4 Budgeting Tools To Try To Find Your Perfect Budgeting System

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There are several budgeting methods and tools to choose from, but finding the method that works for you is important.

You may be more of a pen and paper type of person or you might prefer taking advantage of technology and using an app. 

I’ve tried out all the budgeting methods listed in this article and I share my favorite budgeting method at the end!

Keep reading to see which method is my favorite. Here are 4 budgeting tools to try to find your perfect budgeting system!

Before we get started, make sure to sign up for my free resource library and get tons of free printables to help change your life. 


1. Budget Printables

Do you prefer using a pen and paper style of budgeting? If so, using printables might be your go-to budgeting system!

I love using the pen and paper method because I love physically writing things down and seeing my numbers on paper. There’s something different doing it this way versus seeing your numbers on a computer. 

How to get started:

Use the Monthly Budget Printable offered for free exclusively for my readers. Print the planner out in either black and white or color. The planner comes with a monthly budget planner and a debt thermometer to keep you motivated. It’s the perfect system and keeps things simple.  

I recommend checking in with your budget at least once a week on the same day. This gets you in the pattern of creating a healthy habit of checking in with your budget. 

Who this method is good for:

  • People who prefer written-style budgeting
  • People who don’t want to pay for budgeting services

2. Cash Envelopes

Cash envelopes are amazing for people who have trouble overspending. I just started using this method of budgeting because I tend to overspend in 5 categories (pets, groceries, coffee, restaurant, and fun money). 

I used envelopes we had around the house and decorated them myself. In the future, I may use my graphic design skills and create my own envelopes and put them in my shop or free resource library. 

How to get started:

Getting started with cash envelopes is easy. All you have to do is find some envelopes around the house and decorate them yourself. You can also buy cash envelope systems off Amazon.

I kept things simple and only created cash envelopes for areas I overspend in: food, pet, restaurant, coffee, and fun money. I recently started crocheting and overspending in my fun category is so easy when I keep buying more yarn. 

Who this method is good for:

  • People who have trouble overspending
  • People who prefer using cash
  • People who spend with their credit card too easily 

Right now, I’m using envelopes I bought from the store (and decorated myself). I do plan on buying the All-In-One Cash Envelope Wallet once I get to next month’s “fun” money spending.

The All-In-One Cash Envelope comes with 1 wallet and 12 envelopes, 12 budget sheets, and 1 binder note for organizing. 

You can get the All-In-One Cash Envelope Wallet here.

3. Budgeting App

Budgeting apps are one of my go-to ways to track my spending. After using EveryDollar for the past 12 months, I’ve decided I do great with budgeting, but don’t do the best with keeping my spending low in my *fun* categories, which is why I’m adding cash envelopes to my budgeting system.

EveryDollar is a bit on the pricey side at $129.99 annually, but I’ve found it’s by far the best compared to other budgeting apps.

Mint is another popular budgeting app that costs nothing, but has a ton of ads and overall looks cluttered in my opinion, but I still have an account with them. Mint has other features that I like such as financial goals, investments, etc. 

How to get started:

Choose from one of the many budgeting apps. It can easily get overwhelming finding an app to start with, so I recommend checking out EveryDollar, Mint, or YNAB. I’ve been using EveryDollar for the past year and I love how easy it is to use compared to Mint or YNAB. 

Who this method is good for:

  • Anyone who prefers technology (apps) over pen and paper
  • People who like the convenience of using an app (drag and drop expenses into categories)

4. Budgeting Notebook

Similar to a printable planner, a budgeting notebook is another pen and paper method that many people like using. 

I recently bought the Clever Fox Budget Planner to see if I’d recommend it to others on my blog, and I love it. The planner was less than $20 when I bought it and lasts a full year. It even comes with over 85 stickers! 

How to get started:

Purchase the Clever Fox Budget Planner (or any budget planner) and start planning out your budget, financial goals, etc. Similar to the budget planner, it’s important to check in with your budget planner regularly.  

Who this method is good for:

  • People who prefer pen and paper
  • People who don’t want to pay for budgeting services

I have the Clever Fox Budget Planner (as shown below) and it’s another great option for people who enjoy the pen and paper method of budgeting. 

You can get the Budget Planner here.

There are so many budgeting tools and resources to choose from.

So what’s my favorite budgeting method?

I’ve found that it’s easy for me to overspend if I’m using a card, so when I’m REALLY trying to spend less, I love the cash envelope system.

I only use cash envelopes for discretionary spending (which is anything that is NOT necessary).

My cash envelopes consist of: fun money, food money, pet money, coffee money, and restaurant money.

Those are the 5 categories I tend to overspend on, so taking out cash at the beginning of the month and limiting myself to only spending that cash has been SO helpful.

I hope today’s post has been helpful! You can get started budgeting today with free or paid tools, you just have to find what method works best for you. 

If you need help spending less money, I recommend:

  • Get cash back with Ibotta. Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back for making purchases on things like groceries, clothes, toiletries, and much more. It’s silly not to use Ibotta if you’re a regular grocery shopper and also have to buy things like clothes, toiletries, and pretty much anything else you’d find at a store like Walmart or Amazon. If you sign up now, you can get $10 in your account by using my link here. If you’re downloading Ibotta on your phone, the app will ask if you have a referral code. Use my referral code: lwyxxrb and you’ll get $10 for signing up. 
  • Plan your meals ahead of time. Prepping your meals ahead of time gives you the benefit of making sure you don’t run out to a restaurant last minute, which helps both your wallet and health. $5 Meal Plan eliminates all of the meal planning and worrying and gives you everything you need in order to succeed.
  • Billshark. Billshark is a MUST for anyone who has a cell phone, cable, internet, or insurance bill and wants to lower their bill. And trust me, it works because I’ve used it myself on 3 different bills and I’ve saved $290.You can start lowering your bills with Billshark here.
  • Ebates. Ebates is awesome for anyone who regularly shops online. Even if you only online shop 1x a month, you’ll still get cash back on your online purchases. All you have to do is find the store you shop at online on Ebates and then start shopping.

Don’t forget to sign up for the free resource library and get exclusive access to free printables & planners related to saving and making money, meal planning, and more!

Which budgeting tool do you use? 

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