Choosing How You’d Rather Manage Your Finances

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Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for another Friday Finance with Josh. Today, we’re going to talk about general financial management. We see a lot of posts about budgets, budget software, budget spreadsheets, financial management websites and more. But, what’s the best way to go? Well, that really depends on personal preference!

I recently wrote a post on CNA Finance about making a budget spreadsheet, as spreadsheets are how I choose to manage my budget. The post was a tutorial on how I created my budget spreadsheet with screenshots so you could follow every step. At the end of the post, I asked a simple question, “Do you use a budget spreadsheet to track your finances?”. Here are some of the responses I got from some of the top thought leaders in the personal finance community…

Glen at Monster Piggy Bank Writes

My wife is a spreadsheet god. If I need to get something done in a spreadsheet then I just go to her and she knows exactly how to do it.

As for using a spreadsheet as a budgeting tool – I really like the idea and in fact it is what my wife and I used for years when we were being very cost conscious. It’s free and easy to use :)

Kim at Eyes On The Dollar Writes

How can I get one of those spreadsheet Gods? I have had issues with Mint doubling some transactions, so I prefer Google docs as well. Mine is not this pretty. Maybe I’ll try to make it more colorful.

MoneyStepper Writes

That’s a nice step-by-step guide. I prefer using my own spreadsheets compared to templates or internet programs as it allows you to customize it however you feel necessary.

Oh, and I LOVE excel!! :)

Why Does It Seem That Everyone’s Leaning Toward Spreadsheets?

Now, this is my personal opinion, I have no statistics to base this on so, I may be wrong. Here’s how I look at it…

Budgeting programs often cost money and with the ability to easily make a free spreadsheet, there’s no need for the added expense. Lets face it, we all want to save and if we waste on what we don’t need, we’ll never hit our savings and investment goals. But, there are free budget programs out there like so, that can’t be the only reason.

Although there are free online programs out there designed to help with your budget, as MoneyStepper pointed out, you are not able to customize these programs to fit your needs. Consumers are given options of what they can track and how to track it, but when you’re making your own spreadsheet, the options are endless. You can track whatever you want to track with any titles you want to create. I haven’t found a budget software or online source that allows you to do that yet!

So, Should You Have A Budget Spreadsheet?

In my opinion you should. I understand that many people are intimidated by technology and using it to track their finances, but there are great tutorials out there that make the process simple. Of course, you could use programs like Mint in conjunction with your budget spreadsheet, using your sheet to track what Mint doesn’t. No matter how you mix it up, your primary budget should be a custom spreadsheet!

Thanks For Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to join me for this week’s Friday Finance with Josh! I’ll see you next week for a new financial tip. In the mean time, stop by my blog or connect with me via Twitter, Facebook or Google+! I’ll see ya around!


  1. Carmen says

    I’ve used Mint but could never figure out how to get it to stop auto-categorizing certain expenses for me. There are some that are frequent but I like to split into different categories (like when my husband buys household and groceries at one place). The spreadsheet method takes me a little more time, but I like the control