Free Budgeting Resources for 2014

Want to get your finances in order in 2014? Here are some free resources to help you get started.

Dave Ramsey

Download a free copy of Dave Ramsey’s Guide to Budgeting.

Mint

Set up a free online Mint.com account to track your income and outgo and stick with your budget.

Savings Tracker

Free Savings Tracker: Would you like to know how much you’re really saving by using coupons? You can download the free 2014 Savings Tracker and do just that and more!

yearly budget calculator

Create a budget for the year and calculate the difference between your budgeted and actual expenses with this free Yearly Budget Calculator from Vertex42.

Kiplinger

Work out a proposed household budget with this Household Budget Worksheet from Kiplinger.

Budge Tracker

Get out and stay out of debt with the free BudgetTracker.com.

Are there any free online budgeting tools you use not included in this list? Please let us know in the comments.

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21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 2

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 2 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge and we’re broaching the “B” word. Yes, we’re talking about budgets.

I know, I know. It’s not glamorous. It’s not fun. And it sounds restrictive.

But here’s the thing: A budget can best one of the best ways to save your sanity and simplify your Christmas. Knowing exactly how much (or little!) you have to spend, will help you to plan your gifts and your shopping accordingly. And will guarantee that you don’t begin the new year with the burden of credit card debt from your holiday spending.

A budget gives you freedom. It lets you be in control of your money — not the other way around. You get to choose how much you’re going to spend and then be intentional about spending it.

When you have a plan, you are empowered. No longer do you have to worry whether you’re going to have enough money to cover your expenditures or whether you’re going to max out your credit cards. You know what you have to spend and that’s what you spend.

Approach your Christmas budget with a can-do, creative attitude. Don’t be frustrated or stressed over how little you have to spend and how many gifts you need to buy. Instead, see it as a challenge: how far can you make your budget go? Your attitude will go a long way in whether or not you are successful at sticking with your budget!

You can do this. I’m cheering for you!

Day 2 Project

1. Read chapter 1 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Decide on a workable, realistic Christmas budget. Don’t stress over this — just pick a number that you know is doable with the resources you currently have. If it feels too low but it’s all you have, don’t feel badly. We’re going to be talking about creative ways to maximize the mileage of your Christmas budget in the next week.

3. Come back at around 9 p.m. EST tonight and I’ll have a follow-up post sharing about our Christmas budget, plus encourage you to leave a comment telling us about yours.

Get a FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas

Get Your FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring A Simple Christmas

Psst! Be sure to download your FREE Christmas ebook. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

To get a copy, just fill out your name and email address here. Then, click on the link in your inbox to confirm your email address. You’ll be emailed a download link as soon as you do so. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

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New budgeting tool from Dave Ramsey: My Christmas Budget

My Christmas Budget

The Christmas shopping season is upon us! Don’t let your spending get out of hand and ruin your budget.

For a helping hand, check out the new budgeting tool from Dave Ramsey called My Christmas Budget.

More than a simple budgeting tool, My Christmas Budget will help you get and stay organized for this season’s Christmas shopping. The My Christmas Budget website is mobile-friendly, so you’ll always have your Christmas shopping budget at your fingertips.

To learn more, read 5 Ways Our Christmas Budgeting Tool Will Change Your Life from Dave Ramsey.

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Ask Jesse: Where should we put our tax refund money?

Today’s question is from Jessica:

Jesse,
We recently moved into a home that needs work, we also received money from our tax refund and do not want to blow through this. Where should we put our money that will draw interest and be able to access if needed? This is the first time we will actually be able to save our tax refund instead of using it on our home taxes as our mortgage now is all included. -Jessica

Hi Jessica, getting a tax refund always feels good. Like you said, it is important not to blow through it and later find you could have used it more wisely instead of buying that big new toy you’ve always dreamed about.

If I were in your shoes, I would make sure our emergency fund is built up to what we would need should all other sources of income shut off for six months, especially if you are looking at making some sizable repairs to your house in the future that could be a drain on any excess income you have coming in.

I have always used either a money market account at our local bank or an online account that ties to my local bank that I could easily get to if needed for emergency fund and other savings. The reason was solely for the ease of access.

I never really took the interest rate into account (except for the fact that it was higher than the usual savings account) because quick access to me outweighed the return I would get due to interest because the account was not set up for long-term use, other than the emergency fund.

Jesse Paine is a licensed attorney who owns his own law firm. He’s married to Crystal and is the numbers nerd of the MoneySavingMom.com team! If you have a question you’d like him to answer in a future column, you can submit it here.

The content of this column intended for informational use only and is not to be construed as providing legal, investing, accounting, or other professional advice. Your situation is factually specific and you should accordingly seek qualified professional counsel concerning your specific legal, investing or accounting needs.

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5 Ways a Cash Budgeting System Will Change Your Life

I’m honored to have an article up on AllYou.com today titled 5 Ways a Cash Budgeting System Will Change Your Life.

Whether you’re struggling to stay afloat financially, or just trying to save money and make smarter spending choices, you should consider a cash budgeting system.

In our family, we use cash-only for most expenses, including groceries, gifts, clothing, miscellaneous items and eating out. This means we allot a set amount to each category monthly, then place that exact amount of cash in individual envelopes labeled for each expense at the beginning of every month.

Here are five reasons I’d encourage you to consider setting up your own cash budgeting system:

1. A Cash Budget Gives You Freedom

For many, just the word “budget” has negative connotations. However, a budget doesn’t have to be restrictive. In fact, for my husband and me, it has had the opposite effect — the boundaries of a budget have given us a freedom we didn’t have before. For example, we don’t have to worry that if we buy groceries, we won’t be able to pay our electric bill.

Head on over to AllYou.com to read the full article.

PSST! Want to chat with other frugal folks about ways to spend less this summer? I’ll be hosting a live chat on the All You Facebook Page next Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST and we’ll be talking about how to save money on summer activities and family road trips! 

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