We've been talking about different types of literacy over the last month, taking a look at the best software to help you maximize your skills. There's more to literacy than just reading and mathematics, however: knowing how to manage your money is just as important.
Most of us have made silly mistakes with our money from time to time. Maybe you've spent all of your salary (or pocket money!) before the month is out, or forgot to factor in interest when thinking about a loan. For some people though, these problems aren't a once-off, they're a fact of life. If you think this might apply to you, then keep reading.
The key to money management is planning, planning, planning. Everyone should keep a journal of their spending and record absolutely anything that comes in or goes out of their account. Nothing can escape, not even a sneaky latte or newspaper. Presuming that you've been keeping up with our series, your math skills should be steadily improving, and in conjunction with the free, reliable advice offered by many governments (Australia, Ireland, Singapore, UK and the US, just for starters), you'll be well on your way to becoming the next Warren Buffet.
Luckily, the Internet abounds with programs that keep a track on your spending and I'm going to take a look at some of our most popular. There's no way we could talk about personal finances without mentioning Buddi. This tool bills itself as 'software for the rest of us' and since its main aim is to make money management as easy as possible for people without financial experience, it sounds like the perfect program. One of the main things that beginners need to keep in mind is to keep your software simple, and Buddi certainly delivers.
I've noticed that some developers get over-excited and try to squash enough features into their programs to easily set up a gold trading company on the stock market. Exciting as that might be, if you're still having problems making your paycheck last long enough to pay the electricity bill...well, you might be overreaching. HomeBank is a good option, a program that will give you the simplicity you need by offering only the most basic functions, without any complicated frills.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that sometimes all those numbers are just plain BORING. I can't make them any more fun, but I can suggest a program that will inject a bit of color - Personal Finances. This brightly colored application has all the features you'll need, accompanied by jazzy colors and some cute illustrations. Hey, it won't make you any richer, but it might just brighten up your number-crunching!
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Math
Part 3: Reading