In the last month, I’ve gotten hooked on listening to Dave Ramsey again (this time in podcast form). I’ve found his Total Money Makeover to be instrumental in my early forays into saving.
One thing that Ramsey’s team has done is create a free website and iPhone app to help people budget. His budgeting philosophy which I’ve followed for years is to give every dollar a name: you decide where each dollar will be used before you receive it. This website is aptly named EveryDollar.com.
I have been able to successfully create these “every dollar” budgets in Google Sheets. Still, I thought it would be interesting to check out the Every Dollar app to see if it would be more useful.
The first thing that struck me when I logged in to the site for the first time was how pretty it was. I can create graphs in Google Sheets (and sometimes do), but they would never be as pretty, easy or interactive as what you can see on everydollar.com. I just wish that you had graphs to compare month to month (though to be fair, this is my first month using it, so there may be some features that have not yet been unlocked for me).
Another helpful feature is that you can create “funds.” I use these for my Freedom categories (like saving for my bi-annual insurance bill) and my various saving accounts. It did confuse me at first, but I quickly realized that I did not need to record actually putting money into these funds, just the expenses out of them. This can be a bit confusing if you’re like me, and fund them throughout the month as the money comes in, not at one time.
In addition to the budgeting features, the website tracks your progress through the baby steps. I’m on baby step 3b, which isn’t on there, but it would be really exciting to see progress through baby steps 1-3.
The biggest down-side is that because of the link to the baby steps, you can’t remove “debt” as a category. I worked hard to remove debt from my life…I don’t want it in my budget.
Still, that’s a minor impediment to a very slick and useful site. If you’re new to budgeting or just want to try something new, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. The beginning of a new month is the perfect time to do so.
I probably will continue to use my Google Sheets, if only to keep track where each paycheck is going, and not just where my money is going for the month as a whole.