I’m a very visual learner. If I can't picture something or build it in my head before I try it in real life, I'm doomed. The older I get, the more I realize just how important it is to cater to my learning style if I’m going to succeed at anything—which includes budgeting.
This post will teach you more about what tools will work best for your learning style, so that you can begin 2015 by sticking to your budget!
1. Visual learner
As a visual learner, you’ll visualize your way to success. First, you need to see how your budget will work, and then you can make it happen!
- Tool types: Graphs, pictures, charts, slide shows, flow charts and other visual aids can help you picture where your money is going now, where you want it to go, and how to manage the transition.
- Suggested tools: Both Mint and BudgetTracker offer free comprehensive financial management systems rich in visual aids.
2. Physical learner
As a physical learner, you want to use hands-on tools and achieve results you can literally touch.
- Tool types: You will benefit the most from budgeting tools that allow you to actually touch your money as it is being used for various budgeting activities. A cash-based envelope system and the "old school" pencil-and-paper budget may end up being the perfect solution for you.
- Suggested tools: Dave Ramsey offers you free downloadable forms you can complete with pencil, and the original envelope system tools to keep budgeting tangible for you.
3. Social learner
As a social learner, you benefit the most from the company of others as you learn. You crave social interaction, discussion and the chance to connect to others with similar goals. Half the battle for you is finding a way to make budgeting fun—which means finding a way to work towards your budget goals and making new social connections at the same time.
- Tool types: For you, finding a budgeting buddy or joining an online group or social media-based app for both accountability and socialization will be your key to budgeting success.
- Suggested tools: For just $0.99, you may like iOS-based Group Budget App for budgeting your family expenses (it’s also great for school and work!). For social-based support, try Facebook's Women in Red Racers or LearnVest, which comes with personal one-on-one support, online classes and a robust social community.
4. Auditory learner
Auditory learners lean heavily on their ears for learning success, so you’ll want to look for audio versions of budgeting tools in order for you to succeed.
- Tool types: Choose audio-based aids (such as special alert tones for various budgeting activities). Playing certain kinds of music can also enhance your enjoyment as you learn and help you retain new information more effectively. Audio books are also a win-win for you as you learn about budgeting and finance. If you decide to work with a budgeting coach or counselor, you may find phone sessions work best so you can really concentrate on taking information in by ear.
- Suggested tools: Budget Alert is an iOS app that syncs across multiple devices ($0.99 for iPhone/$1.99 for iPad) and allows customizable alerts for various budgeting and financial activities.
5. Logical learner
As a logical learner, your strength is in numbers, facts and calculations. Whether you’re tackling your budget, a new home improvement project, or your child's math homework—you’re all about finding the most expedient and efficient way to get it done.
- Tool types: Think calculators and spreadsheets—number crunching activities are right up your alley as you learn to stick to your monthly budget.
- Suggested tools: Buxfer is a Mint-type tool (with both an online and app-based component) that allows you to sync accounts and perform detailed calculations, including forecasting.