5-Minute Quiz: Your Best Budget

puzzleThe reason budgets fail—or people never try them in the first place—is that the budgeting concept is misunderstood.

Many people believe (or pray) that a budget will solve many of their money problems. A budget is really more like a blueprint: it consists of guidelines of how to build a better financial life. The rest is up to you.

The trick to successful budgeting is to find one that fits your skills, goals and financial style. To find your best budget, take this short quiz:

  1. I need a budget that will help me:

    a. Cut back my spending
    b. Learn where my money is going
    c. Achieve a goal
    (e.g. pay off debt, create emergency savings)
    d. All of the above

  2. I would describe my money style as:

    a. Detail-oriented – I'm a "to the penny" person
    b. Loose – I'm all about the big picture
    c. Schizophrenic – I keep tabs for a month, then drop the ball

  3. When it comes to technology:

    a. I suck. I'm so analog I can barely text
    b. I'm a geek, an early adapter of any new whizbang app
    c. I'm competent, but not super-comfortable

Get Your Score!
  1. There is no score for question one, but your answer is important. After you arrive at your score below, knowing the intended purpose of your spending plan will help you pick the right match.
  2. a = 10; b = 5; c = 0
  3. a = 0; b = 10; c = 5
Your Score:

0-5 – You broke a sweat just taking the quiz. Try this easy-does-it plan.

10- 15 – You'd like to get a grip on your money, but you don't want to watch every dime. In short, you're a good match for one of the many, user-friendly money management Websites. Test-drive one or two to find one you like best fit. We like Mint, Adaptu, and PowerWallet.

15 – 20 — You have serious CFO tendencies, which can be a blessing—or a curse if you don't have a budget that caters to your inner control freak. 400 people love the Family Budget Planner on Google Docs. {6/1/10 update: Google removed the spreadsheet, so here's another link: http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/family-budget-planner.html}

How do you make your budget work for you? Tell us:

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