Getting Finances Together - Programs, Apps?

Krystal - posted on 01/26/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I'm a relatively new stay at home mom, 17 months now. Anyhow, trying to straighten out the mess that my identity crisis caused. Do any of you have any suggestions for sorting out messy financial situations. Debt, current expenses, everything really. Just looking for some tips or suggestions for apps, programs, software, or websites with good tools to use. There's no way I can do this myself without pulling some hair out.



Thanks in advance!

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Jentrey - posted on 01/29/2012

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I strongly recommend learnvest.com. I married very young & was very clueless about finances. I've been married over 10 years & just discovered the site this last year & I have to say that it is totally saving our family finances & marriage. The best part is that its totally FREE. The site was created by women, for women who are more commonly uneducated on most aspects of money & spending. There are several money bootcamps you can sign up for & you can even link any bank accounts, savings & credit cards (with high bank security) & it will automatically track all your spending for you so you can really see where all your spending & money is going. It was just what I needed & we are well on our way with a debt payment plan to have all our consumer debt paid off in the next 6 months. It has also opened the doors for better communication with my partner & a much higher accountability on my part. Dave Ramsey is great...but if you have to spend $100 that's not very helpful.

[deleted account]

I don't know about Dave Ramsy, but after my medical issues were taken care of, we have always lived debt free, with the exception of a mortgage, but we paid our home off in 7 years. Do you know some people pay on their homes for 30 YEARS?!?! I could not imagine. Some people even take out loans for cars...



Anyway, this is what I would do if I had debt.

FIRST--put all money into a single account. If you have savings acct.s, multiple checking acct.s., etc. put it all together (except investments, of course).

SECOND--make a list of all of your monthly expenses, including past debts, and include on the list the amount owed, the minimum payments, and the monthly due date.

THIRD--Set up your bank account to automatically pay those bills one week before they are due each month. (You should be able to do this online, but you can call your bank for help)

FOURTH--You have two options:

1. Choose the acct with the highest interest rate and make an additional payment towards that acct every month--pay as much as you possibly can while your bank automatically makes the minimum payment on time for all the others. Once that debt acct is paid off, move on to the next highest interest rate.

2. Talk to your bank about a debt consolidation loan. This will combine all of your past debt (unsecured debt only) into one account. This way, you only have one bill to pay each month, instead of several. Pay as much as possible on this account each month until it is paid off. (You usually need acceptable credit for this option, but if you can get the loan it will save you thousands on interest payments).

[deleted account]

YES Dave Ramsey's programs are the best we started 2 years ago after I decided to stay home and we needed to figure out how to live on 1/2 the income. We are now debt free besides the mortgage. Not easy to do, but pretty simple once you get it straightened out. Definately works if you commit to follow it. Good Luck!

[deleted account]

I'm not a huge Dave Ramsey fan, but another thought would be to check out some of his books from your local library. Free advice! There are many other finance guru's out there, so look around for one you have similar values with. I personally prefer Suze Orman. She doesn't have the classes Dave has, but she's more down to earth for my liking.

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Karen - posted on 02/12/2012

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Two words: DAVE RAMSEY! I, too, am a new SAHM 9months now, and my husband I started the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover 4months ago and we've paid off 6,000 in debt, and put 2,000 in savings for emergencies in that time. We have/had a total of 48,000 in debt Before counting our house. If we stay on track, we will have all 48,000 paid off by August 2013! We used to barely squeak bye with both of us working full time. Now we have an "extra" 800 a month to put towards paying off our debt, just with his income. I'm not trying to brag, I've just become very passionate about going Debt Free. First you need to cut everything you can, your extended cable needs to be cut back to basic. Your unlimited messaging/data plans need to be basic. Cut everything you can (within reason of course, you just have to figure out what you can and cannot live with/out). Take that money you're "saving" and put it to savings, you won't miss it because you were paying it out anyway. Keep saving until you have 1-2,000 saved for emergencies. After that the "trick" is Snowballing! Take that money you "saved" from cutting back and start putting it towards your lowest balance bill until it's paid off! Then take the money you "saved" in step one, Plus the money you were paying as your minimum balance on the first bill and put it ALL towards your next lowest balance bill until That one is paid off. Keep it going until you have ALL of your bills paid! After that you can save several, and I do mean Several thousand a year for College, vacations, Retirement etc. It will happen quickly and you won't even notice. You won't "miss" the money because you were already spending it on bills anyway. Just keep repeating the process and it will go FAST! Before you know it, you'll have several bills paid off and will be able to put a LOT into savings. If you can't buy it with cash, don't buy it! NO credit cards. We've been snowballing and have paid off 4 credit cards and my Car that we had owed 1,700 on. Good Luck!!!!

Krystal - posted on 02/06/2012

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I'm definitely going to have to get me one of those. Thanks for the idea Natalie!

[deleted account]

I haven't found a single program yet that helps me keep track of all my bill's due dates in a way that works for me. Instead, I bought a wooden bill organizer with a slot for each date. You just put the bill into the slot for the day it is due. For the ones I have to mail still (rather than pay online), I slot them a week ahead of when they are due so there is time to mail them. The organizer lives on my desk right next to my computer so there's no excuses to not see the bills due. Mine also has a handy drawer for paperclips, stamps, etc.

Krystal - posted on 02/04/2012

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So far I'm loving learnvest, it has all the tools I need except for the debt snowball thing for free. Plus I'm loving the daily emails they send about different things you can do to help your finances, time management, etc. The other day I had one about feng shui... awesome.

[deleted account]

Krystal, before you sign up for the Dave Ramsey stuff. I would suggest taking his Financial Peace University class either online or find one on his website in your area. It is $100. But you get a kit with everything you need and you only pay the one time and can retake the class as many times as you want for the rest of your lives. I find it useful because it goes from getting out of debt and saving all the way through retirement. So you can get more out of it at different stages.



Also, there are endoresed local providers that will help you for free with the materials once you have taken the class so that you have personalized help. The leaders of our class also provide free counseling to anyone one who has taken the class. This is a huge benefit because they are trained and financial advisers can charge hundreds of dollars an hour. If you have any questions you can message me on facebook.



Plus you get to use all his online stuff throughout the class time for free as well. It is 13 weeks. Good Luck

Krystal - posted on 01/28/2012

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I already have mint.com set up which is what led me to ask about programs for debt and other bills. I'm going to go check on Dave Ramsey. Does it cost anything to start up?

Jessica - posted on 01/28/2012

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I third Dave Ramsey- my husband and I just started a couple of weeks ago.

Also, we just started using mint.com to track our expenses. It takes a while to set up, but it will pull information from everywhere- credit cards, mortgage, student loant, 401K, all of it, and put it on one place. It also allows you to set up budgets and will tell you where you are with them and tells you what bills are coming due. We haven't used it very long, but so far it looks pretty good. And it's free.

Lastly, I made a couple of spreadsheets in Excel- one of which has each debt we have, how much it is monthly, how much to pay it off, the interest rate, etc. If you are good with excel you might try that.

Good luck with everything!

Belinda - posted on 01/27/2012

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It sounds like you need some help! Have you googled debt counselors? I wish I could give you some actual companies that you could go to for assistance - I don't know of any though. I think that there are legitimate organisations out there who can help you to organize all this information and give you advice, but I do not know definately.



I did find this link which may be able to help you!

http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-l...

Good Luck!

[deleted account]

Quicken allows you to do most of that. I still can't figure out how to have it keep track of my mortgage, so I just leave that part alone. My best advice for you is to start tracking all your spending for a month or two. After having that data, you'll be on your way to making a plan.

Krystal - posted on 01/27/2012

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I don't really know what I'm looking for either. I have so many bills to catch up on that I can't keep them all straight. I've tried a couple apps on my ipad and downloaded a couple different things but so far haven't found something that lets me keep track of one time bills, recurring bills, loan payments, and past due debt. I just don't know where to start... at all. I will probably eventually have to file bankruptcy. DH definitely will from the debt he got from his first message, but if I can get all of this straightened out in a way that lets me look at it all and make some kind of plan then maybe I won't have to file with him and at least one of us can have a good credit score.

[deleted account]

Not completely sure what you are looking for, but I use Quicken to track all of my spending. I've used it for at least the last 3 years and really love it. It has so many useful features that I doubt I've figured them all out.

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