What to use to help manage my money?

12 Replies

Hey everyone! I'm in desperate need of some help. I see that I have over 1k to save/invest each paycheck(bi-monthly), but when the end of the month rolls by, I somehow have only saved $600-700 out of a possible $2,000-ish. 

The problem is I just don't have enough visibility of my finances. I don't see how my spending is taking away from my savings, so in the heat of the moment I tell my self that I have enough cash and to go ahead and buy whatever it is I'm looking at. 

Right now I just use the bank app on my phone, but I find I don't look at it enough for it to make a difference.

If I could find a way to be much more aware of my money I don't think I would spend as much. This terrible habit of mine is really slowing me down from my goal to buy my first duplex.

So what do you guys do to handle your money? What program? tips or tricks? Anything will help at this point.

Thanks! 

Tyson,

I found the thing that helped me the most in the beginning was www.mint.com. It helped me to sort out where my money was going. I also checked it all the time because I wanted to see all the transactions and make sure they were attributed to the right category. After a while I noticed my savings was getting bigger and bigger.

Dave Garlick

Why don't you transfer a fixed amount out of your bank account into a brokerage or other account? That way you pay yourself first, which is the most effective way of saving.

I use Quicken to track all my accounts. Most accounts can be automatically updated and then you just have to make sure transactions are categorized correctly (e.g. Restaurants, groceries, utilities, rent, insurance, travel, automobile, etc.)

Once you build a history of data, you'll be able to see how much you've spent in each category. I do this every month, quarter and year to identify trends in our spending patterns and to see if there's any area where we can save money.

If you get Quicken Rental Property Manager, it might also be good enough for you to track your rental income and expenses once you get your first property. This is what I use for more than a dozen properties and I'm very happy with it.

Budgeting isn't always about cutting back but more about knowing what you spend on. If you use a credit card just pay the bill once a month and categorize your spending. You spend 200 on eating out or maybe you spend 600. At the end of the day if you have regrets about what you are doing then make some changes. You my find that it is more important to buy those things, so don't beat yourself up.

I used to be a big user of Mint app (www.mint.com) for personal financing and budgeting but they've been really slow at adding new features and product enhancements after they got acquired by Intuit a few yeas back so I started to look around and have slowly been transitioning my accounts from Mint over to Level Finance (https://levelmoney.com/). 

I like what I see so far with Level and I am hoping that since they are still a private company they will be able to roll out new features and fix bugs more quickly. It doesn't have all the functionality of Mint yet but it does a great job of providing a snapshot of all your accounts and helping to budget for specific projects/reasons.  Give it a try! 

Originally posted by @Dave Garlick :

Tyson,

I found the thing that helped me the most in the beginning was www.mint.com. It helped me to sort out where my money was going. I also checked it all the time because I wanted to see all the transactions and make sure they were attributed to the right category. After a while I noticed my savings was getting bigger and bigger.

Dave Garlick

 Mint is Awesome!!! I've been using it for years.

My wife and I also use a whiteboard in our laundry room, every time we spend we come home and write it on the board.  We get paid Friday so we go from Friday to Thursdays.  This way it is fully visible and in your space.  You can get a 2x3 or 2x4 whiteboard on amazon for $25 bucks or so.

Another form is setting up multiple bank accounts.  So our paychecks are deposited into our savings account, then every Friday we have an auto transfer set up to transfer our weekly budget from our Savings to our Checking.  This is sure to make you recognize when you go over, because you will overdraft.  I also have another account that is like a flex account, I deposit a few hundred dollars every paycheck for vacations, entertainment, big purchases like furniture, etc.  This is great because it is all automated.  It will take a while to realize where the money is going, but once you do you can adjust your budget and start cutting things out that you don't need.

Good Luck!

Medium logo 5545John Horner, Core Developments LLC | [email protected] | 614‑664‑3174 | http://johnbuyshousesohio.com/

@Tyson Bumgarner  

 All of the above. I found myself in the same predicament (recently) trying to see where I could get an under 20K short term loan from when I make enough to save $1300 a month but never do. I had to go with @Anish Tolia   on finding a place to immediately put what I was saving aside each check and tracking the remainder on mint.  After two months I'm stuck on not spending what I save (maybe its greed) and realizing I can actually save $1700 and that I don't need pay to borrow 20K seeing that I can have it on my on in less than a year. The downside which might be an upside - I have to stay extremely busy to not touch the savings.

Good Luck...

I apologize if this has already been said as i didn't read all post prior... but I would recommend looking in to Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University. More specifically he has a VERY basic money management system he commonly refers to as the Envelope System. Learn it, Love it, Use it and i Guarantee your problem will be solved. Please PM me if you have any additional info as I would be more than happy to assist. Best of luck!

Rob Anderson, Anderson Property Management LLC | [email protected]

We have several checking and savings accounts.  There's automatic transfers set up on paydays.  A portion of next months bills gets automatically transferred into a checking account so that we can pay all the bills in advance in one fell swoop at the end of each month.  Also, each payday, a predetermined amount of money gets transferred into savings.  We don't carry cards for either of these accounts.  We then use whatever is left over for day to day spending.  It works for us :)

I've also used mint.  It aint bad :)

Originally posted by @Tyson Bumgarner :

Hey everyone! I'm in desperate need of some help. I see that I have over 1k to save/invest each paycheck(bi-monthly), but when the end of the month rolls by, I somehow have only saved $600-700 out of a possible $2,000-ish. 

The problem is I just don't have enough visibility of my finances. I don't see how my spending is taking away from my savings, so in the heat of the moment I tell my self that I have enough cash and to go ahead and buy whatever it is I'm looking at. 

Right now I just use the bank app on my phone, but I find I don't look at it enough for it to make a difference.

If I could find a way to be much more aware of my money I don't think I would spend as much. This terrible habit of mine is really slowing me down from my goal to buy my first duplex.

So what do you guys do to handle your money? What program? tips or tricks? Anything will help at this point.

Thanks! 

Tyson - this is an awesome topic!  Thanks for starting it.  Reading your post I see two problems that may be keeping you back from achieving your savings goal:

1) You are spending too much - that's a personal choice obviously and will have to be dealt with through time-tested techniques like budgeting and disciplined frugality.  As others have suggested, using a site like www.mint.com can be a great way to get started.

2) You may not be preserving your wealth in the most effective way.  Are you utilizing retirement accounts like a 401(k) and putting energy and resources into purchasing a primary residence?  These are incredible ways to increase your savings rate because they reduce your tax bill, AND some of the payment for a primary residence goes towards building your equity in the property.

Tyson- open an Mvelopes account (mvelopes.com). Your checking/savings transactions will flow into the program automatically and you can assign them to your envelopes, which you can create. The big thing is that you can set up a budget/spending plan and see the big picture on your finances at any time. I've used it for over 5 years and wouldn't consider any other program. We pay cash for everything, know where we spend our money, and know how much is left for each envelope. Hope that helps. Good luck to you sir.

I use an online bank account like Ally or ING Direct and have them auto deduct money from my bank account every time I am paid. That way I know I am saving exactly what I want to. And having an online bank account, it is harder to withdraw from making it easier to not spend it!

Hope this helps,