It’s been a long, looong time since I’ve done reader questions, but I thought it was time to bring it back to the blog! Often I respond to questions via twitter, Facebook, or email, and respond to them there. While I’ll continue to do that I thought blog readers may have similar questions, so I’m bringing back reader questions once a week on the blog.
If you have questions you can email me (email@example.com), tweet me, or send me a question on my Facebook page.
Health Savings Account Plans: Good idea?
This is actually my question! I asked on the Centsible Life Facebook page about this, but would love more feedback. It’s open enrollment time for our health insurance (as it is for many folks in the US), and we have a new option on our healthcare ‘menu’ of options. It’s a high deductible plan with a Health Savings Account. An oversimplified version is that you contribute funds to a savings account that remains untouched until you need it for health care expenses. While that part sounds good, there are limits to your contributions and a high deductible that goes along with it. A lower cost is another pro, though the math seems to favor our previous PPO plan.
I would love to hear if you have found that a Health Savings Account and high deductible health plan and how it has worked for you.
Allowance for 6-year-old?
A reader asked what amount of allowance is appropriate for a 6-year-old. I have shared my thoughts on allowance in the past, but would love to hear you weigh in. How much is enough for a 6-year-old? How often do they receive an allowance?
Personally, I would recommend about $3 per week and we would strongly encourage they save $1 for longer term purchases.
Best Budget Tools
Another reader asked, “I was wondering if you had any suggestions on a budget app or spreadsheet for monthly bills/income. I want something that will help me stay on track. I’m having trouble organizing everything & it’s making me NUTS!!!”
What are your favorite budget tools?
I get the going nuts part. It’s tough to keep track of multiple accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgage, and all the little details. If you throw in a few side gigs or a job like mine with freelance/consultant income (unreliable for budgeting) it’s even more challenging.
Here’s the thing though Rebecca wants to know what THE tool is, the magic one that will help you get your budget right and track everything.
There is no single tool/app/spreadsheet I can recommend that can and will work for everyone. We’re all wired differently. We have different needs. Some may need a simple spreadsheet while someone else may need a complicated spreadsheet to track spending that can be expensed to their company or multiple spending and savings accounts.
What I do:
Personally, I’m a pen and paper person. As much as I love to rely on apps on the go to check activity and balances, make transfers, and monitor spending they simply don’t allow me the ability to process ALL the information we need to track in one place.
I use a series of spreadsheets and printables and you’ll often find me with notebook sheets filled with math problems when I’m paying bills and making financial plans.
I’m also testing out Quicken now, so stay tuned for a review of that in the near future.
- Excel spreadsheets: These budget spreadsheets are affordable and easy to use and customize to your needs.
- You Need a Budget: I have not used it, but many personal finance bloggers I know recommend it.
- Quicken: It’s a great tool that many people use.
- Mint.com: Mint takes some time to adjust to your
- Your Bank: Check with your bank(s). Most offer a form of budgeting software or tracking that can be helpful and simple to use.
Do you have any advice for today’s questions or a question of your own? Leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!