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 Keep 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

        1 50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time 2 The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely 3 7 Sell Your Stuff Apps That Will Get You Some Extra Cash in Hand 4 How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way) 5 How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on June 20, 2019

        50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

        50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

        Most people want a few more dollars in their wallets. But between an employer and family, the time most of us can devote to a second job is severely limited. Running a small side business can provide a few more options: you don’t have to show up at a set time and you can use skills you already have. Not all will be perfect for everyone, of course, and I’m sure that you’ll have a few ideas of your own after reading this list. If you’d like to share any other business ideas, please add them in the comments.

        1. Selling collectibles — From antique books to teddy bears, there are plenty of opportunities to buy and sell collectibles. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the collectible of your choice but if you choose something that you’ve been collecting for a while, you’ve got a head start.
        2. Locating apartments — It can take time to sort through apartment listings, but you can make some money by finding the perfect apartment for a renter.
        3. Baby proofing — New parents often prefer to bring in an expert to make sure their home is safe for a new baby.
        4. Calligraphic writing — If you’ve got elegant handwriting, you can pick up gigs writing or addressing wedding invitations, holiday cards and more.
        5. Selling coupons — Search on eBay for coupons right now and you’ll see thousands of listings for coupons. It’s just a matter of clipping and listing what you find in your Sunday newspaper.
        6. Pet training — A surprising number of people don’t know where to start in training a pet. Even teaching Rover simple commands like ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ can bring in a few dollars.
        7. Running errands — A wide variety of people want to outsource their errands, from those folks who aren’t able to leave their homes easily to those who have a busy schedule.
        8. Researching family trees — Amateur genealogists often call in experts, especially to handle research that has to be done in person in a far off place. If you’re willing to go to a local church and copy a few records, you can handle many family tree research requests.
        9. Supplying firewood — The prerequisite for selling firewood is having a source of wood; if you’ve got some land where you can cut down a few trees, you’ve got a head start.
        10. Hauling — As more people trade in their SUVs for compact cars, hauling is becoming more important: people have to rent a truck or hire a hauler for even small loads.
        11. Image consulting — Image consultants provide a wide variety of services, ranging from offering advice on appearance to teaching etiquette.
        12. Menu planning — For many people, the trip up in eating home-cooked or healthy meals is knowing what to prepare. Meal planners set a schedule to solve certain dietary problems.
        13. Microfarming — Cultivating food and flowers on small plots of land allows you to sell produce easily.
        14. Offering notary public services — Notary publics can witness and authenticate documents: a service needed for all sorts of official documents.
        15. Teaching music — If you’re skilled with a musical instrument, you can earn money by offering lessons.
        16. Mystery shopping — Mystery shoppers check the conditions and service at a store and report back to the store’s higher-ups.
        17. Offering research services — Just by reading up on a topic and compiling a report on it can earn you money.
        18. Personal shopping — Personal shoppers typically select gifts, apparel and other products for clients, helping them save time.
        19. Pet breeding — Purebred pets can be quite value, especially if you can verify their pedigree.
        20. Removing snow — During the winter months, shoveling walks can still be a reliable way to earn money. You might be asked to take care of the driveway too.
        21. Utility auditing — As people become environmentally-concious, they want to know just how efficient their homes are. With some simple testing, you can tell them.
        22. Offering web hosting services — Providing server space can be lucrative, particularly if you can provide tech support to your clients.
        23. Cutting lawns — An old standby, cutting lawns and other landscaping services can provide a second income in the summer.
        24. Auctioning items on eBay — Want to get rid of all your old stuff? Stick it up on eBay and auction it off.
        25. Babysitting — Child care of all kinds, from babysitting to nannying, can offer constant opportunities.
        26. Freelance writing — If you’ve got the skills to write clearly, you can sell your pen for everything from blogs to advertising copy.
        27. Selling blog and website themes — Do a little designing on the side? Customers that don’t want to pay full price for a website will often pay for a template or theme.
        28. Offering computer help — Particularly with people new to computers, you can earn money by providing in-home computer help.
        29. Designing websites — It may require a little skilled effort, but designing websites remains a reliable source of income.
        30. Selling stock photography — For shutterbugs, an easy way to put a photography collection to work is to post it to a stock photography site.
        31. Freelance designing — Check with local businesses: you can provide brochures, business cards and other design work and get paid a good fee.
        32. Tutoring — Math and languages reamin the easiest subjects to find tutoring gigs for, but there is demand for other fields as well.
        33. Housesitting / petsitting — Stopping in to check on a house or pet can earn you some money, and maybe even a place to stay.
        34. Building niche websites — If you can put together a site on a very specific topic, you can put targeted ads on it and make money quickly.
        35. Translating — The variety of translating work available is huge: written word, on the spot and more is easy to find even on a part-time basis.
        36. Creating custom crafts — No matter what kind of crafts you make, there’s likely a market for it. Etsy remains one of the easiest places to sell crafts.
        37. Setting up a wi-fi hotspot — With a little bit of equipment, you can set up a wi-fi hotspot and charge your neighbors for the access they’ve been ‘borrowing.’
        38. Selling an e-book — You can write an e-book about almost anything and put it up for sale online.
        39. Affiliate marketing — If you’re willing to market other companies’ products, you can earn a cut of the sales.
        40. Renting out your spare room — From looking for a long-term roommate to listing your guest room on couch surfing sites, that spare room can make you money.
        41. Offering handy man services — Handling small household tasks can provide you with plenty of work, although you’ll probably be expected to have your own tools.
        42. Teaching an online class — Share your expertise through a website, an online seminar or variety of other methods.
        43. Building furniture — For those with the skill to create handmade furniture, selling their creations is often just a matter of advertising.
        44. Providing personal chef services — Personal chefs prepare meals ahead of time for customers, leaving their customers with a full freezer and no mess.
        45. Event planning — From planning corporate events to bar mitzvahs, an event planning business can require plenty of work and offer plenty of pay.
        46. Installing home safety products — Particularly as Baby Boomers age, people able to install handrails and other home safety products are in demand.
        47. Altering / tailoring — If your sewing skills are up to par, altering garments is coming back as people try to stretch more wear out of their clothing.
        48. Offering in-home beauty services — Hair cuts, makeup and other beauty services that can be performed at home have a growing demand.
        49. Business coaching — Helping others to establish and develop their businesses can provide many opportunities to earn money.
        50. Writing resumes — Writing resumes can provide a reliable income, especially if you can put a polish on a client’s credentials.

        There are plenty of offers that claim to provide you with the opportunity to make thousands of dollars a week. Unfortunately, none of these businesses will provide that sort of income, but they aren’t scams either. They were chosen because they all require a minimum investment to get started — some require nothing more than a flyer advertising your business. Even better, if you do enjoy any of these businesses, there is a potential with most of them to continue to expand — perhaps even to the point of going full time.

        Advertising

        Featured photo credit: Omar Prestwich via unsplash.com

        Advertising

        Advertising

        Read Next