I’ve given fair shots to Mint, Quicken Online, and pretty much every other personal finance tool that pops up.

But for our regular checking account, a spreadsheet that acts as a register going backward and a budget going forward is our perfect solution. We’ve kept it current for five years running.

All deposits are there going forward — as are recurring bills and budgets for groceries, gas and other expenses each month.

When we spend in a budget category, we decrease the remaining budget balance for the month when we add the expense.

Simple yet effective.