Uncategorized budgeting

Published on May 10th, 2011 | by Pete

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Show Me the Money

Q – Do you use any kind of money management or tracking software? If so, which one? Is it something I should be doing? – Louise

An excellent set of questions there Louise! In short, yes. I do use a computer programme to help me track my finances, and I have to say it has been one of the most useful weapons in my money management armoury. One of the biggest problems that most people have when they are in debt is simply knowing how much they are in debt. Most people who are willing to talk about their debt tend to do it in a general way, ‘I owe about five thousand’. Not good enough if you actually want to eradicate your debt and take control of your finances.

If you are serious about getting out of debt and managing your debt better, I would suggest that some kind of tracking system is essential. I use Microsoft Money 2005, and have been using it for several years now. There are of course other programmes, but I cannot comment on those as I haven’t used them. I have got used to Microsoft Money and consider it to be excellent. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will notice that I am able to state exactly what my debt is to the penny – that is only possible because of Microsoft Money.

The added bonus of having such a visual record of your financial picture is that you have to accept how much debt you are in, and it can really help to keep you in check if you begin to feel impulsive. Of course a tool is only as good as its user, and the benefits of a money tracking programme can only be enjoyed if you use it correctly and keep it updated. I check my finances daily with my online banking. A little obsessive some might say; 2 minutes well spent I would reply!

In summary, I would strongly recommend that you use such a programme. Putting in your details to begin with can be quite an arduous task, as well as incorporating all your regular bills, but you will automatically be much more in control of your financial situation. When you first enter your details you may benefit from having Classic FM on in the background, as well as a strong cup of coffee, as for some people this will be the first time they put all of this information together. The benefits are plentiful. After I’m paid, it takes me an half an hour to boot up the computer, load the programme, and ensure all my bills are paid, and know my budget for the month. I can also ensure there is enough in my account for all of the necessary direct debits.

So Louise, let me know how you get on. I’d also be interested to hear from anyone who uses a different programme….

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