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Can't lick this envelope

Stick to a budget with this up-to-date, old-school method.

There are probably as many personal budgeting programs out there as most of us have dollars in our checking accounts, and most of them use traditional accounting methods in which income and expenses are recorded after the money is spent. Budget for Windows by Snowmint Creative Solutions uses an increasingly popular alternative, the envelope method. It's similar to the way many people once budgeted for expenses, by placing money aside in envelopes for next month's rent, groceries, and so on, as soon as they're paid. The envelope method can actually help you stick to a budget, too. The key is to "pay your budget first."

Budget for Windows does away with the paper envelopes, but it basically operates the same way, by squirreling away your money in easy-to-manage virtual envelopes that not only help you track and analyze household expenses but also ensure that the money is available when you need it. You can use it to simply track expenses without turning your accounts over it, too. A wizard simplifies setting up a budget, such as entering income and expenses, and generates a dialog box you use to manage your new budget, pay bills, write checks, and perform many other financial tasks.

With Budget for Windows, everything old is new again: Up-to-date, easy-to-use personal finance software based on a tried-and-true method. It's free to try and fully functional except for a nag screen and a few other limitations; the registered version is thirty bucks and comes with lifetime upgrades.

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