I'm great at frugality but not so great at budgeting. Sure, I can make fancy multi-colored self-calculating spreadsheets but accuracy isn't my strong point.
I'm guessing accuracy would be a good thing when dealing with finances.
I downloaded an app called mint.com thinking it would solve all my problems. The app pulls every transaction from your checking account and classifies them. At the end of the month, you can see how much you spent in each category and set budgets or goals based on your spending habits.
The app produced a pie chart of my spending. My 'pie' wasn't so much a sliced pie as it was a giant cheese wheel with the word 'MORTGAGE' stamped across it.
I set my budget working timidly around the mortgage cheese wheel. $10 for food this month? Sure! I've survived on $8 before!
Satisfied, I clicked 'finished'.
I picked up groceries and diapers for the kidlet only to get a loud DING of an incoming e-mail on my cell phone.
"You are $47 over your grocery budget"
"You are $13 over your gasoline budget"
"You are $27 over your childcare budget"
What I didn't know? The stupid app harasses you EVERY TIME you use your debit card and go over budget.
"Do you really need that Nestle bar? It puts you over budget and we don't even want to get into your caloric budget"
It's like my mother... but with access to my checking account... requires more time and attention...and slightly less guilt.
No more grocery trips this week.