work just fine.
Simple finance tools will always include a notebook. You may want to keep notes about your weekly or monthly spending in it, goals or everyday notes about your money situation. Another great reason for the notebook is to pencil in your monthly budget.
I’ve seen people create a budget binder like we have that has folders and dedicated sections for budgeting etc. We do our budgeting via our spreadsheet but there was a time before our online budget spreadsheet was created where we simply used a notebook.
It does work, if you want it to.
Unless your one of those math genius loving people who can tally anything on paper or in their head then you need a calculator of sorts. Pop into the dollar store and you’ve got one for under $2 that will do the trick. Another awesome spot to score office supplies is at Value Village. They have countless bags of office supplies for under $4 many of which will include a calculator, ruler and other valuable simple finance tools.
We should all know what day of the week it is and of course what month we are in but this isn’t the reason for the calendar. Using a calendar is a great way to track daily needs such as grocery shopping, appointments and for building your budget goals. Understanding where you want to begin and where you want to end is important. Some people choose to use a calendar as a motivational chart by penciling in savings for the day.
Obviously if you have a smartphone you will have a calendar, notebook and calculator available but we’re keeping the topic of finance tools simple here assuming one does not own such technology.
I can’t stress enough how asking for receipts has changed our financial life. Those receipts you collect for any money transaction you make are vital to the success of your budget. Sure you can budget without them BUT you won’t have TRUE numbers. Who wants to budget without really knowing what they spent.
I had a fan tell me that it wasn’t until she was tracking her receipts and using a projected expenses section in her budget that she realized just how much money she was off in her estimated budget amounts. Take it or leave it but hanging on to receipts is an easy process and worthwhile if you ask me.
You can buy envelopes that are inexpensive at the dollar store as well which will help any of you who are interested in using an envelope cash budgeting system. This is a popular system because it’s not technology based at all. You create a budget, you label your envelopes and stuff them with money.
When you need to go shopping for groceries take your envelope with you and that’s the money you have to spend for the week or month depending on how you organize your budget. Easy-peasy and no hassle of technology.
Printable Budget Spreadsheet
For those of you who do have access to a computer and printer you may opt to simplify your financial journey by printing out a budget template. By doing so you can customize the sections as you see fit and budget accordingly. You can find a budget online to print that is extensive in detail or keep it very simple like we did with ours.
Once you get yourself a budget binder you can print 12 budgets, 3-hole punch them and insert them into your binder. Separate the sections with tabs starting with January up until December.
Keeping a pocket folder in each section is great for storing receipts as well. This keeps everything organized. Don’t forget to stash your notebook and other finance tools inside as well. Keeping all of your finance tools in one spot is a financial game-changer. I can vouch for that.
There’s no need to stash your major savings under the mattress because the bank has held up its end of the bargain forever really. What you can do is invest in a piggy bank also known as a “still bank” and drop coins that you have lingering around your purse, wallet, vehicle or jacket pockets.
This form of simple savings dates back to childhood for many of us and if you remember how proud you were to drop in the coins, shake the piggy bank and think of all the things you want to do when it’s full, you’ll feel it over again.
If saving up for something special seems to be tough while using the banking system try a traditional piggy bank and watch how fast your money will grow. Once you achieve your goal, do as you set out with the money you’ve saved. Ideally, you could track the amount of money you’ve deposited in your piggy bank in your finance book or wait until it’s full and count it then.
You may or may not have the exact amount for what you set out to save but you’ll have something more than you would have if you tried to save it in the bank. Not everyone is good at saving money for a rainy day or for the new tool or kitchen gadget they need. Sometimes just having a full piggy bank is enough for someone who has had no savings at all.
What one of you may think to the piggy bank process another will think it’s genius.
Money doesn’t stop until your gone
Overall, budgeting does NOT need to be difficult or overwhelming if you keep it simple and find a budget that fits your needs. If you feel stressed and unable to use a budget you’ve found online and there is no support from the creator then create your own budget. Simple finance tools often start with the person behind the budget.
Don’t get caught dressed with an empty closet. Expose your financial details and count what you have in your closet and what you need to create your wardrobe. This means don’t be afraid of what you will find out from your budget using simple financial tools rather embrace reality and push for change for your future financial endeavours.
You can do it.
If you’re interested in our reading our 10- STEP Budgeting Series to get started make notes along the way so you can review them when you are done.
Discussion Question: Why do you prefer simple finance tools such as a paper and pen budget over an online budget spreadsheet and vice-versa?
Leave your comment below.
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