As you all know, I am on a journey to getting out of debt. It has been sooooo trying but I wanted to share some of my favorite financial planning tools. This isn’t the most appealing or trendy list, but this is what works for me. I like the traditional pen and paper way of keeping track of my finances. After creating my budget and writing all my expense, I back up all my information to my computer.
I use excel to back up all my financial stuff. From purchases, to a running ledger of my sinking fund. I use excel to keep track of what bills I have due and also to see what category I have spent my money in.
Although not perfect, they are good for monitoring your credit score and seeing big picture issues (collections and other derogatory accounts). I really like seeing my credit score each month, and it’s a huge perk when the score rises! Another cool feature is that they both give you suggestions on how to improve your credit. Often this is in the form of getting a new card which is not my cup of tea. They also have credit score simulators. With these simulators, you can see what happens to your credit score if you increase your credit limit, pay off a card, etc.
I haven’t used this much but I really like this app. Mint is a budget tracker that you sync to your bank account and can see where your money goes, analyze your habits, and how you can do better in real time. This is a bit more convenient than writing things down or saving receipts to plug into excel. However, I am so used to the pen and paper method that I still prefer that over using this app.
Bullet journal or Budget Planner
Even though I listed this last, this is my FAVORITE, #1, financial planning tool.
I write every purchase I make in my bullet journal and from here I input it into my excel file. I use excel to do the math because who really wants to add $5.27 + $18.77 + $602.32 and a bunch of other random numbers by hand. Writing down how much you spend can be very effective for spending less because you really don’t want to have to write a long list of things that you purchased. It’s definitely sobering to write down one weekend of shopping totaling $500+ spent at 7-10 different stores.