01 December 2012

What software do you use with Total Money Makeover?

I am late in discovering Dave Ramsey and his personal finance theories. I mean, I knew who he was and what he did, but I was so burnt out on self-help books in general and budgeting books in particular that I didn't bother to investigate his methods further. Then I noticed that all the people I know in real life who truly have their lives together have dropped Ramsey's name into conversation at some point. Because of this, I thought that his books might be worth reading but they were always checked out at the library. That's how I ended up reading The Total Money Makeover almost 10 years after it was originally published.

ABM and I have never been an extravagant couple. True, we are a family that enjoys our gadgets, but the majority of the computers and other tech that we own was purchased used and with cash. We have less than $800 in credit card debt and that was incurred in the last year. It is well below the state average of $6350 per family. The first 100 pages of Ramsey's book droned on with information that I already knew. However, the Baby Steps Plan outlined in the last half of the book appeals to me. Our family's biggest financial problem is that we stopped tracking our spending long ago and tried to keep it all in our heads. Ramsey's plan provides that structure and I am ready to get started. What I am not ready to do is do it all on paper. 

Back in the 1990s, I used to keep track of everything with a combination of a wall calendar to keep up with bill due dates and budgeting software to track our paychecks and expenditures. For our new budget, I have the calendar part handled with Manilla; ABM is a bit squeamish about posting our bills up on the refrigerator the way we used to before we had teenagers and all their friends tramping through the house. What I need now is a free or really cheap budgeting software that would work well as a virtual envelope system (like a lot of people, we don't carry cash). 

If you are a follower of Dave Ramsey's principles, do you use budgeting software? What do you use? Please don't recommend that I create a spreadsheet in Excel. Spreadsheet programs give me hives. I want a program specifically for budgeting that will do the calculations for me. Any suggestions?

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