The push for financial literacy has reached an all-time high. States are beginning to require schools to teach financial education. This high school senior says that is a step in the right direction. Why? Research and studies reflect an alarming percentage of adults are financially illiterate. Only one-third of Americans have basic financial skills and many lack savings. They are not prepared to handle even a relatively small financial emergency. Worse, only 40% of Americans use a budget. While it can be difficult and tedious, budgeting remains an essential skill for staying financially stable. Let me repeat: Budgeting is an essential skill for staying financially stable.
Here is good news for those who want to take charge of their financial independence. Excellent and easy to use budgeting tools are available online to help you budget effectively. Lots of them.
This First-Generation Immigrant Budgets and You Can Too!
When my parents first moved to America, they had a very limited money supply. This situation meant it was critical to track every penny and get maximum value for it. Consequently, like many people and businesses, my parents decided to place a strong emphasis on budgeting in order to support our family and future.
At first, budgeting was difficult for them. Nevertheless, they persevered. It paid off. In the end, they were able to afford their education and a house.
While budgeting can be challenging, it is a proven process. It produces predictable and rewarding results. Very rewarding results!
The Way Forward
As we enter the technological age, budgeting using technology seems to be the best way forward. That is why I have personally helped my parents transition their finances to online accounts. It helps them budget far better than before. It gives them even better control of their personal finances.
Budgeting Online Means Budgeting Does Not Have to be a Bummer
As stated, consumers have lots of great tools and apps to choose from online to keep their personal finances in order and their futures free of debt. There are several benefits to managing your money online:
- You can aggregate your finances into one account.
- Family members can simultaneously add and track their purchases from the same account. This makes it easy for families to stay in control of their spending and wealth building habits.
- You can enter, update and review everything from your phone. It is instantaneous and time-efficient.
- Features like auto-updating from bank accounts add more accuracy to your accounting. That really comes in handy when making miscellaneous purchases.
- Online tools can act as a catalyst to get users to consume more thoughtfully. They can even have you stop, think, and visualize a purchase before you make it.
- Your expenses are categorized for you. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate expenses and assess whether you should lessen or eliminate them.
All these benefits mean budgeting does not have to be boring. Instead, budgeting can be your road map to riches and greater financial well-being.
Best in Class Budgeting Tools
Here are five of the best in class budgeting tools I discovered them through my own research. I have listed one or two of their features I find attractive.
Personal Capital’s budgeting and financial tool links accounts and predicts future costs. If you have a large portfolio, you can get personalized financial advice.
Mint’s budgeting tool reminds you when bills are due. It also monitors your accounts for unusual activity. Mint wants to make sure your accounts are safe and nothing goes wrong.
Although expensive, Quicken offers financial advice that includes recommending areas to cut spending. Users can create a personalized budget based on their priorities. Quicken also allows you to manage your own business if you have one.
YNAB’s strength is simplicity. It is perfect for people who want to avoid over-complicated charts and analysis that other sites offer. YNAB’s budget tool is forward-looking. It does not focus on past mistakes, but rather, on how to correct them moving into the future. YNAB wants users to understand their budget and be willing to budget.
Mvelopes targets people struggling financially. It offers user strategies to regain financial stability. It features a learning center that educates users on how to budget responsibly now and for the rest of their life.
- The responsibility for budgeting falls squarely on your shoulders, whether it is a bummer, burden or not.
- Technology can reduce the burden of budgeting. It makes budgeting far easier than it ever has been.
Finally, be forewarned, if you choose to operate without a budget, there is a good chance financial freedom and stability will not be in your future.
Rishab Gosalia is a senior at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey where is a member and officer in the school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).
You can learn more about Rishab and connect with him on LinkedIn – Rishab Gosalia
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