I’m a big fan of financial expert Dave Ramsey. Over a decade ago, I used his plan to get out of debt and I’ve successfully stuck to many of his techniques. While he does offer classes, I didn’t pay for any of those. I simply checked his book out of the library and used the resources available on his website.

budget-app-box.jpg

The most important part of that plan for me was learning to make a zero-dollar budget. That means you account for every penny you spend. Yes, you can put aside an amount just to blow on whatever strikes your fancy, but you don’t spend one penny more than the specific amount you’ve allotted. I know at first a tight budget seems to constrain you but it’s actually completely freeing because there are no nasty surprises. You just tell your money how to act.

Now, he’s offering a free app that you can either use with a browser on your computer or on your phone or tablet.  You can click here to go to the website. Or look for EveryDollar in the app store for your phone. You start by setting up an account.

creat-ebudget-account.jpg

With this tool, you should be able to make your first budget in about 10 minutes. Start by entering your monthly income:

enter-budget-infor.jpg

The app offers templates to help you plan your monthly expenses down to the penny.

enter-budget-food.jpg

Enter your actual expenses to compare how well you’re sticking to the plan. This helps you design a more realistic budget and decide where to make cuts.

enter-budget-difference.jpg

There’s also a Premium version that allows you to import transactions directly from your bank and more features, but the free version alone is enough to get a good start on a budget.

There’s also a handy blog full of money-saving tips and inspirational budgeting stories.