Budget and Finance Tools We Use

In this page you’ll find the budget and finance tools that we personally use. We don’t list anything that we haven’t actually used or currently use. You’ll see actual screenshots of some of these tools in our posts and we will try to answer questions that you may have.

Budgeting

YNAB is a budgeting tool that uses a completely different method than you may be familiar with. It does not consider future income in the budgeting equation.

“Normal” method:

  • I make $4,000 per month
  • I spend $3,000 per month on fixed expenses
  • I have $1,000 per month for other goals

YNAB” method:

  • I have $2,000 in my account currently
  • That $2,000 needs to get me to my next paycheck
  • I will spend $1,500 on fixed expenses and $500 on other goals to get to my next paycheck

The critical difference is that YNAB does not consider future income into the equation. The intent is that current money needs to get you to the next paycheck. They have excellent videos to help and we’ll try my best too if needed but we’re pretty new at it. They offer a free 34 day trial and it costs $50/year afterwards. So far we’ve really found it to be worth it.

Tracking Net Worth

So we actually do this a number of ways depending on what we’re looking for. The first is a simple spreadsheet where on the first of each month we update each account’s value and then do a sum function. Pretty simple right?

The second method is using Personal Capital

Personal Capital is essentially a Net Worth and Investment tracking tool. They focus less on budgeting and more on long term goals and they have some pretty nifty graphs too:

The service from Personal Capital is free with only one catch: they try to sell their investment advisor service to you. So, if you can ignore the sales pitch, which isn’t too in your face, then it really can be an excellent tool.