Hi, I was looking at the description for Menvelopes and it looks like a good program, but it’s only available in the US and Canada. Do people know of a similar program that works outside the continental US, perhaps not a program that actually accesses databases, but which helps plan budgets proactively rather than as a result after the fact, as Quicken does. I have Quicken, but agree with the blurb about it in Menvelopes that it is giving you a report after the fact of what you spent, hoping you do better the next month. A program that would help you determine what you can logically spend prior to spending would be good to know about. I’m not the best person for doing a budget and sticking to it.
You can do the Envelopes thing by yourself and a lot cheaper. Here is how….
Take an envelope for every bill you pay. Then also take extra for clothes, food, entertainment, car repairs, furniture, and even one for “rainy day.”
At the beginning of each month determine how much each envelope gets.
If you can’t give each envelope money then, divide the money by your paychecks into a seperate envelope.
Then, pay your bills on time. Add a little to the other envelopes. DO NOT TOUcH THESE UNLESS you need money for car repairs or whatever you put on it. You will need car repairs or tires sooner or later. IF you don’t have the money, you mess up your budget.
Budget yourself a certain amount for food. Once you have spent it. you need to be creative as to what is in your cabinet. In other words, you will be forced to use coupons and other items.
It will work if you use it. The online program just makes it “easy” to see. That’s all. You can do the same at home.
I made a spreadsheet with excel and taped it on each envelope. That helped. I also downloaded a FREE program called persona checkbook advantage. It helps me put each bill into catagories.
All I wanted was to be without bills in 2 years. It is really working.
Also, check out www.expenseregister.com – it is a free program for expense tracking. Just like the envelopes, you can set up a budget with different categories and monitor you spending. Some defaults are cool – like budgets have a default Savings category. You can also set up reminders for bills and such.