You Need A Budget

The economy has a lot of us looking at our finances much more closely. Personal budgeting software is one way to keep a firm grip on your cash. While some just keep a simple list in Excel, or use a larger finance package like Quicken, there is some great software geared towards individual budgets.

You Need A Budget Pro (YNAB) is one of the more popular solutions. YNAB costs $50 and claims it will help anyone stop living from check to check. YNAB is very simple. The software is based on the premise that an effective budget looks forward, instead of just simply tallying past expenses. The software has 3 major modes – the “budget” mode, where you plan individual categories for monthly expenses, the “register” mode, where you write down what you actually spent, and the “reports” mode, that shows graphs of your spending. What sets YNAB apart from other budgeting software is its built-in emphasis on good budgeting practice. You are heavily encouraged to budget your income for the coming month, instead of blowing it all in the present. It also encourages you to budget down to $0 – so you assign all of your money to a purpose. As a personal solution, YNAB does what is does very well. If you expect a more in-depth finance package (say, something to help you balance your checkbook) YNAB won’t help. But if you’re looking to write a solid budget, and actually stick to it, YNAB is a great purchase.