Personal Finance 
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PocketSmith Calendar Budgeting Tool

PocketSmith LogoThis post is a continuation of a series of reviews I’m doing for popular budgeting packages after our recent Personal Finance Hour episode on budgeting. This one covers PocketSmith, a New Zealand-based company founded by James Wigglesworth, Jason Leong, and Francois Bondiguel.

Every tool needs differentiator, a way they solve a problem that beats the competition, and it takes only a few seconds to realize what that is for PocketSmith. PocketSmith’s claim to fame, embodied by their slogan “Forecasting Made Simple,” is that they help you manage your personal finances by helping you forecast your financial future. By accurately planning and forecasting your future spending, will remove some of the mystery and anxiety and replace it with a plan you can work towards.

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 Personal Finance 
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Free Online Budgeting & Planning Software Tools

With the unceremonious shuttering of Microsoft Money a few months ago, a lot of former Microsoft Money customers are looking for alternatives. If you were using Microsoft Money Essentials, Plus Deluxe, Plus Premium, or Plus Home & Business, your software will still work but support will be gone.

Fortunately, there are a lot of alternatives in the online budgeting tool chest. After a recent Personal Finance Hour show all about budgeting, I took a look at several software tools. This post will cover all of them briefly to help you decide which might be right for you (and they are not ranked in any predefined order).

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 Personal Finance 
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PearBudget Review: Really Simple Budgeting

PearBudget LogoLast night, on the 25th episode of the Personal Finance Hour, we discussed mostly about budgeting and touched on some popular budgeting tools. PearBudget is an online budget management tool, mentioned by both JD and members of the chatroom, that I had never heard of.

PearBudget’s tagline is “really simple budgeting” and it delivers on that promise. Within ten minutes, I was able to setup a budget and begin tracking expenses without even entering an email address. You can play with the full tool right from the start, without even registering. That’s uncommon in any tool, let along a budgeting one.

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 Personal Finance 
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YNAB Coupon Promotion Code

This morning I published a You Need A Budget (YNAB) review explaining the YNAB methodology as well as a look inside the tool. If you’re thinking about buying it, I recommend that you download it and do the 7-day trial first. Don’t buy it sight unseen when there’s a 7-day trial available giving you full access to the tool, so click here to download it before paying.

Then, when you’re ready to upgrade YNAB, we have a special 10% off coupon code:

bargaineering

Also, YNAB 3.0, which is slated for a November release, will cost $59.95. If you buy YNAB 2.0 for $49.95, actually $44.96 after the 10% off promotional coupon code, then you will be upgraded to YNAB 3.0 absolutely free. YNAB 3.0 not only looks more visually appealing but will sport additional features like expanded report functionality over 2.0.


 Reviews 
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You Need A Budget (YNAB) Pro Review

You Need A BudgetFor years, my budget consisted of an Excel spreadsheet that documented every purchase I made every single day of the year. As a numbers guy, this wealth of data was amazing and helped me tweak my spending, find my financial leaks, and reach financial goals much sooner than I would have without budgeting. Since then, I’ve been tentatively using online personal finance tools because of the security issue and instead I rely on Quicken’s desktop application, which is one of the most comprehensive tools available.

What if you just want to maintain a budget? Enter You Need A Budget. You Need A Budget, often called YNAB, is a desktop budgeting software package that will help you set, maintain, and stick to a budget. It’s a much better version of what I used to hack together in an Excel spreadsheet. :)

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 Personal Finance 
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Money Tips I Learned from Poker

Fat Stack of Poker Chips
This was a guest post written by my friend John H. about the some money tips he took from the felt and put into his wallet.

When you think of your bankroll, you probably think about how much cash you have in your wallet or how much money you have access to via your debit card that’s not already spoken for by bills. It’s your extra money that you’ll use to put gas in your car this week, go out to eat one night, or for some random purchase like buying a box of Do-Si-Dos® from the Girl Scouts outside your local grocery store.

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 Your Take 
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Your Take: What is Your Money Vice?

Martha and Jim on Macallan BarrelsWe all have one. We all have that hobby we know we spend too much money on. Maybe you drop a paycheck or two every time you walk into Williams Sonoma because of some gadget you have to have. Or your spending goes unchecked on vacation, picking up trinkets and souvenirs from your getaways. Perhaps you’re a gadget hound and are the first on your block to get the latest electronic gizmo.

Whatever it is… you know you have one and I want to know what it is. :)

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 Frugal Living 
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Your Take: Do You Budget?

Clever Way to BudgetToday’s Your Take will be simple… do you budget? If so, what tools do you use?

If you don’t, why not?

I no longer budget in the strict sense. When I first started working, I budgeted and tracked all my expenses down to the penny in an Excel spreadsheet. This was before the days of tools like Mint or Quicken Online where you could use a free tool and get instant data aggregation (that would’ve been nice!), so I just entered things into a simple Excel spreadsheet. Then, perhaps a year or so later, I abandoned it because the benefits had started to wane.

Once you get to a certain point, when your expenses are stable and you’ve “optimized” your budget as much as you can, the effort no longer justify the benefits. Today, I do “after-action” type budgeting where I look at my expenses to see if anything is extraordinary or if a certain category has been creeping up (usually it’s the dining out vs. grocery bill categories constantly battling one another). Other than that, I don’t.

How about you?

(Photo by kevincortopassi)


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