Advertising
Advertising

The Simple Way to Track and Save Money

The Simple Way to Track and Save Money

I like to keep track of what I’m spending, what money is coming in, and what my outgoing money is spent on. It helps me to save money for expected and unexpected expenses, as well as setting money aside for vacations and all those seasonal holidays that involve spending money on gifts (Christmas, Birthdays, Weddings etc.). Usually, I use a spreadsheet for this — Excel, in my case. However, I know of many people that have an aversion to spreadsheets, in particular, getting the formulas right and making calculations across several sheets… far too complicated and too much effort.

This is where You Need a Budget (YNAB) helps by providing you with software that assists you in managing your budget. Plus, unlike Mint, it supports more than just the US and Canada, and not only that, YNAB teaches you a 4-rule method to manage your money with the goal of saving enough so that you can live off the previous months savings without spending any of this month’s income.

Advertising

Here’s the 4-step rule:

  1. Give Every Dollar a Job.
  2. Save For a Rainy Day.
  3. Roll With the Punches.
  4. Live on Last Month’s Income.

1. Give Every Dollar a Job

The principal behind this rule is to assign your money to an expense, whether that is rent, groceries, etc. So after you add a checking account and put in a total, you need to assign your money to do a job. Any money not assigned can be rolled forward to future months.

Advertising

Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 12.00.40 PM

    2. Save For a Rainy Day

    This rule is all about planning ahead. For example, you have home insurance to pay for and it’s due in 6 months. Budget for it across 6 months, so that you don’t spend money impulsively. You can use this rule to save up for vacations and other high ticket items (a new couch or TV). The same method can be used to set aside money for unexpected bills, such as car or home repairs.

    Advertising

    3. Roll With the Punches

    This rule is all about adjusting your budget when you overspend in one category. This happens sometimes; for example, you spend more on books than you intended, in which case, you can adjust your budget by moving some of the money budgeted towards clothes, or have it deducted from next month’s budget so you spend less on books in the following month. It’s straight forward to put what you are spending by adding a new transaction. This can be income or expenditure, and the main budget sheet will keep track of it for you.

    Advertising

    Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 12.03.56 PM

      4. Live on Last Month’s Income

      This is the main aim of this method. To save up a month’s worth of paychecks before the month has started.

      One of the useful features in YNAB are the charts that let you see where the bulk of your money goes. This can help you to re-budget and see which areas of your life takes up most of your income. You these reports to help you re-adjust your budget if necessary or to create targets. For example, if food expenses eat up a large percentage of your spending, you can try and adjust it to make it more proportional to the other parts of your life.

      Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 12.04.49 PM

        If you follow this method that YNAB coaches, then it can be a useful personal finance (or small business) budgeting tool. It’s free to try for the first 30 days, and if it’s for you, then it only costs $60 to get a license for the software. YNAB also provides a bunch of home study guides and online classes to help you learn and this method.

        More by this author

        30 Inspirational Songs that Keeps You Motivated for Life How to Use the S.M.A.R.T. Approach to Achieve Your Resolutions Vitamins Cheat Sheet: What They Do and Good Food Sources [Infographic] Nutrition: Minerals Cheat Sheet & Food Sources [Infographic] The Best Body Hacks You Should Know About

        Trending in Money

        130 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much 235 Real Ways to Actually Make Money Online 3How to Make Money with a Blog (According to 23 Successful Bloggers) 4This List of 50 Low-cost Hobbies Will Excite You 530 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on August 15, 2018

        30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

        30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

        Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

        Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

        Video Summary

        1. Visit a strawberry festival

        Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

        2. Have a picnic

        Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

        3. Camp in your back yard

          The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

          4. Take long walks

          Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

          5. Break a world record

          Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

          Advertising

          6. Go on a bike ride

          The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

          7. Join a gym class

            The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

            8. Find a new hobby

            The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

            9. Join a sports team

            Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

            10. Make a slip ‘n slide

              Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

              11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

              Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

              Advertising

              12. Visit a free festival

              Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

              13. Visit the zoo

                Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

                14. Take a road trip

                Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

                15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

                  Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

                  16. Make your own ice cream

                  Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

                  17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

                  Advertising

                    When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

                    18. Get a summer job

                    For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

                    19. Attend a charity event

                    Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

                    20. Visit a national park

                    National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

                    21. Visit your local comedy club

                      Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                      22. Make your own hammock

                        Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

                        Advertising

                        23. Read in your new hammock

                        Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                        24. Watch a movie outside

                        Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                        25. Take a hike

                          Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                          26. Learn how to fly a kite

                          As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                          27. Work out at the park

                          American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                          28. Take your dog to the beach

                            One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                            29. Make a summer smoothie

                            Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                            30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                            No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

                            Read Next