Financial Software – Part 2

Welcome to the latest series at www.JoeSangl.com – Financial Software!

In Part 1, I shared the reasons that I use Microsoft Money.

Now I want to share how the use of this software has enabled Jenn and I to take our finances to another level.

First, let me go back a few years to explain how I discovered this software …

It was in early 2000, and I was sitting in a leadership meeting for NewSpring Church.  It was me, Perry Noble, and Jason Wilson.

The new church was just getting off the ground (less than four months old), and Perry pulled out these incredible looking financial reports.  When I say "incredible", I mean just that.  I was floored.  I was amazed about two things – (1) the incredible reports and (2) that PERRY had them!

"What …?  How …?  Where did you get those?", I stammered.

"Your wife printed them out for me.", Perry said.

They were INCREDIBLE!  These statements were more professional than anything I had seen in Corporate America.

I asked my wife (who was the church secretary at the time) how she did it.  "With Microsoft Money", she said.

I immediately switched our personal finances from my paper-based system to Microsoft Money and have never looked back.

Here is how this software has helped us take our finances to the next level:

  • It made me realize how crazy we were spending our money.  We were debit card kings!  Everything was a debit card purchase.  $2.46 purchase.  $1.03 purchase.  $3.21 purchase.  We averaged 90 transactions per month.  When we switched to cash envelopes, we cut our transactions by over 60%!  We now average less than 30 transactions per month.
  • It made me realize that we did not have a plan for our money.  When you have to categorize an average of $500 of spending as "Miscellaneous" each month because you don't really know where it went, you have a problem!  That is exactly what we were doing.  By using this software, I SWIFTLY realized where it was going – the grocery store, restaurants, and impulse purchases on "wants".
  • It makes me vote.  When I enter paychecks, I enter the gross income and all of the deductions.  When you see how much you pay in taxes on an annual basis, it will drive you to the polling booth every time you have the chance!  I want to ensure that tax money is managed well.
  • It helped me become even more organized.  Microsoft Money (and I'm sure other personal finance software) allows you to set up recurring reminders on certain bills.  It ensures that I pay them on time!  AND if someone ever disputes a payment, I can quickly find the transaction and end that discussion.
  • It allows me to track multiple accounts at the same time.  I love having all of my financial information in one place.  It allows me to quickly see a snapshot of my overall financial condition.  That's a good thing!

I highly recommend that you use Microsoft Money, Quicken, or other similar software.  Many times it comes already installed on your new computer.  Check out your computer and see if you have it.  If you do, try it out right!

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One Response to “Financial Software – Part 2”

  1. Mark February 2, 2008 at 8:26 am #

    Hey Joe, the most interesting thing to me about this post is that you enter your checks as the gross amount AND the itemized deductions. Other than forcing yourself to the voting polls (I’m already passionate about that for many reasons including money) can you explain more about why it is helpful to keep track of the deductions in the software? Does it help you file your taxes easier or anything else? I’ve never tried to use Quicken in conjunction with Turbotax when I’m doing my taxes, but I think it has that capability.

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