How To Use Budgeting Software

With all of the stress in the world today, it's great to be able to take a process that's usually quite stressful and make it easier.  By using computer budgeting software, it's possible to take an activity that might otherwise be hours-long and less enjoyable than having teeth pulled and make it not only bearable but also relatively simple.  If you've had as much as you can take of trying to create your own household budget and would like to try a computer budgeting program to see if it makes your life easier, then you should do the following:

  1. Begin looking at the options that are available for budgeting software.  Take the time to visit office supply stores, software stores, and department stores in your area, as well as performing an internet search with your preferred search engine to search for viable options online.
  2. Compare the features and prices of different software packages such as Quicken or Microsoft Money, which are both industry-leading financial planning and management software packages.  You should look at the different options that are available to you, and then purchase the one that best fits both your need and what you can afford.
  3. Install your new program, making sure to read the instruction booklet and any ReadMe files that accompany it so that you'll have an idea of how to operate it.  Though many programs have tutorials to assist you with usage, much of the instructions can usually be read while the program is installing so that you'll have a good idea of what you'll be doing once the program is up and running.
  4. Gather up your monthly bills and paycheck stubs, so that you'll be able to enter your income and expenses into the program.  You should also make an estimate of how much you spend on groceries and any other expenses such as entertainment and gasoline.
  5. Run the program.  When the program first starts there may be a setup wizard or other prompts that ask you for various pieces of your financial information and automatically fill out the forms in the software.  If this doesn't happen, then don't panic.  You'll simply have to enter the amount that you spend on bills each month, an approximation of your grocery and other spending, and your approximate household income into the appropriate categories.  Once everything has been entered, be sure to save your budget.
  6. The program should generate a budget for you, likely one with a printable version.  Print this out, and post it in a place where all members of the family can easily view it.
  7. Should you have any changes to make to your budget, re-run the program.  You should be able to easily make changes to an existing saved budget by highlighting the previously-entered information and simply typing in the new information.  Just remember to save the budget after the new information has been entered!

 

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