I often get asked what kind of software or phone apps I recommend for people who are looking to make and stick to a budget. There are some good ones out there that a lot of people use, including mint.com, YNAB (You need a budget), and The Total Money Makeover gazelle budget. But my answer to that question is always: whatever budget gets you to spend less than you make.
Budgeting can be as easy or as hard as you make it. So if you are a details person, having a piece of software that breaks down your spending into subcategories might be something that you really need. But be careful; some of these software tools are not really budgets. Instead they are more like tracking systems and tell you what you spent your money on over a particular period, not how you are going to spend your money going forward.
If you are not really a detail person and just want something basic, try some of the budgets we have on our free financial resources page. As long as you are keeping track of where your money is going each month and spending less, it does not really matter what you are using to do that. What does matter is if you are doing one!
Ultimately, whatever budgeting resource you decide to use is not a magic pill and will not magically make you manage your money better. A budget shows you how to spend your money for the month but it does not stop you from going out and blowing all your money on the latest gadget. YOU have to do that! But if the technology we have today helps you get a better handle on how to spend your money, then go for it!
What budget software or apps do you use to budget? I would love to hear what your family uses in the comment section below!