Many people feel that starting a budget is complicated and overwhelming, but, at its core, budgeting is a simple concept. All you need to do is take your income and subtract your expenses. That is the basis for all budgeting.
This easy concept can be kept simple, but there are opportunities for you to take control of your budget and add details in as you see fit. There are apps, Excel spreadsheets, paid subscriptions, and many other options so that you can have help setting up (and sticking to) your budget. Which of these budgeting tools could work best for you? We lay out the options below.
Setting up a budget now can look a lot like the budgets your family set up when you were young. Paper and pencil can take you pretty far when you start budgeting. Writing out your expenses and income on paper can help cement those numbers in your head. This method is totally in your hands, so if you want to make it complex or simple, that is totally up to you! If you always like to take notes in a notebook rather than a laptop, this method may be best for you and your family.
This method is completely free and pretty easy to begin with the things you have around your house. Remember that your budget will need to be updated frequently and it needs to be easily accessible. Keep this notebook in a safe place that you have access to.
The Updated Classic
You may have tried pencil and paper before, but found that you lost your budget more times than you can count. An updated version of paper and pencil, is a standard Excel worksheet or a Google Sheet. These options have saving and automatic calculating features that just can’t be offered with your notebook. These sheets give you the freedom to change numbers constantly and update certain expenses when you start seeing spending fluctuations.
This method is free with a Google account or a Microsoft Office Suite. Keep this method simple to begin with and then work your way up to a more complicated budget if you would like. Make sure you are checking in with your budget on a normal basis, or it won’t be too helpful for you.
Maybe you have seen the ads for a brand new budgeting app all over your Google searches and you want to try it out. Great, but be sure to check-in with reputable sources that the app is safe and secure. There are many different apps to choose from and it may be best for you to try a few out before you commit to using one.
This method can be free, but some apps do cost money or have a subscription based plan. We recommend starting with a free app if you choose to go this route. Something to remember about keeping your financial information in an app- make sure you only use this app on secured WiFi.
How Can HUECU Help?
HUECU has an online budgeting tool built into our online banking platform already! This tool is open to all members and integrates seamlessly with your credit union accounts. If you want your accounts connected to your budget, we recommend trying out our budgeting tool.
Getting started with budgeting is important, but what is most important is sticking to it. Pick a budgeting tool that will help you achieve your goals and stick to your budget!