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Additional tool for a budget

Last week, I shared how we have started a budget and that it is KILLING me.  I gave a link to a very helpful tool.  One that can go on your iPhone, you iGoogle page or you can use the full version on the wonderful world wide web.

Today I want to share another tool that is extremely helpful in many additional ways.

Last week’s tool, ExpenseView is very helpful to help you define your budget.  It is a simple way to track your spending and determine how much you are spending and where you are spending it.

This week’s tool, Mint.com takes it to the next level.

Once you have determined how much you can spend on each category, you can take the totals and create categories with your defined amount.

With Mint, you can pull updates from your banking accounts, your charge cards, your 401k, your everything.  So then when you buy groceries at Kroger with your debit card, you will see a line item that says “Kroger -$55.64.”   Then you can break it out by groceries and household.  If you have gone over budget on your household items you’ll get an alert that tells you that you are over budget.  I love seeing how much I’ve spent in a category and how much I have left for the month.

It will take time to get it set up.  To fill in all of your categories and to determine your allowance per category will take a chunk of time.  But once it is done, it’s done.  And you can analyze it on a daily bases.

One of the things that I really like about Mint.com is that it has a summary page that tells you how much you have left on your car or your mortgage plus your balances in checking and savings.  I like knowing what my goals are.

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Last week there were some great suggestions in the comments.  One was to over budget in a few categories a little bit so that you will be able to move something into savings.  Another one said to stick it out and eventually you’ll be really glad you are doing a budget.  She also said to have a bit of a “slush fund” for yourself.

What’s the longest you’ve been able to stick to a budget?  How’d you make it work?

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