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Most of us have just a few sources of income — jobs, interest and dividends or support payments, for example. But we have many ways to spend. That makes it tough to track your money.
You can use spreadsheets, apps, or pencil and paper to keep track of your money coming in and going out. How much did you spend on food at home or out? On transportation, rent or mortgage, utilities, clothes, entertainment, health care, donations? How much on paying back student loans or credit card debt?
The digital age has made it so much easier to keep track than it used to be. Our favorite tool is You Need a Budget (YNAB), an app that registers your outlay and what you’re spending money on, as it automatically measures progress toward your goals. (Here’s how it works.) But there are plenty of others you could choose, like Mint and PocketGuard. They’re all a little different, so see which one suits you.