Tracking your spending is now easy for all
A budget is no longer a tool that only an accountant or bookkeeper knows about. Technology has made the budget widely accessible to all. And it's not only a tool for companies, nor a tool for the wealthy, according to Priya Naicker, advice manager at Old Mutual.
If you want to draw up your own budget, the easiest way is to download one of many budgeting tools available online. Just google "household budget templates", or "domestic
budget templates" to find a plethora of templates.
Most of these are Excel spreadsheets but you don't have to know how to use Excel to use these tools.
Your job is to enter the numbers and the tool will calculate the rest for you.
If you're tech savvy there are many apps - often for free. Apps like Old Mutual's 22Seven can gather information on your income and expenses directly from your bank account. It breaks down your expenditure into categories as you spend.
"This helps you see exactly what you're spending on and how much as you go," Naicker says.
Frank Magwegwe, managing director of Thrive Financial Wellness, says these apps have revolutionised the way people can get into the habit of working with a budget as they are readily accessible. Budgeting has now become easy, so really no one should have an excuse for failing to budget.
"There is power in knowing where your money is going," he says. "Think of your budget as a financial GPS. It gives you direction as to where you want to go."
The following are some of the apps you can use:
• 22seven owned by Old Mutual is free for any users. You can connect your bank accounts and credit cards to pull in up-to-date data
about your income and expenses and then track these against a budget you create;
• MyFintrack - created by Momentum is also free for any
users. It can also pull in your income and spending data from any South African bank and credit card account and track these against a budget;
• MyFinancial Life - from Nedbank has a budgeting tool which can be used by anyone. It also allows you to connect all your accounts to automatically populate your budget and help you track your expenses or you can import a spreadsheet downloaded from your bank with your info.
• MyMoney - from accounting software provider Pastel offers a free app on which you can enter your expenses to track against a budget. It can also draw in your income and expenditure data from your bank
accounts for R15 a month.
• GoodBudget – you set your own spending allocations or “envelopes” on the web or cellphone app.
Then enter the amount each time you spent and from which envelope it should come. When the envelope is empty, stop spending on that spending category or your budget won't balance.
There are many budget templates provided by banks for those who use pen and paper. There are great Excel templates as well.