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5 Free Budget Tools

by Kay Lynn

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Last week one of my co-workers mentioned he needed a tool to aid with budgeting.  This was a timely question because I have the same quandary now that I’ve graduated from Financial Peace University (FPU).

I have been using the Gazelle Budget web-based program during FPU, but my access was shut off last week.  I could renew for $67.50 a year, but there are so many good budget programs or websites that I decided not to pay.  (Besides doesn’t it seem weird that Dave Ramsey teaches you how to better manage money for 13 weeks and then wants to charge you that much to continue using the budget program?)

Free Budget Tools

Gazelle Budget Lite. This is a free version of the program which helps you create and print a budget.  This is all you can do as there is no ability to even save the information let alone track actuals versus budgeted.  I would pass on this one.

Mint.com. This is a feature-packed offering that helps you budget, track income and expenditures and charts it out. It also includes alerts of upcoming bills AND is free. Now, this may be a generational preference but I just do not want to give the website access to my financial institution accounts. This feature also does not help me since I do much of my discretionary spending with cash.

Enemy of Debt. Enemy of Debt (aka Brad Chaffee) offers a free budget excel download that includes sheets for the budget, checkbook register and savings allocations. He is a Dave Ramsey TMMO devotee (TMMO stands for Total Money Makeover and is Dave’s secular version of FPU). Because of this orientation, the budget sheet includes an allocated spending area to aid in tracking actual spending (both cash and credit).

Budgets are Sexy. Not only does J. Money have his own budget tool available free for download, he has a page providing free budget templates from other personal finance blogs and lists websites such as Mint.com. Now, that’s service!

SimpliFi. This is a nice website for general planning.  Just input your assets and debits and it will give you a snapshot and letter Grade of where you are today.  In the tools area document all income and expenses for a spending plan.  I like that it remembers crossover information from the first step for items that pertain (e.g., auto payment).  I like that it is intuitive and well-designed but it doesn’t track actual versus budgeted spending.

My Choices

I have selected two  tools to aid in managing my personal finances.  Next week when I prepare my first monthly plan without Gazelle Budget I will be using Enemy of Debt’s spreadsheet.  The allocated spending area tipped the scales for me. My financial picture will be tracked quarterly using SimpliFi. I like how easy I can enter the information and get a picture (literally) of my net worth and grade.

My co-worker liked Mint.com which is the site I mentioned off the top of my head. Hopefully he’ll read this post and take a look at the rest of the worthy options out there.

Related Posts:
What is a Zero-based Budget
Financial Peace University Graduation

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad August 16, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Hey thanks a lot for including my free budget for your readers. Much appreciated!

Just so you are aware, I will be publishing an upgrade from 2.0 to 3.0 coming this fall. I will be providing tutorials and budgets to print for those that do not like spread sheets, and much more.

Thanks again and congratulations in completing FPU! :)

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Bucksome August 16, 2009 at 8:28 pm

I’m looking forward to the new version and thank you for such a great tool!

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J. Money August 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Sweetness! Thx for including my budgety roundup my new friend :) Glad to see you picked up Brad’s as well – very very cool guy who’s got some mad passion for this sorta stuff.

Just don’t get him on the subject of credit cards, he’ll call you a slave! (you hear that Brad? whatcha know about it? haha….)

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Bucksome August 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

You are so welcome! I’ve enjoyed your blog and are happy to send my humble readership your way.
P.S. Thanks for the advice about Brad…

Reply

Brad August 29, 2009 at 10:15 am

hahaha, I hear ya J. Good thing for you that you don’t carry a balance or I would call you one too. ;) lol

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