Are you tired of searching for financial tools to help you budget and control your finances and just don’t know where to turn?
I know how you feel because I used to feel the same exact way.
But over the years I’ve found some amazing financial tools that will help you not only manage your money but hold you accountable for your spending as well.
Maintaining a budget and staying organized with your finances are crucial. And whether you’re working to get out of debt or struggling to maintain a budget, there are always ways to improve.
What I’ve found throughout my own financial journey is that developing an easy-to-maintain system to manage your money every day is the key to successfully improving your finances and achieving all your money goals.
The system I’ve developed for our finances is a collection of five key financial tools I use on a daily basis that have helped me manage my money, stay on track, and be involved every step of the way.
If you’re struggling with managing your money or looking for a way to stay on top of your budget, these easy financial tools will help you get the job done.
Best Financial Tools to Transform Your Finances
Personal Banking App
While this might seem like a no-brainer, I’m amazed at how little I was actually using my banking and credit card app or website previously.
I now have created a habit of logging in and checking daily and I love that I can track my bank and credit card spending in each category quickly plus pay my bills online, check my balance and even deposit checks right from the app…it’s super convenient!
Your banking/credit card apps and websites are a fast way to get a glimpse of your overall finances (remember the days of waiting for our bank statements to come in the mail…? How did we ever know for certain what was in our checking account?!)
In the amount of time it takes to have a cup of coffee, you’re able to hop into your bank account and check which payments have cleared from the night before.
If you’re someone who tends to keep a low balance in your checking account, checking your accounts each day is a great habit to get into so you’re aware of all the “comings and goings” and especially to avoid overdrafting your account!
After all, banks already made over $34 billion dollars collecting bank fees from Americans in 2019…you definitely need your money more than they do.
But the biggest benefit of using your banking and credit card apps? It protects you from theft. I’ve had a few security breaches on my credit card over the years and I found out about it in record time and was able to take control and stop it before any major damage was done.
Logging in daily is a great opportunity to briefly review recent transactions to ensure everything is as it should be. If anything looks amiss you’re able to catch it quickly and dive deeper right on the spot.
Budget Binder Printables
My husband and I were able to pay off $54,500 of debt in under 20 months and I credit much of that success to some budget binder printables I created for myself to try and help us stick to our budget!
I decided to create a whole mess of printable budgeting pages and shoved them in a binder so my Type-A personality could be happy tracking our money, coloring in charts, and organizing every little bill we paid 🤪
My husband wanted no part in it….never did, but that’s okay because I’m the nerd in the relationship.
I’m the one who handles the money and pays the bills. And I’m the
control freak one who loves knowing where every last penny went each month!
Once I realized how much that pile of pretty papers helped me transform our finances, pay off debt and save money I turned it into my Begin to Budget Bundle and it has sold hundreds of copies since then!
I still use this printable budget binder every. single. day. (and I love it even more now that it’s been completely updated and redesigned).
The budget binder is great because it’s a digital file which means it’s easy to print and organize. (if you do purchase it, you get PDF files that you can easily download and use year after year!) I kept this budgeting tool very simple because I believe that if your budget is overcomplicated it will be hard to incorporate it into your life and actually stick to it.
My personal approach to budgeting is simple – I believe that when you’re new to budgeting, writing out your budget with pen and paper is the best way to become familiar with your money, your budget, and your spending habits.
There’s just something about putting the pen to paper that really helps it become engrained in your mind, just like when you were in grade school and had to write your spelling words over and over.
Net Worth Tracker Spreadsheet
I created this simple spreadsheet so I could track our net worth over time. While I’m not overly hung up on our net worth, I do update it on a monthly basis so I can be sure it’s trending in the right direction.
It’s a very basic spreadsheet but one of my favorites because it reminds me how quickly things can change with your finances when you put in the work.
Just a few short years ago we had a very negative net worth and now that we’ve paid off our debt, our number increases each month.
Spreadsheets are so motivating because they allow you to look back and see how far you’ve progressed. You can easily see where you’ve started in your journey compared to where you are now. Click the orange button to grab yours.
After I really got the hang of budgeting with pen + paper, eventually I decided to create a budgeting spreadsheet too and it quickly became one of my favorite financial tools.
I loved having a copy of our budget in a digital version as well and it was really convenient to be able to access it on my phone, when necessary, using the Google Sheets app.
I often will plan out my budget each month using the printable budgeting sheets from my budget binder and once everything is finalized I’ll quickly load it into my budget spreadsheet. This makes it super easy for me to adjust and update throughout the month.
If you have a fluctuating income as we do then you are likely to find the need to update your budget often as well and I love how fast and easy it is to do this on my budget spreadsheet.
Plus, I love having all my past budgets in the same spreadsheet so I’m able to look back anytime (since I only save one past year of my budget binder to reduce paper clutter).
I’m in there at least once per day but love it because all the work is done for me. If I need to make a change, I just have to plug in the number and it recalculates everything automatically.
I began doing my monthly budget videos on my YouTube channel using this spreadsheet and people wanted to be able to use the same template they saw me using so I made it available for purchase in my shop as well.
This spreadsheet works really well with my budget binder and I love working with both of them together. Any time I’m working on my budget I have my spreadsheet pulled up on my computer and my budget binder open on my desk.
Debt Snowball Calculator
This financial tool is amazing. I actually didn’t find this until after we paid off all our debt but I ended up purchasing it anyway because I loved its functionality of it so much (this calculator only works with Excel and Google Sheets).
Not only is it worth every penny but it’s also a great motivator as well. You can literally play around with the numbers and practically watch your debt fade away…okay, not really, you still have to do the work but trust me, this debt snowball calculator makes it much more fun.
If you’re currently working to pay off your debt using the debt snowball method, this calculator is a must-have.
The Debt Snowball Calculator is automated and super easy to use. You can change the timeframe, the amount, the payment status…anything and everything to find a method that works best for you to get rid of your debt. It also gives you the pathway to making it happen as quickly as possible.
It has space for up to 35 loans and all you have to do is enter your loan information one time and it will calculate automatically giving you the exact month and year you will be out of debt.
It also allows you to change and play around with different variables, increases (like raises) and even lump-sum payment amounts to see how they will impact your debt payoff…plus, it even works for the debt avalanche method too if you prefer to get out of debt using that system instead.
Bonus Financial Tool
I came back to this article a few months after publishing because I thought it important to add this bonus tool here…
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future and I stumbled upon the concept of an In Case of Emergency Binder. This isn’t necessarily the same type of financial tool we’ve been discussing up until this point but I do think it’s an important complement.
An emergency binder will help protect your finances, budget, bank accounts, etc. in the event of an emergency. Should there be an untimely death and you don’t know how to handle your finances it will all be outlined for you in your binder.
There are SO many other benefits to having an emergency binder, you can find them here.
One other thing I’ve noticed is because you keep all of your important financial documents, passwords, account numbers, etc. here is really a good tool to help keep you organized and have convenient access to all of your financial information in one spot!
And there you have it! These simple financial tools are what have gotten me out of debt and on the path toward financial freedom. While I know each person (and each debt-free journey) is different, I’m confident that you’ll find great benefit from these tools as well!
Need more money help? My signature money course will help you improve your finances in every area.
Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.