“Track everything you spend” is one of the key steps to getting rich slowly. It’s easy to do this after the fact using a personal ledger or software such as Quicken. But how do you plan for expenses?

A budget is the best way to see where your money needs to go. Some people keep detailed budgets, and adhere to them religiously. Others — such as myself — keep loose budgets, and use them simply as guidelines. Whichever kind of budgeter you are, PearBudget is an excellent tool to help the process.

PearBudget is a FREE budgeting program, written in Excel. It can be used by almost any spreadsheet program (Excel, Word, OpenOffice, etc.). Setup is a snap, and it takes less than half an hour a month to maintain it and see how you’re doing. (And—did we mention?—it’s free!)

The brains behind PearBudget are currently developing a web-based version of the software. If you’ve been wanting to start a budget, or have been looking for ways to simplify your existing budget process, give PearBudget a try.