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15 Useful Things That'll Help You Budget And Save Money

These products and tips range from easy to challenging, so you can find something that works for your lifestyle and goals.

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1. A user-friendly, monthly budget planner that will help you keep track of your expenses by category so you see the bigger picture of your spending habits — and where you can make cut backs.

Promising review: "I have tried many different budget books and apps. This was exactly what I was looking for! The biggest benefit was that I could add my own categories for expenses. When budgeting, I don't like to break things down into 20 different categories, I keep them very basic. I appreciate the fact that this allows me to do so. I also like that it is also broken down by days. I'm so relieved to have finally found exactly what I have been looking for." —CharlotteGet it from Amazon for $7.99.
amazon.com

Promising review: "I have tried many different budget books and apps. This was exactly what I was looking for! The biggest benefit was that I could add my own categories for expenses. When budgeting, I don't like to break things down into 20 different categories, I keep them very basic. I appreciate the fact that this allows me to do so. I also like that it is also broken down by days. I'm so relieved to have finally found exactly what I have been looking for." —Charlotte

Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

2. A planner which comes with 12 monthly pockets for receipts and timely bills so you have everything in one organized place.

The pages are removable so if you don't like the cover, you can easily transfer to a three-ring binder of your choice.Promising review: "The book is perfect for expense and budgeting monthly. They’ve updated the calendar in the book so it shows 2018, 2019, and 2020. Also the book is the perfect density. I can use a sharpie to write on the pages without it bleeding through. I love this book!" —Alexandrea B."This bill/expense tracker (and organizer) is my favorite! This is the second year I have ordered the same one. It's so helpful at keeping my monthly items organized and easy to get to!!" —SJ SmithGet it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in two colors) or Jet for $16.99.
amazon.com

The pages are removable so if you don't like the cover, you can easily transfer to a three-ring binder of your choice.

Promising review: "The book is perfect for expense and budgeting monthly. They’ve updated the calendar in the book so it shows 2018, 2019, and 2020. Also the book is the perfect density. I can use a sharpie to write on the pages without it bleeding through. I love this book!" —Alexandrea B.

"This bill/expense tracker (and organizer) is my favorite! This is the second year I have ordered the same one. It's so helpful at keeping my monthly items organized and easy to get to!!" —SJ Smith

Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in two colors) or Jet for $16.99.

3. A wildly popular book (it literally has over 5,400 positive reviews) to give a read. It lays out simple, no-nonsense steps that'll help you regain control of your finances.

Promising review: "I grabbed this book because I was tired of watching our bank account drain and credit card balances rise, all the while wondering where the heck our money was going. And quite simply put, this changed everything for us within the first month. The 'makeover' is a set of seven baby steps, but before the steps comes the cornerstone of the whole program: a written budget and a cash envelope system. The book covers why you need a written budget, and boy, it was true for us. Sure, I had a mental idea of what our bills were. But writing everything out let me see ALL the little things I tend to forget about, and how quickly they add up. Then comes the cash envelope system, which helped us make an immediate 180-degree turnaround on our spending. The book covers why cash is better than plastic (debit as well as credit), as well as how to create cash envelopes for each spending category and stuff them with the budgeted amounts. No more accidental overspending!" –Janell Michaels Get it from Amazon for $11.15, Barnes & Noble for $15.29, or through a local bookseller on IndieBound.
amazon.com / Jimmy M / amazon.com

Promising review: "I grabbed this book because I was tired of watching our bank account drain and credit card balances rise, all the while wondering where the heck our money was going. And quite simply put, this changed everything for us within the first month. The 'makeover' is a set of seven baby steps, but before the steps comes the cornerstone of the whole program: a written budget and a cash envelope system. The book covers why you need a written budget, and boy, it was true for us. Sure, I had a mental idea of what our bills were. But writing everything out let me see ALL the little things I tend to forget about, and how quickly they add up. Then comes the cash envelope system, which helped us make an immediate 180-degree turnaround on our spending. The book covers why cash is better than plastic (debit as well as credit), as well as how to create cash envelopes for each spending category and stuff them with the budgeted amounts. No more accidental overspending!" –Janell Michaels

Get it from Amazon for $11.15, Barnes & Noble for $15.29, or through a local bookseller on IndieBound.

4. A set of color-coded envelopes — like the ones mentioned in the review above — that you can designate for certain expense categories. When the envelope is empty, you stop spending money for that category.

Promising review: "I have a pretty packed budget — almost all of the money I receive is allocated to various categories. Still, I have been able to put some into savings by spending less than expected. Just seeing the cash in the pocket helps me restrain myself, especially at the grocery store. I have saved a third of my monthly budget in two months simply by handling the money I was spending. The envelopes are so much better than paperweight envelopes and I get asked about them all the time. I am ready to give them away to every graduate I know for their graduation gift. It's a must-have in the journey to save money and keep yourself debt free OR pay off debts. Even when you make a lot of money, they are perfect for making all your spending well thought out. They go in and out of my purse constantly, and the register PDF you can request makes it super easy to use for months on end, even with your most active category. I can not recommend them enough." —AngrybearsGet it from Amazon $11.99.
amazon.com

Promising review: "I have a pretty packed budget — almost all of the money I receive is allocated to various categories. Still, I have been able to put some into savings by spending less than expected. Just seeing the cash in the pocket helps me restrain myself, especially at the grocery store. I have saved a third of my monthly budget in two months simply by handling the money I was spending. The envelopes are so much better than paperweight envelopes and I get asked about them all the time. I am ready to give them away to every graduate I know for their graduation gift. It's a must-have in the journey to save money and keep yourself debt free OR pay off debts. Even when you make a lot of money, they are perfect for making all your spending well thought out. They go in and out of my purse constantly, and the register PDF you can request makes it super easy to use for months on end, even with your most active category. I can not recommend them enough." —Angrybears

Get it from Amazon $11.99.

5. Digit — an app to do mindless saving for you. It pulls small amounts of money from your bank account daily, so (over time) you earn a nice little rainy day fund.

I use this app and I can honestly say that it's the best way for me to save up for something! It pulls out low amounts (literally like $5) each day so most of the time I don't even notice it's gone. I can set limits on the maximum amount I want taken out, which helps when I want to speed up or slow down saving. The app can also automatically pause from withdrawals when my account hits a certain amount — ya know, so I don't wind up in the negative for any reason. When I am ready to spend it, I can simply transfer it all back! I've been using it for about two months now and I've saved almost $300!Get it from the App Store or Google Play for free for 30 days ($2.99/month after the 30 days are up).
itunes.apple.com

I use this app and I can honestly say that it's the best way for me to save up for something! It pulls out low amounts (literally like $5) each day so most of the time I don't even notice it's gone. I can set limits on the maximum amount I want taken out, which helps when I want to speed up or slow down saving. The app can also automatically pause from withdrawals when my account hits a certain amount — ya know, so I don't wind up in the negative for any reason. When I am ready to spend it, I can simply transfer it all back! I've been using it for about two months now and I've saved almost $300!

Get it from the App Store or Google Play for free for 30 days ($2.99/month after the 30 days are up).

6. A weekly meal plan pad that will force you to do more cookin' and less eatin' out (because ordering takeout every night adds up fast!).

Promising review: "This note pad has saved my life! As a busy working single mom on budget, this little notepad has saved me a lot of money and time. It has saved me money because I actually buy what's on my list instead of just playing it by ear in the grocery store. It has also saved me time because I don't have to think about what's for dinner each night and wonder if I have everything I need. Eating healthy meals on a budget takes planning — and this little notepad helps get that done!" —K. McCloudGet it from Amazon or Walmart for $5.60.And check out some of these posts to get delicious, budget-friendly recipes:—20 Cheap Meals That Won't Break The Bank—I Tried Cooking Dinner All Week On A $30 Budget—26 Budget-Friendly Dinners With No Meat Or Dairy
amazon.com

Promising review: "This note pad has saved my life! As a busy working single mom on budget, this little notepad has saved me a lot of money and time. It has saved me money because I actually buy what's on my list instead of just playing it by ear in the grocery store. It has also saved me time because I don't have to think about what's for dinner each night and wonder if I have everything I need. Eating healthy meals on a budget takes planning — and this little notepad helps get that done!" —K. McCloud

Get it from Amazon or Walmart for $5.60.

And check out some of these posts to get delicious, budget-friendly recipes:

20 Cheap Meals That Won't Break The Bank

I Tried Cooking Dinner All Week On A $30 Budget

26 Budget-Friendly Dinners With No Meat Or Dairy

7. A pre-planned grocery notepad — use it each week so you can go to the store and ONLY buy what you need, which will help you save some $$ in the long run.

Promising review: "I love this shopping list! In my house, it was constantly 'what do you want to eat' and 'what do we have', blah blah etc. Now, I can lay out the weeks meals and get my shopping list prepared so I make sure I don't miss anything at the grocery store. The magnet on the back is strong and holds it to the fridge perfectly, even with the door opening and closing constantly. The perforation is good, and doesn't stray off into the paper like some cheaper papers do. Will be buying again when my current one gets low." —HaleyGet it from Amazon for $8.95 (available in 11 color and style combinations).
amazon.com

Promising review: "I love this shopping list! In my house, it was constantly 'what do you want to eat' and 'what do we have', blah blah etc. Now, I can lay out the weeks meals and get my shopping list prepared so I make sure I don't miss anything at the grocery store. The magnet on the back is strong and holds it to the fridge perfectly, even with the door opening and closing constantly. The perforation is good, and doesn't stray off into the paper like some cheaper papers do. Will be buying again when my current one gets low." —Haley

Get it from Amazon for $8.95 (available in 11 color and style combinations).

8. A (very cute) thin budget book to add to your bigger day-to-day planner. It's small and compact so it can slip into your agenda, and it provides templates to help you lay out your expenses.

etsy.com

Get it from Printable Wisdom on Etsy for $10.

9. Plus some adorable budget stickers for whichever planner you're using (to remind you of bill due dates and help keep visual track of spending).

Get it from Lavish Paper Co. on Etsy for $4.94.
etsy.com

Get it from Lavish Paper Co. on Etsy for $4.94.

10. A hilariously charming self-help book so you can get excited about the idea of budgeting and understand what it will look like in your own life.

Because sometimes ya just need some good ol' encouragement!Promising review: "WOW, this book is amazing. I love Jen Sincero as an author — I can relate to her writing so much. I am an '80s/'90s kid and her sense of humor and logic just resonates with me completely. She incorporates so many examples within her own life and relays them in a way that makes total sense: Like how to face your fears and everything that makes you uncomfortable about making money. Jen talks about how you should always have the tenacity and feeling as if the best thing ever is right around the corner, and how you should be able to just feel it in your bones. I feel that this book came at the right time for me, and I'm planning on reading it again and doing the exercises daily. I know deep down this is the catalyst I need to help change my life. I would love to have Jen as a personal coach, the book does however, make you feel like she's coaching you personally. LOVE IT!" —AliciaBelleGet it from Amazon for $12.82, Barnes & Noble for $13.72, or through a local bookseller on IndieBound.
instagram.com

Because sometimes ya just need some good ol' encouragement!

Promising review: "WOW, this book is amazing. I love Jen Sincero as an author — I can relate to her writing so much. I am an '80s/'90s kid and her sense of humor and logic just resonates with me completely. She incorporates so many examples within her own life and relays them in a way that makes total sense: Like how to face your fears and everything that makes you uncomfortable about making money. Jen talks about how you should always have the tenacity and feeling as if the best thing ever is right around the corner, and how you should be able to just feel it in your bones. I feel that this book came at the right time for me, and I'm planning on reading it again and doing the exercises daily. I know deep down this is the catalyst I need to help change my life. I would love to have Jen as a personal coach, the book does however, make you feel like she's coaching you personally. LOVE IT!" —AliciaBelle

Get it from Amazon for $12.82, Barnes & Noble for $13.72, or through a local bookseller on IndieBound.

11. A bullet journal (if you're looking to be a little more ~creative~) for designing your own budgeting spreads so the experience feels more customized and tailored to your goals.

leuchtturm1917.us, Rachel Miller

You can even do this for meal plans, shopping lists, and keeping track of gift buying during the holiday season! There are really no limits with what you can do with a trusty bullet journal. Read our whole guide to bullet journaling.

Promising review: "The paper quality is great in these notebooks. The notebook comes with the pages pre-numbered. At first I didn't think much of it, or even thought it was that useful. But combine this with the table of contents and applying some cataloging methodology from the Bullet Journal system, and you have a system to help you get super organized with your notes. Sure, you can number pages on any notebook by yourself, but the paper quality is great and this is just too convenient!" —Pete

Get it from Amazon for $19.95+ (available in 21 colors), and some fine-tip pens for $5.49.

And get a bunch of budgeting spreads to help you track your finances here.

12. A pre-made, downloadable expense tracker spreadsheet that allows you to enter your own budgets (it does all the math for you — thank goodness) and clearly see your spending habits.

The colors are customizable and it's totally editable. It is an Excel Sheet file, so make sure you have access to Excel to use.Get the digital download from Vespertine & Co. on Etsy for $6.
etsy.com

The colors are customizable and it's totally editable. It is an Excel Sheet file, so make sure you have access to Excel to use.

Get the digital download from Vespertine & Co. on Etsy for $6.

13. A book that'll give you comprehensible advice on how to manage (or START managing, *cough cough* recent grads!) your finances. The whole idea is that there are nine simple budgeting rules — all of which can fit on an index card.

Promising review: "Simple advice is the advice you're most likely to follow and this book does a great job of laying out exactly that — simple steps you can take to protect your financial future, *why* those are good steps, and how to avoid common pitfalls. It's great for people who are not following the Index Card steps already and a perfect book to hand out to those younger folks in your life who need a to get started." —Andre MarquisGet it from Amazon for $11.09, Barnes & Noble for $13, or through a local bookseller on IndieBound.
amazon.com

Promising review: "Simple advice is the advice you're most likely to follow and this book does a great job of laying out exactly that — simple steps you can take to protect your financial future, *why* those are good steps, and how to avoid common pitfalls. It's great for people who are not following the Index Card steps already and a perfect book to hand out to those younger folks in your life who need a to get started." —Andre Marquis

Get it from Amazon for $11.09, Barnes & Noble for $13, or through a local bookseller on IndieBound.

14. The Mint app to create budgets, easily track and pay bills, and check your credit score with tips on how to improve it. TL;DR: It's a great way to see all your bills and money in one place.

Get it from the App Store or Google Play for free.
mint.com

Get it from the App Store or Google Play for free.

15. And lastly: coupons! Start taking advantage of them! This doesn't mean you to have to become an avid "extreme couponer" (or it does, it's whatever *you* want for your lifestyle!), but it can help you save. This book will teach ya the basics so you actually know what to do with all those CVS points.

Promising review: "For me it started with watching Extreme Couponing on TV. Things have changed from 2011 — you are not able to get 100 sports drinks or 100 toothpastes. This book is more realistic, and my husband was surprised when I started saving $$$. He was with me when the total came to almost nothing using extra bucks from CVS. The author tells you how to watch for the store's different policies, how you can save money stacking coupons, e-savings, etc., and how to prepare for your first shopping trip. It is worth the little money and it is practical. You can get some tips from the show but things have changed over four years. Good book!!! I am proud of myself, and it is possible to save money, you just have to know how!!!!!!" —Eunice GGet it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $12.95, or though a local bookseller on IndieBound.
amazon.com

Promising review: "For me it started with watching Extreme Couponing on TV. Things have changed from 2011 — you are not able to get 100 sports drinks or 100 toothpastes. This book is more realistic, and my husband was surprised when I started saving $$$. He was with me when the total came to almost nothing using extra bucks from CVS. The author tells you how to watch for the store's different policies, how you can save money stacking coupons, e-savings, etc., and how to prepare for your first shopping trip. It is worth the little money and it is practical. You can get some tips from the show but things have changed over four years. Good book!!! I am proud of myself, and it is possible to save money, you just have to know how!!!!!!" —Eunice G

Get it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble for $12.95, or though a local bookseller on IndieBound.

Let's save some monnnneeeeyyy!

Nickelodeon

Some reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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