Best free budgeting software when being paid twice a year
May 9, 2008 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I need to find a simple, preferably free budgeting program that will allow me to enter income twice a year rather than on a monthly basis.

I'm a graduate student who gets paid my stipend twice a year rather than on a monthly basis. This means that I often find myself short of money at the end of the six month period and am in dire need of good budgeting software. So far all the options I've tried haven't worked out well for me. I gave Mint a shot, but it doesn't seem to actually allow one to budget amounts of money. It automatically records bank transactions but usually with a delay of a week or so. This makes it pretty much useless for my purposes. I tried Cha-Ching but found that it didn't seem to have an option for yearly payments. Similar problem with PearBudget. This is my first year living on my own and I'm always doing stupid things like overdrawing my account because I forgot about a rent check and my taxes check and both got cleared at the same time. If you feel that a budgeting software wouldn't be the best option for me I'd love to hear your strategies for effective budgeting too.
posted by peacheater to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried a simple excel worksheet? I budget the future by plugging in my monthly expenses and income over a year. It predicts when I will get low on funds and allows me to plan ahead so that I am never overdrawn. I would be happy to send you a template.
posted by prefpara at 2:49 PM on May 9, 2008

Not budgeting software, but allows for using any budgeting software:

Why don't you just put the money in a savings account (emigrant direct or equivalent), and just have an auto-transfer twice a month like a regular paycheck? Then you can budget off of that.

Forget the savings account exists, just live off the transfered money in your checking account. Since you're a student, you probably have one-time fees that come out of the money, so maybe allocate 3/4 for living, and 1/4 as a lump sum for the semester. The 3/4 chunk would follow the same twice-a-month schedule of "pay checks" transfered to your checking account.
posted by cschneid at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2008

Try the free PearBudget Excel worksheet. It should be able to setup your budget and see how you're doing over time with it.
posted by ssheth at 3:23 PM on May 9, 2008

IndyBudget has been working great for me so far. It allows you to schedule recurring payments exactly like you want.
posted by atomly at 4:08 PM on May 9, 2008

I'm sure I've recommended it before in other budgeting/money-management threads: AceMoney is the only good money management app I use (and I've tried nearly all of them). It's not free, but it's cheap. Scheduling recurring payments/debts is very easy. The only thing that sucks about it is that it's windows only - it's the only thing I run bootcamp for...
posted by soplerfo at 7:40 PM on May 9, 2008

Let me add another fruit to the basket. Try out Peach Budget, which is just a spreadsheet with a lot of functionality.
posted by vannsant at 8:40 PM on May 9, 2008

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'll try out IndyBudget and PeachBudget. I have been trying to do that thing where you only withdraw a small amount of money from your savings account and use it for the month, but I forget to do that and end up with problems. So I think the solution is to the automatic transfer like cschneld suggested.
posted by peacheater at 8:09 AM on May 10, 2008

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