When we meet a young person who is an excellent budgeter, we ask them how they learned this skill so early. Time and time again, they answer by saying that their parents sat down every week (yes, weekly) to go over their family budget. This parental modeling transferred to how they behaved as a young adult.
Many of us do not feel joy at the prospect of setting budgets and categorizing expenses. We’re often subject to the entire emotional-practical budgeting spectrum – from avoidance, to vagueness, to a general idea, to crystal clear clarity. If you’re someone who’s avoided this process in the past, you might find technology can make a dreaded task much more enjoyable .
Budgeting tools have evolved over the last few decades. From pencil and paper to excel spreadsheets, where you could download transactions from a bank account, created your own categories and type in a category for each expense, the process was laborious. If you’ve ever used these methods, you know it can cause the shoulders to seize and the eyes to cross. Now there are online website which do most of the categorizing for you. Mint.com is a popular version, but there are many.
Thanks to these tech advancements\ Staying on top of what you’ve spent and where, is a breeze. The charts and graphs help the clarity needed to keep you on track and make adjustments as needed. Both the app and the website, while slightly different in functionality, are intuitive and thorough.
The clarity these programs provide also makes it easy to discuss the family budget with your kids. These days, you might be sitting around the iPad instead of the dinner table, but the benefit of budgeting and modeling this behavior for your children will be the same.