The internet is a saturated jungle of home budget software ranging from the simple, to the very complex in functionally. To successfully navigate this maze of advertising mayhem, and walk away with the correct Home budget software or budget spreadsheet; you will need to carry with you, in the background of your mind as your search, those critical key elements that are vital in making your family’s home budgeting dreams come true! Key elements such as user-friendly interfaces, text and graphics with useful information, and useful supplemental add-ons.
The role of advertising!
P. T. Barnum, and American circus entertainer once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”. Thou I, being part of the populace, and with mild embarrassment, would have had Barnum at that time in history spoken, “If given the right ploy, anyone can become a sucker!” In the days of Barnum, just as it is in today’s world, advertising’s ultimate goal is to turn, even the mildest curiosity, into a successful sale. And to that end, you the consumer is faced with barrage of advertising strategies, all geared for one thing. To remove from your wallet, as much money as possible.
Key elements in household budgeting & the consumer’s responsibility!
Element one – Your budget spreadsheet or home budget software should have a user-friendly interface. It should be flexibly and easy to understand in its operation. You should not need a degree in programming in order to use or understand it. Likewise, its working environment should be designed with you, the consumer in mind. You should not have to struggle to navigate from one section of your home budget to another. The screen’s layout should be easy to understand. Some programmers believe that more is better; and so to that end they have fatten up ever screen with excessive graphics and/or text that contains little or no useful information. Your home budget software will become an integrate part of the lives of your family. The using of it should not stress you out! If you want stress… have children!
Element two – Your budget spreadsheet or home budget software should provide you with useful information. It should be noted here that the function of a home budget is NOT just to formulate reports on monthly transactions. The function of a home budget is NOT Just to record income and expenses as they occur. Your family is not JUST about living or existing! What about dept management? What about your short and long term goals in life? Part of the totality of any home budget software is to deal with all of these issues. For, it is all of these issues that impact the way you live and the dreams you have about your future.
Your home budget software should aid you in the reaching your short and long term goals in life. If it does not, than you should not be using it. Likewise, your home budget software should provide you with useful information about your future projected bank balances. Elements that contain Information such as daily bank balances, your lowest weekly bank balance, and bank balance trends over time (charts). If you are going to budget out your expenses, then those projected expenses will (over time) affect your bank balance. These elements are paramount to any successful home budget. Without their implementation, your financial lifestyle will revolve somewhere between banquettes and begging! Your budget spreadsheet or home budget software should also provide a means of correcting deviations between projected and actual income and expenses. Unless you plan to record every little expense, then expect deviations between your project bank balance and your actual bank balance.
Element Three – Your budget spreadsheet or home budget software should provide you with useful secondary supplemental add-ons. Everybody loves the pop-up calendar and calculator; but what do they offer that you do not already have on your computer? Let us examine four types of add-ons that not only offer useful information, but also aid in the reaching of short and long term goals. They are savings, credit cards, charts, and Christmas.
Savings- If you are planning to go beyond a stagnant type of life style, then you will have to integrate into your financial picture some type of savings program. For it is savings over time that allow for the achievement of many short or long term goals (L.T.G.’s). This one particular element should be built into your home budget and allow for savings, all from one bank account.
Credit Cards– Even thou I am not a great advocate of credit cards, they do (if used correctly) allow a family to establish over time, a good credit history. In addition, in times of calamity, credit cards are a quick avenue of cash! When looking for a budget spreadsheet, look for a home budget that allows for the use and management of a least one credit card. In addition, your home budget should also give you the ability to swap out any projected budgeted transactions, for a credit card transaction.
Charts – One of the greatest advancements in computer technology as been the processor speed. Today it possible to chart just about any information; but that is not the same as saying that all charted information is of value to you, the user. When considering a budget spreadsheet or home budget software, ask yourself, “Will the charts provide useful information necessary for me in achieving my short and long term goals in life?” “If I stay on budget, will my bank balance fluctuate either up or down?” “Does my projected budget TRULY reflect by lifestyle?” These are important questions; and the answers will guide you in choosing the best home budget for you and your family.
Christmas – At first glance, one might not consider a section that deals with Christmas as being a useful secondary supplemental add-on. Yet, you might feel differently if you have to deal with items bought and then placed on lay-a-way, the correlation of expected income against actual purchases, and the keeping of a list of who gets what. A home budget software or budgeting spreadsheets that offer a section that deals with Christmas, can aid to making that time of year stress free.
So, let us pull it all together!
Putting aside all of the glossy advertising gimmicks, the flashy website “calls to action”, and the animated icons; sooner or later you will have to actually use your home budgeting software. Understanding role of key elements and the philosophy of budgeting (L.T.G.’s) will help you in having a successful home budget. Remember, your budgeting spreadsheet is not so much about the crunching of numbers, as it is about the helping you to bring into reality, the dreams of your life! So, as you face the jungle of home budgeting software, keep in mind the elements necessary to making your dreams come true!