17 Best Budgeting & Money Management Tools

Looking for the best budgeting or money management tools? There are so many facets of budgeting, and you’ll likely have to make some sacrifices, but using one of these tools can make those sacrifices easier and can take the hardest work out of budget. These are the best budgeting apps and tools to download now if you want to get your spending under control. 

Some of these budgeting products listed below offer both a desktop and an app version of the product. And some of these tools do the same thing. You don’t need all of these, so pick and choose which ones best fit your financial situation! 

YNAB

You Need a Budget is one of the most popular budgeting apps available. If you’ve never even had a budget before, this is the app for you. It’s a great way to get started with budgeting and will teach you about all the ways to manage your money. The app uses a “zeroed” out budget and makes sure that you allocate your money down to the very last...

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6 Budgeting Myths to Stop Believing (and the Truths Instead!)

Having a budget is essential to successful financial planning, and over the years I have heard so many myths about budgets and why people say they don’t work or why they don’t need a budget. These budgeting myths can prevent you from achieving financial security so in this blog post, let’s play MythBusters and walk through some of the misinformation I hear about budgets and what the truths are instead. 

Budget Myth #1: Creating and managing a budget takes too much time.

The Reality: Taking control of your money is worth the investment.

Creating a budget for the first time can seem overwhelming and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many tools, templates and apps available to help you through the process. And once your budgeting framework is in place, you can easily and quickly adjust your budget. 

If you use an app or other online money management tool for your budget, the tool walks you through the set-up process. You often...

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How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck - Part 2

In our previous blog post Stop Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck, we discussed some common reasons why people live paycheck-to-paycheck. In this blog post, we'll share some ways that can help you get out of this cycle and put your money to work for you. 

Setting a Budget

The first step is to set a budget. When you set your budget, it's important to think about your needs, your wants, and the future, which involves savings according to your goals and plans. Creating a budget can seem overwhelming at first but keep reading for helpful tips. 

  • Determine Your Income – Your income is not what your boss pays you or what you earn if you work for yourself; it’s what you have left over after all mandatory paycheck deductions like taxes and insurance have been paid. After all, you cannot budget what you do not have. Getting this figure right will really help.
  • Add Up Your Expenses – This may take longer if you’re in debt or you have a lot of expenses you...
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Social Security Considerations for Divorced Women

As part of our Thriving After Divorce Speaker Series, our own Leah Hadley, Founder and CEO of Great Lakes Divorce Financial Solutions and Great Lakes Investment Management, discussed Social Security Considerations for Divorced Women.

Social security is a very important topic, especially for women who have been divorced (whether or not you're now remarried) and are approaching retirement age. Women represent 56 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries aged 62 and older and about 66 percent of all beneficiaries aged 85 and older. 

Even though progress has been made in bridging the gender pay gap, on average, women still earn less than men and have less retirement savings. BUT on average, women are LIVING LONGER than men, so how can you maximize the money you have so you can live the way you want in your retirement?

In Leah's presentation, she discussed the value of Social Security and the ways you may increase your lifetime benefits.

The Value of Social Security

First,...

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Creating Your Best Life After Divorce

Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful events in a person’s life. There are so many heightened emotions and hard decisions to be made while also managing the details of the divorce process itself. It can be easy to get caught in the cycle of dwelling on the past and feeling regret. 

As part of our Thriving After Divorce Speaker Series, Wendy Sterling, a certified divorce specialist and grief consultant, discussed how to recover after divorce to create your best life. In her presentation, Wendy talked about creating a VISION for a post-divorce life, and that’s what we’re going to focus on in this post. 

An effective way to help you create your best life after divorce is to focus on the now and the vision of the life you want going forward. I think Wendy put it best when she said:

“You are the artist of this canvas of your life.”

Creating a Vision 

Divorce can be an empowering experience where you have the...

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5 Ways to Manage Stress, Anxiety & Chronic Pain

We have heard from our clients that many who are going through the divorce process are struggling physically as well as emotionally. And the stress doesn’t just automatically go away after the divorce process is finalized. We talk to a lot of people with long-term physical challenges. That’s why we wanted to provide you with some information that could help you if you’re someone who is experiencing physical pain during or after a divorce.

As part of our Thriving After Divorce Speaker Series, Dr. Patricia Delzell, a board-certified musculoskeletal radiologist specializing in the integrative treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, presented on this very important topic of how stress and anxiety can contribute to chronic pain. 

When going through a divorce, women often feel uncertain about their financial future, and this out-of-control feeling can make them feel physical pain. Psychological distress and physical pain are connected because they share the same...

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Caregiving and the Sandwich Generation

Many of our clients are feeling “sandwiched” between caring for their kids and their aging family members at the same time they are balancing working, saving for retirement, and living their own lives.  

As part of our Thriving After Divorce Speaker Series, Mary Molnar, occupational therapist and co-owner of Senior Care Authority - Greater Cleveland, presented on this very important topic of what is the sandwich generation and how we can manage it better.  

What is the sandwich generation?

The sandwich generation is defined as a group of people typically in their 40s and 50s who are raising their children (or still providing financial support - like if you have kids in college) while also caring for their aging parents or other family members. 

According to Pew Research, more than half of Americans in their 40s are “sandwiched” between their children and an aging parent and are providing physical, financial, and emotional care to both...

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Use these 5 Steps to Give Your Budget a Check-Up

Give Your Budget a Check-Up

We’re in the full swing of Summer, and whether you’re in vacation mode or you’re working just as hard as ever, July is a great time to review your budget. After all, if you created it in January, a lot can change in 7 months, and you want to make adjustments now if you need to. Budgets are fluid documents that are meant to be changed and updated as needed to make sure your money is always working for you.

You don’t need to spend hours and hours pouring over every detail of your budget, but I do suggest taking the five steps listed below to make sure you’re on track to reaching your goals by the end of the year. 

Review & update your budget

If you created your budget at the beginning of the year, now is the time to make sure that it’s still working for you. Are you staying within your budget, or are there some categories that need to be adjusted? With the increases we’ve seen in food and gas prices, many...

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10 Personal Finance Books for Grads

Personal finance books come in two varieties: entertaining or drier than twice-reheated pork chops. So, you may not think of giving recent graduates personal finance books for fear of wasting your money on a book they’ll never read (see: pork chops).

That said, there are some fantastic personal finance books out there! I love giving at least one of these ten books as graduation gifts because they all teach wise financial lessons in relatable ways so grads start out their young lives on the right financial foot.

(Our original post included five books, but I found five more that are worth checking out!)

1. The Latte Factor by David Bach

I love giving The Latte Factor as a gift to everyone, not just recent grads. This book is short and sweet, but very impactful. It teaches that no matter where you are in your personal finance journey, you have the power to achieve your financial goals. You’re richer than you think (and you didn’t have to take any big leaps to make...

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How to Spring Clean Your Finances

So who has started spring cleaning? Do you have a good system in place so it doesn’t take hours and hours to get the job done? There certainly are a lot of cleaning checklists on Pinterest and Instagram. As we’re thinking about spring cleaning our homes, it’s also the perfect time to spring clean your finances. The first quarter is over, and last year taxes have been completed so let’s get organized financially for the rest of the year.

Here are 10 ideas for spring cleaning your finances.

Check your credit reports. You can check your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year so I recommend checking one at the end of April, one at the end of August, and one at the end of December. Credit report mistakes can prevent you from getting a loan or force you into paying a higher interest rate. If you see any errors or fraudulent activity on your credit report, file a dispute with the credit bureau right away.   

Review your monthly...

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