Why I don’t like online budgeting tools

The reason may surprise you.

I am a big believer in living on a budget. I feel like pretty much everyone should have a spending plan that shows where their money is going to go so that they can use it as wisely as possible.

But even though I think budgeting is extremely important, I’m not a big fan of budgeting apps that help with this process. Here’s why.

Sometimes the old budgeting method is better

While online budgeting tools can make budgeting easier, the big problem I have is that they can sometimes make things a little too easy and without intervention.

I think the budgeting process shouldn’t be all about setting spending limits and figuring out where you want your money to go. Budgeting can and should help you make value-based decisions about what is most important. It can also be a reality check that helps you see where you’re overspending and whether you’re sticking to your plans.

When using apps to automate expense tracking, allocate income, or see where you’ve gone over or under your budget, it’s far too easy to skip those steps and not really embrace what you’re doing with your money.

In contrast, sitting down with a calculator and a piece of paper requires you to be more attentive. For example, by adding up all those lunch credit card receipts and seeing how many times you’ve spent an extra $ 10 here or there, you can bring home that you overspend – much more than just see your expenses on a neat graph, or on a report in your budgeting software.

Likewise, deciding which expense categories to include in your spreadsheet or budgeting list and manually allocating your income between them requires you to think about how you are allocating your hard-earned dollars and whether that aligns with your goals.

If you use budgeting software that does the math for you or provides expense category suggestions, you won’t have the full experience of analyzing where you want to spend money and work. so that everything goes into your income.

How to make your budget?

While I think ideally you should use a calculator and a notebook to budget (especially at the start), I realize that not everyone has the time or the patience to do this.

If you’re not interested in crafting a handwritten budget, using a spreadsheet to create one can give you some of the convenience of modern technology while still being intimately involved in the process. .

If you don’t even want to do that much work, using budgeting software is much better than not having a budget. But if you’re having trouble meeting your goals, or struggling to stay on budget, try the spreadsheet or pen-and-paper method for about a month and see if it makes a difference. You might be surprised at how powerful the old-fashioned budgeting process is.

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