The simple way to budget without sharing your bank passwords

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The simple way to budget without sharing your bank passwords
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If you want to save more and spend less, money expert Clark Howard says that keeping a budget is essential!

Free online tools like Mint and Personal Capital help you create a budget, see your expenses by category, pay your bills on time and even track your net worth.

But you don’t need to download another app to manage your money! There are other ways…

RELATED: 7 ways to get the most from Mint.com

Don’t want to download a budgeting app? Here’s an easy way to manage your money without one! 

Clark frequently gets calls on his radio show from people who want to know if Mint and other budgeting tools are safe to use. He says there’s no such thing as a hack-proof website, but he’s still a fan of Mint.com:

I’m asked repeatedly about Mint, how safe is it? We live in an era where no matter what encryption level people are using, whatever security, there are vulnerabilities in the system. That’s possible. But what I know is that the power of these tools to help you get your spending under control is so great that I think that power outweighs the risk of the potential vulnerabilities of any financial tool or any site or any app.

No matter what Clark or Mint.com say about the security of online money management tools, some people just don’t feel comfortable sharing their bank usernames and passwords — and that’s okay!

After all, businesses and individuals have been budgeting for a lot longer than those online products have existed.

Chelsea, a member of Team Clark who runs our social media channels, recently told me about the simple Excel spreadsheet that she and her husband use to stay on budget.

She gave me permission to share it with you (dollar amounts excluded) to demonstrate how easy budgeting can be!

Monthly

Off-cycle

Weekly 

Savings

Chelsea says she sits down with her husband after every payday and they go through the four separate spreadsheets that they created: monthly, off-cycle, weekly and savings.

When bills are paid or money is transferred to savings, they put an “X” in the appropriate column.

Chelsea’s family previously managed their budget with the help of a dry-erase board, but they switched to Excel spreadsheets to make sure they didn’t forget about off-cycle (irregular) expenses: trash, pest control, lawn care, etc.

She says this budgeting system has helped the couple hold themselves accountable for every dollar they spend and save.

Simple enough, right? The key with budgeting is to find what works for you and Chelsea has done that. If you don’t want to bother with another app on your phone, a simple budgeting spreadsheet is a great alternative.

Do you budget with the help of Excel or Google spreadsheets? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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