How to Use the Web to Improve Your Monthly Budget

Servicemember using computer.

Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to manage your finances. If you want to improve your monthly budget, all you have to do is look on the Internet.

There are thousands of blogs that can provide you with tips and tricks for creating and maintaining a budget that works for you. On top of that, there are a number of other tools and resources that you can use to improve the way that money moves through your personal economy.

Analyze Your Budget

If you want to improve your budget, you need to understand what's happening with it. Figure out where your money is going, and categorize what it's doing. It's best if you can go back two or three months at a time, just to see a more complete picture. You can usually find older bank statements by logging in to your bank's web site. Don't forget to check your credit card statements, too.

YNAB and Mint are good tools that can help you track your budget. They're great for categorizing and analyzing your expenses. It's even possible to compare your habits with the habits of others, and get an idea of what you might be able to do a little bit better.

Track Your Spending

Once you have a general idea of where you stand, your next step is to actively track your spending. Track your spending using the ReadyForZero spreadsheet, or pay for some other tracking app. If you look for something that requires you to actively enter your information, you will be far more likely to notice your spending habits. One of the best ways to improve your budget is to be aware of where the money is going.

Find Apps Designed to Help You Change Behaviors

If you are really serious about streamlining your budget and changing your financial behaviors, look for apps that reward you for good behavior. Save Up, ReadyForZero, and Toshl are examples of apps that can help you focus your efforts, hold you accountable, and encourage you to make better financial choices. Once you have help making better decisions and engaging in more positive behaviors, your monthly budget will fall in line.

Look for Discounts and Coupons

The Internet is a great place for finding discounts and coupons. There are numerous web sites devoted to offering coupons, promo codes, and special discounts. Daily deal sites can also provide you with deep discounts on a number of items.

You do need to be careful with these discount sites, though. It's tempting to just buy things because you have a discount. If you want to really save money and improve your monthly budget, however, you should only buy what you had planned to purchase in the first place.

It's fairly easy to do a quick online search for major purchases that you plan to make, as well as read reviews on various products and services. Make use of the Internet to find good deals, and also figure out which items really do offer you the best bang for your buck.

Only shopping can help you save time and money – but only if you have a plan in place ahead of time.

Find Support Online

Sometimes what you really need as you change your budget is the support of a community. You can find that support with the active and helpful community of ReadyForZero. Look for like-minded and positive people who can help you formulate a game plan, and then stick with it.

Have you "connected" to improve your budget?

Miranda Marquit is a professional freelance writer who specializes in personal finance topics. She enjoys writing about saving money and paying off debt at the ReadyForZero blog and also writes for her own blog. She lives near Salt Lake City. You can follow @ReadyForZero and @MMarquit on Twitter.

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Personal Finance