I just blogged over at FatWallet a post, sharing 10 Ways to Involve Your Kids in Your Family Budget. Having grown up in a household that didn’t share a whole lot about money, I went through some “growing pains” with money that resulted in a few skinned knees along the way. It’s my husband’s and my hope that involving our kids in our personal finances and teaching them how to handle money will give them skills that will pay off down the road, literally.
When we were just getting started budgeting and learning to manage our money (and stopped letting our money manage us), we struggled to find the right tools to keep track of everything. We tried a lot of things that worked and some that didn’t. In the hopes of helping you save time (and money), here’s our family’s list of the absolute best resources for family budgeting.
Helpful Financial Books:
- Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey: Probably my favorite financial book. It’s a quick and easy read and will leave you feeling empowered by the end. I also combine this with listening to the Dave Ramsey Show podcast on my drive home from work each night. It’s great for helping me keep a smart money mindset.
- The Slight Edge: Secrets to a Successful Life: This book, while it’s not about money, it teaches you how choices which seem insignificant in the moment add up both positively and negatively. It’s helped me financially to remember that every dollar counts and to make wise choices on the small things to create the financial future for my family I dream of.
- The Millionaire Next Door: A great reminder that what appears abundant is probably not and that our worth is not determined by the kind of car we drive or size of home we live in.
Resources for Budgeting & Bills:
- Manilla: This is an online website and app that has helped me to reduce the paper clutter coming into the house while giving me a quick snapshot of which bills are coming due with reminders taking away the risk of paying something late because I forgot.
- Mint.com: I am so in love with Mint.com. We use it to budget as well as categorize and track all the financial transactions that happen across all our various accounts. It makes it easy to see when we’re coming close to our budget in any particular category, how much we owe vs how much we have in cash, as well as what our net worth is at any given time.
- Credit Karma: It’s helpful at monitoring your credit score and notifying you if there is a change in your credit status such as opening a new account, (great for staying on top of your identity for theft reasons). But what I love most about it, is the ability to play out different scenarios to see how they affect our credit score, such as opening a new account, or paying down the balance on something.
- Mvelopes: I originally signed up for Mvelopes for budgeting and liked it while we used it, we found that as we got better at budgeting, the system was a little much for what we needed. I’m including it in the list because it’s the tool that first helped us get control of our finances because it helped us plan for those irregular expenses, such as property taxes. I still use it for paying bills since we have all our automatic monthly payments set up within the system and I haven’t felt the need to change them.
- Spreadsheet: Finally, I use a good-old-fashioned spreadsheet to keep track of all the information we need for tax time. I track our bills each month year over year to help me budget and for our home-office write offs at the end of the year as well as all business expenses, and tax deductible transactions.
Resources for Financial Advice:
- A great accountant! The accountant who does our taxes has been a great resource for us regarding our businesses, our budget and in helping us reach our money goals.
- FatWallet Finance Forum: This is an amazing and very highly respected resource for anyone wanting to learn more about handling their finances. There is a wealth of knowledge on getting out of debt, credit cards, saving for retirement and anything else you can think of regarding personal finance.
- Dave Ramsey Show Podcast: As I mentioned above, I enjoy listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast on a regular basis. I’ve not called in with a question yet, but I’ve learned a lot while listening to him help countless other people through their money situations.
What budget tools do you use? Are there any other things we should try?
This post is part of Women’s Money Week. Every day a group of women bloggers are gathering online to blog about the various topics relating to women and money. Come check out everyone’s posts on today’s topic, Family and Money here and please share and comment on their posts to help get this conversation going and help other women take control of their finances.
Here are the additional posts I’ve submitted to Women’s Money Week:
On the FatWallet Blog:
- Using What You Know to Increase Income
- Three Secrets to Being Productive and Stress Free
- 10 Ways to Include Your Kids in Your Family Finances
Here on Becoming Me: