Friday, April 3, 2009

Budgeting that works (make it easy)

Knowledge itself is not sufficient for change, but rather the application of knowledge is what brings about real change. Personal finance is simply not that complicated. Anyone with an Internet connection can Google personal finance and find literally 72 million sites offering advice, resources, and strategies for personal financial success. All advice on personal finance is given on the basis that the hearer will enact specific recommended course of action. Often recommended methods will simply not work for a given lifestyle. Cash in a monthly envelope with labels on the front may work for some but is simply not practical for my family in 2009.

For the past 6 months my wife and I have turned to Mint a wonderfully simple personal finance site owned by our trusted friends at Motley Fool. Basically Mint allows us to categorize our purchases and set budgets, reminders, and warnings. Similar to a Quicken or Money product but much more accessible through online only interface with optional iPhone apps and mobile support. Overall I can say that Mint has lowered the bar for tracking personal finances especially when juggling multiple accounts, credit cards, by numerous family members. If you primarily utilize electronic purchasing (credit cards, debit, etc) Mint could be just the enabling type of service you need to finally stick to that budget.