We’ve all heard the same piece of advice about handling money, especially within a relationship: make a budget! Sure, that sounds simple enough, right? Create a budget, stick to it, and all your troubles will melt away. In reality, though, we know it’s a little more complicated than that.
Budgeting is a great idea, but it’s one of those things that comes easily to some people and not so much for others. We probably all know someone who has the budgeting thing down. They’re probably a big numbers person, and they have their budget all mapped out. Like down to the dollar. And somehow, they manage to actually stick to it without much trouble at all.
That may seem like a fairytale to a lot of people. But don’t fear! There’s good news for those that want to work on their budgeting without it causing too much friction in their relationship. Lucky for us, we live in a time where we can download an app to our phones in seconds and have the budgeting resources we so desire. Isn’t technology awesome?
So, here are 3 budgeting tools you should look into if you need some help (which, most of us do). You’re bound to find at least one thing that will work for you and your partner when you’re deep in the trenches of managing your money. Don’t worry, we promise you’ll both make it out alive if you communicate, work together, and enlist the help of a trusted budgeting tool.
A Good Ol’ Spreadsheet
Ah yes, the classic budgeting tool that everyone and their mother already knows about. This one may seem too obvious, but really, it is a great tool for setting up a simple, no frills budget outline. You do need a basic understanding of Excel spreadsheets (or even Google Drive sheets) to create a budget. A spreadsheet will do the math for you, but only if you know how to program the cells to perform different calculations.
This is the tool for you if you (or your partner) have a good grasp on how to use spreadsheets, and you don’t want any extra bells and whistles. You just want to see the numbers, plain and simple. You can be free to customize the spreadsheet and add whatever categories apply to you and your partner. There’s not really a way to mess it up too badly if you know what you’re doing.
But maybe you’ve already tried out this option and it didn’t work for you. Either you haven’t quite mastered the ins and outs of Excel, or you want a little more than just staring at the numbers. There are great options for you, too!
The EveryDollar App is a product of Ramsey Solutions, a company that strives to help people manage their money more effectively. This app’s purpose is to help you know where every single one of your dollars is going. Without a clear budget, it’s easy to lose track of where all of your money goes. You might be spending more than you think when you’re not keeping track of each purchase. By the end of the month, you may find yourself wondering where all that money went.
The EveryDollar App was designed to prevent this from happening, by letting you set specific amounts you want to spend in each area of your budget. The tagline of the app says it best: “Tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” There is a free version and a premium version of this app, and the free version will work perfectly fine for those that don’t want to spend anything on their budgeting tool (after all, the reason you’re doing this is to save money, right?).
You can get everything set up in less than 10 minutes, which is fantastic. This app gives you the ability to create whatever categories you want, so you can personalize it to fit your specific needs. Every couple’s financial situation is different, so it’s important to have a tool that you can mold to fit your specific needs. There is also a feature that lets you create funds for the things you want to save up for. This makes it easy and more painless to set aside a certain amount each month. You can also track your due dates for things like rent and any subscriptions you pay for regularly.
EveryDollar seems to have everything you could need for getting into your budgeting groove with your partner. When you’re both able to track everything on the app, it gives you more room for clear communication and less room for arguing. More clarity and less frustration? We understand if you’re pulling out your phone to download it right now.
The Mint App by Intuit is another great option for those that want to track everything in one app. This app is completely free and claims to be the #1 most downloaded personal finance app. So it’s already looking like a winner. Mint lets you add all your cash, cards, investments, and bills so you can track all of your money.
It also tracks your subscriptions and lets you know if anything ever changes, so that you won’t spend extra money that you aren’t aware of. This feature is called Personal Mindsights. It provides personalized insights into how you can save more and spend more effectively. With Mint, you’re also able to create custom goals. Whether you’re saving up for that fancy coffee machine you’ve always wanted or a new car for your family, you can easily save and track your progress by using customized goals.
The specific budgeting feature is probably the main reason you’re here reading this, and you can rest assured that Mint’s custom budgets will help you. You can personalize your budget the way you and your partner need it, and Mint will give you visuals to see how much you’ve spent and how much you have left at any given moment. The app will notify you before you go over your set budget. There’s a bonus, too: it will also notify you when it spots areas the budget can improve on.
Bill tracking is another great feature of the Mint app. You won’t have to worry about missing a deadline and paying late fees ever again. On top of all that, Mint promises to keep your information and finances secure. With so many amazing (and free!) features, it’s no wonder that Mint is the most downloaded app of its kind.
If you desire more peace of mind regarding your money, you’re definitely not alone. These budgeting tools are certainly a great place for you and your significant other to start working toward being more financially conscious. But if you’ve read to this point and still haven’t considered the pros of a California prenuptial agreement, now is a great time! Whether you are already engaged or preparing to be, it’s a good idea to sit down with your partner and have a conversation about why a California prenup could work for you, and how it could bring you more of that peace of mind you’re searching for.