Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tightwad tuesday: know your cash flow

Nothing gives you a reality check like seeing in black and white where your money is actually going. Personal finance software is a valuable tool because it provides all kinds of graphs and charts that show you exactly how much you spend on what (the caveat being, of course, that you do have to be unflinchingly honest in tagging your purchases; e.g. those new red patent peeptoe pumps don't really belong in the "household items" category).

For a long time Jim and I used Microsoft Money to track our expenditures, but last month Microsoft announced they would be discontinuing Money, so Jim started shopping around for new personal finance software. There are a lot of good options on the market, but if you really want to cut costs (like we did), you may want to consider one of the many free financial programs available online. (Incidentally, we decided to go with Mint.com.)

Makinglifebetter.com also has a great little article about using electronic budgeting tools as a springboard to make over your budget and really get a handle on your spending.

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