You don’t have to be rich or have an extensive stock portfolio or hold vast amounts of real estate to benefit from using personal accounting software. If you have money and bills then you need a budget and you need to manage it. Here are 4 reasons why you should use personal accounting software.
Track spending – How many times have you run out of money before you put something into your savings account? Or you ran out of money before you ran out of month? And it’s always the same – “How did this happen? Where did all that money go?!” Oh, it was there all right. You had it when you stopped at Starbucks every morning for a grande latte. You had it when you decided to go out for dinner last week. You even had it when you decided to go to the movie afterward. That’s why you DON’T have it NOW. Personal accounting software, even a free program like Quicken, will help you stop up those leaks in your wallet by showing you exactly where they are.
Create a budget – Now that you know where the leaks are you can better plan your spending to take those little luxuries into consideration and actually include them in your budget. Yes, I said budget. With your accounting software you can track all of your income and all of your spending and finally create a budget you can live with – and still save money every month.
Achieve financial goals – Once you’ve created and are following a budget you’ll start to see that savings account grow. And that’s so motivating! What do you want to do next?! Now that you know you can do it you can save for a vacation or put money away for the kids’ college educations or start saving for that first house.
Save time – Depending on the personal accounting software you choose you can combine a lot of your monthly financial chores. For example, some software packages will let you tie into your bank account and handle check writing and bill paying. In fact, most banks will let you pay your bills online. You can set it up as a regular monthly recurring payment or generate the checks individually each month. Checks are mailed directly from the bank to your creditor – and the bank pays the postage.
Now that you’ve seen some of the benefits of personal accounting software, let’s take a look at how you should choose your software. Because there are hundreds of different types available – and some are even free!
Consider your abilities – No matter what software you decide to use you’re going to have to learn how it works and what it can do for you. If you’re not really familiar with a computer and software programs look for something easy to use that comes with easy to understand training materials. Once you get the hang of it you can always upgrade to a more complex program later. If you start out with a complicated program that you can’t understand you either won’t use it or you’ll really mess up your finances.
Consider your needs – Do you really need a lot of accounting help or are you more interested in creating and following a budget? Accounting help, such as managing your checkbook and mailing the bills on time can usually be found at your bank’s website. As mentioned above, most banks provide a ton of online banking services now, including justifying your checkbook and online bill paying. For help doing your taxes, and saving some time doing them, find some online tax software.
Reliability – This is your money we’re talking about here so make sure you get software that’s reliable and isn’t going to crash your computer the first time you use it. Don’t fall for any of those seedy looking downloads. Look for reliable programs with a developer name you can trust.
Don’t let the words “computer” and “program” keep you from checking out personal accounting software. Whether you’re still in school and you’ve just opened your first checking account or you’ve been investing in real estate and you’re worth a zillion bucks it’s always best to have a budget and a way to track your spending.
Too often people end up at a debt counseling service simply because they weren’t aware where the money was going every month. It’s not that there wasn’t enough coming in, they just weren’t watching where it was leaking out. Control your spending – and your financial future – with personal accounting software and you won’t have to worry about debt counseling.