Thank you for looking...Heres the story:
The wife and myself are in the process of buying a home. So far we have everything lined up with a mortgage company and a realtor, and we are off to look at some places that are in our price range later this morning.
Up until now we have only rented apartments and are really getting sick of listening to loud ass people who live upstairs who seem to wear cinderblocks on their feet, and resort to yelling and screaming not only at eachother but the 2 small children aswell. It has come to a point were we just cantdo it anymore.
Ever since the wife and I have been together she has always been the one that takes care of the bills and makes all the phone calls. Well....thats about to change, Its not that she is so bad at doing it, its just she has trouble KEEPING a budget, which can cause us to aquire the occasional overdraft from the bank and a late payment from time to time. For me to ask if we will be ok if I was to buy something she hasnt a clue.
When I was single I had a notebook I kept all my information in dates, bills and a running tab of all expenses and I did pretty well..always had extra cash that went towards fun things and paying extra on the car or whatever.
I would like to get into a program that can utilize any online bill paying and provide charting applications in order to keep track of what Im paying and were I can expect us to be in a predetermined time frame.
I love to be organized, (Heres an example: My computer desk-Neat and clean CD's,papers and games have their place everything is in order. Wifes computer desk-Soda cans, and the printer is somewhere)
At this point I feel as if Im going to puke because I cant open a folder and see who ,what, where and why if you know what I meen.
What are the best home budgeting software programs out there that are still reasonably priced?
What do you use?
Quicken or MS Money, if your only use is budgeting buy the no frills version of either.
I use excel. I created a spreadsheet to track the check book (expenses in/expenses out). Each year has 1 spreadsheet with 12 tabs. Each tab is one month.
To me, it's not he software package that will keep you on budget. Your (and more importantly your wife's) financial discipline is what keeps the budget.
Here is way we do it:
1. All bills are paid out of the checkbook
2. The only checks we write are for bills, allowances and donations at Sunday service
3. No one carries the checkbook. It stays locked away to pay the bills. No one has an ATM card.
4. We each get an allowance which is used for whatever we want
5. We each have 1 credit card. That credit card is paid by the allowance. So, if you run up $200 on your CC, your allowance has $200 deducted to pay the card in the next month.
6. The grocery expense is paid by cash.
Here is my advice:
1. Sit down with your wife and get her input. Come up with a budget you can both live with. Don't be afraid to revisit the budget. We have revisited several times over the years.
2. When your income goes up, don't change your budget. Save the raise!
3. Create a buffer of $1,000 in the checkbook. Set it up so when you show $0, you really have $1,000.
4. Number 1, you should participate in your employers 401k just enough to get the match (it's free money).
5. First savings should be an emergency fund of 4-6 months of expenses.
6. After the emergency fund, save in Roth IRA.
7. After the Roth is maxed, Save 1/2 in 401k and 1/2 in non-retirement investments.
8. Buy the most expensive house you can afford.
9. Don't pay off your mortgage. Put any extra money in savings rather than your mortgage. (Read the most current Ric Edelman book)
10. Make sure you and your wife grow together. Go in her direction when it is important to her; have her go in your direction when it is important to you. Be 100% faithful. She is your partner for life. Do everything you can do to be united. Or get a prenup (probably too late).
Think long term. Start planning for retirement. Save Save Save.
Thank you for the replies,Ill be sure to take them all and see what works best.
Im always looking for more ideas and input.