UPDATE: The winner is Amee  madamedeal@. Congratulations!

Those of you who read this blog regularly know I have been struggling with my budget.  For a few months I tried to use credit cards to track all purchases, but I was concerned I was overspending because I wasn’t physically seeing the cash leave my hands.  Then, I switched to all cash, but lacked the discipline to write every thing down.  Last month I did write all of my purchase down for 10 days, but I got busy with the holidays and didn’t have time to recalculate every thing to see how much I spent in each category.

A couple of weeks ago I read about Pear Budget and decided to take advantage of the free 30 day trial.  I am so glad I did because I LOVE this program!  When you join, you set up monthly spending categories, how much you plan to spend in each category, and what your income will be.  Then the system takes you through planning out your irregular expenses so you can save for them throughout the year (this includes items like car insurance, home owners insurance, etc).  The set up process takes less than 15 minutes, and you can always update your information later.

Then, you regularly visit Pear Budget and enter the date you spent money, how much you spent, what category the spending came from and any notes you would like to make such as where you made the purchase or what method of purchase you used.

Pear Budget gives you a running total of what you have spent during the month in all of your categories and how much you have left in each category.  Pear Budget also gives you a portable “Go-Card” that you can put in your wallet or purse that tells you exactly how much you have left in each category.

I know many people use Mint.com, but I have always been leery of having so much personal, sensitive date stored in one place.   What I love best about Pear Budget is that the system ONLY stores the dollar amounts you have spent; it does not store ANY personal data.  You are never even asked to supply that data.  Finally a budgeting tool I can use online that doesn’t require any risk. 

Pear Budget is currently a nominal $3.00 a month (or $30 a year).  Thanks to an expanding market, the people behind Pear Budget have had to hire additional workers and are raising the fee for Pear Budget to $4.95 a month or $49.50 per year.  However, if you sign up for an account BEFORE January 20th, you can lock in for life at the old rate of $3.00 a month or $30 a year.  If this is something you might be interested in, I would recommend trying it out for free, and if you like it, subscribe before January 20th.

The Giveaway:

Pear Budget has generously agreed to give one lucky reader a free 6 month subscription.

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment answering this question, “If you were looking to find a new tool to help you manage your money, what would you type into Google?”

Additional Methods of Entry:

-Follow Pear Budget on Twitter

-Follow Mom’s Plans on Twitter

-Follow Mon’s Plans on Facebook

-Follow Mom’s Plans by RSS feed or Google Friend Connect or let me know if you already are, if that is the case.

-Blog about this giveaway or post it on Facebook or Twitter and then come back here and leave the link for verification.

This giveaway will end on January 18th at 11:59 p.m. CST.  The winner will be chosen via random.org.

I received a 6 month subscription to Pear Budget for review purposes. (Thank you Pear Budget!)  I received no other compensation for this review and giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

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