With tax season just around the corner, now is a better time than any to start your budget using a web-based budgeting tool. Optimally, the first time that you should be starting your budget is at the beginning of the year or beginning of the month. However, there is no better time than now to get started.
Back in 2005, I was introduced to Dave Ramsey by a coworker when I was living in Oklahoma City as a newly minted college graduate with her first real job. I didn't realize it at the time, but my coworker changed my financial future dramatically. Right out of college I was in debt about $15,000 in student loans. Even though I worked on average 32 hours a week in school, I still left school with some debt. I will say that if I had heard about Dave Ramsey sooner, I might not have left with that much money owed to Sallie Mae! $15,000 was a lot of debt for someone out of school. Granted, listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show, I fared better than some.
When I told my coworker at the time that I was close to buying a house with a very small down payment and a corresponding savings account that was minuscule at best, he (like any good parent would) firmly, but kindly, told me to pause. Even though my parents and my husband (boyfriend at the time) told me it was a bad idea, it took someone outside of my circle to convince me otherwise. Thank goodness he did. I'm not sure where I would be without his guidance!
Learning the fundamentals of basic saving, budgeting and investing from Dave Ramsey's baby steps and his repetition of it through others' stories from his radio show really put things in perspective for me on what's important.
Every Dollar Review - A Web-based Budgeting Tool
Since 2005, I have been keeping a budget and know to the penny where my money goes. I have been really excited about using the Every Dollar web-based budgeting tool. It ensures that you are planning out your money and your future. You can access it online from any computer as well as your phone!
There is a free version of the tool as well as a paid version. In short, the paid version allows you to bring in transactions from bank account so that you can easily drop them into different budget categories. While you aren't required to use the paid version to get started, it does make budgeting a little bit easier.
All you need to get set up is an email address at www.everydollar.com. Make sure you confirm your email address in your inbox after signing up!
Next up is setting up your budget categories. The budget categories come defaulted in, but you can rename and change them as needed. Note: The images below is a clean example of income and expenses, not my actuals. 🙂
For starters, you should list your monthly fixed bills firstand plan that way. For example, since I tend to be a data nerd, I like to know how much I eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I create categories for each of those areas. It is really customizable!
Start planning out your budget in the Planned column. Add categories as you get them in the first month. The first month is experimental and allows you to get the hang of things you want to see.
The next step is to add your transactions as you get them. It is way easier and better if you do it real time so that you KNOW how much you are spending. Its all behavior and less about mathematics! So if you do it real time using your mobile device, you can "feel" like you are spending the money (just like cash).
If you use the paid version of Every Dollar, you'll notice on the right that there are transactions that you can pull in and categorize so that you are not inputting it manually in the event that you don't want to do it real-time.
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. If you forget the Baby Steps, check out the Baby Step link on the right which will take you to a review so that you keep on track to living like no one else, so later you can live like no one else!
The ELP (endorsed local provider) section lists service/product providers that Dave Ramsey endorses who are vetted to have a heart like a teacher to help you along your financial journey. I've used the ELPs many times to bounce questions and ideas all the way to hiring them to be part of my financial planning.
The ELPs that I've worked with are always willing to answer my 50x questions to inform me before I finally land on a decision.
Next, the bottom right link takes you to a very well done Help Center to walk you through any questions you have. The Every Dollar Settings page is where you can upgrade to the paid version (that allows you to pull bank information automatically).
Check out Every Dollar yourself. You'll know where your money is going before you get it. You'll thank me later when you are living like no one else. Pin the image below to save this amazing web-based budgeting tool!