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How a budget can get you through the unstable economy

8/17/2011 in Budgeting Tips
With the unpredictable fluctuations in today’s economy, having a budget is a smart way to pay off your debts or save up a nest egg for when times get tough. Our budget calculator provides you with an easy way to set budgets on your accounts and categories so you can work toward saving some extra money.

Using a budget calculator will help keep your spending in line and help you purchase only what you need to in order to help stop yourself from buying unnecessary items. By setting up a budget for your spending categories, you can make sure you’re not going over your budgets. It’s also a great way to see if you have enough money in your budget to purchase something new.

After setting up a budget and following it, that extra money can be put toward paying off debts or saving up for a new purchase. With investments as shaky as they have been, paying off debts is a great way to get your feet on solid ground so once the financial markets even out, you can feel better about investing money since you don’t have any debt hovering over your head.

If you don’t have any debts, you can use the money you save to make new purchases. Saving up for a vacation or a new car is a great excuse to set up a budget and track all the money you’re saving. You’ll be amazed at how much a budget can help you reduce your spending. In conjunction with our spending reports, you’ll know exactly how much you’re currently spending and that’s a great way to figure out how much you should budget for your various spending categories and accounts.

Creating a budget is extremely easy. Simply look at how much you’re spending now in your various categories and accounts, then figure out how much you can reduce the spending and still have enough money to live. Take that number and enter it into your budget and we’ll track how close you get to it as you enter your transactions into the site.

Even if you think you don’t need to set a budget because you’re making more than you’re spending, you’ll be surprised how much money you’re spending on things you don’t need. You can then use all that money you save by following your budget to treat yourself or invest in your retirement. Budgeting isn’t just for people who are struggling financially, budgets can help anyone who is looking to save some money.

Using our Budget Calculator Tool

5/18/2011 in Budgeting Tips
ClearCheckbook’s budget calculator too, simply known as Budgets in the site, is a great way to set monthly budgets and track your spending in various accounts and categories. To get to the budgets page, simply log into your account and click on the “Budgets” link in the main navigation menu. If you’ve already added some budgets, they will show up as a list on this page. You can also add new budgets / spending limits from here.

Adding a budget:
To add a new budget to the site, go to the Budgets page and scroll to the Create a Limit form. On this form you will enter the amount you want your monthly budget to be, then whether it’s for all your accounts, a specific account or a specific category. Next, you select what day you want the budget calculator to reset your budget. By default it’s set to the 1st of the month, so on that date, the amount spent will reset.

There are also a few options you can choose from. “Rollover” allows you to tell the budget calculator that you want any money you didn’t spend on the budget to be added to the next month’s budget. “Include Transfer” tells the system to include any transfers into the budget. “Include Deposits” tells the system that it should deduct any deposits you’ve made to the budget from the amount spent.

Viewing your budgets:
You can view your budgets from the Budget page, or by adding a dashboard gadget to your Dashboard page. Each budget will list the name of the budget (which you can click on to be taken to a search page that shows all transactions included in the budget), the amount you’ve spent, the actual spending limit for the budget, how much money you have remaining in the budget, a colored bar representing how close you are to reaching your budget, an options column that shows any additional options you selected and a column for editing or deleting the budget.

Editing your budgets:
Editing a budget is as easy as clicking the Edit link next to the budget you want to modify. Clicking that link will take you to a form that behaves exactly like the Create a Limit form. Simply modify your settings and save it.

Deleting a budget:
To delete a budget, simply click the Delete button next to the budget you want to delete and confirm that you really want to delete it. It will then remove the budget from our budget calculator.

Our budget calculator is a great way to stay on top of your spending. By setting realistic spending limits, you can track how close you’re getting to exceeding your budget. It’s also a great tool if you’re trying to save some money. You can adjust your budgets to a lower amount to try and force yourself to cut back in certain areas.

If you’re a premium member, you can also see a history of your budgets and how much you’ve spent compared to what the spending limit of your budget actually was. This is a helpful way to go back and see if you need to adjust a budget if you’re consistently going over or under the spending limit.

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