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My new, free budgeting tool

January 8th, 2008 at 10:36 am

I need something I can access both at work and at home because I do my budget updates and adjustments whenever I can fit them in. I've been using saved draft emails in my Yahoo account. It was free, and I could access it anywhere there was Internet access. The drawbacks were that I had to do all my calculations myself, creating more room for error, and that Yahoo occasionally freaked out when I tried to save things. The last time it messed up one of my documents, I got fed up. AS told me about my new favorite online tool...

Google documents! It's great--you log in from the Google home page and you can upload or create Word docs or Excel spreadsheets. I opted to change all my draft-email documents into spreadsheets so the program would do my math for me from now on. It didn't take long to figure out how to do that. Everything's so much easier to read, too, since I can use different cells, boldface, colors and text alignment to enhance readability. I'm sure I'll have to iron out some kinks someday, but the first day on it has been wonderful.

I recommend it if someone's just trying to track simple things, like budgeting a month out--that's the main thing I track: income in and expenses out for about a month and a half in advance. I also have separate spreadsheets for tracking total household debt broken out by individual debt, short-term (fun money) savings, and a generic monthly budget that lists paychecks, bills and allotted money and shows what should be left over in a perfect world.

5 Responses to “My new, free budgeting tool”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    That's not a bad tip and I hope more people will catch on to it.

    I found a PDA program that has worked beautifully over the years for me, so I can do my personal finance stuff right off my cellphone, even when I am away from a computer and internet access.

    However, anything beyond that, such as bill paying, ACH transfers, and more, then I use Google as well. Specifically, iGoogle. I have one tab that contains all the financial news from several websites there, and another tab containing all the quick market summaries and investment tools there.

    Oh, and I also recommend their Google notebook for note-taking. Oh yeah, and there's googlepages if you feel the need to make free web pages. Wow. Should've bought stock in Google from way back then eh?

  2. Mr. Meager Says:

    I discovered Google Docs a few months ago and used to track spending when on trips or when I know I am not going to have access to excel. I do find it a pain when calculations got complicated. Before USB memory keys came along, I used to upload files to Yahoo!'s briefcase feature. As a matter of fact, I think I still have files there that I need to clean up.

  3. ldyfaile Says:

    Totally! I love Google Docs. I've been using it for my spreadsheet budget ever since Google Docs came out. I have one sheet for every month (cuz I'm weird like that). I have been using it for about a year. I make one master template for the month, what I should spend, and then copy it to a new sheet when a new month comes around and fill in what I actually spend. Love it!

  4. cptacek Says:

    I have been using excel because my work computer and my home computer have it, and I save it as an attachment to a draft in my gmail account. But my DH's (my first time to use that acronym !!!) computer does not have excel, only OpenOffice, so I've been thinking of changing them to use google docs (sometimes when openoffice converts to excel, or vice versa, some of the formatting gets messed up.)

  5. Harei Says:

    I discovered a great little online personal budgeting website that is totally free and truly anonymous. It lets you open your private budget account with just your e-mail and asks nothing more from you.

    You are immediately given a great looking, easy to use straight forward budget page, and you can also generate monthly reports to your e-mail for safe keeping before end-of-month closing and starting a new month. The budget categories are not user modifiable but the set is very rich and flexible covering just about any practical category plus a few catch all miscellaneous category, not a bad deal for a free utility. And there is an instant super easy to use online users billboard that holds discussions among users and the developer too.

    The website is at:
    http://www.myexp.org/OOTD_gate.php

    Happy budgeting.

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