Life gets busy and with that usually comes overspending or a lack of financial awareness. Before you know it, you spend much more than you intended or even realized. How do you stop it? You need the best financial planning tools.
Budgeting apps keep you on track and aren’t nearly as hard to use as most people think. They are a useful tool that works right on your smartphone, helping you make the most of your finances.
Budgeting apps help you manage your budget. Basic apps track your income and expenses. More in-depth apps alert you when you overspend, tell you how much money you have available to spend, and even help you save money on your purchases.
Everyone should use a budgeting app, even if they think they’re in control of their finances. Tracking your expenses is rather eye-opening. It tells you where you’re spending (and possibly overspending). There’s something about seeing your spending in black and white that makes you more aware.
Budgeting apps work right on your smartphone, so you always have it with you. The next time you’re in the store and about to make an impulse purchase, pull your phone out and see if it’s a smart choice. Sometimes just looking at the app is enough to change your mind.
Each budgeting app works differently. Some sync with your bank account (using high-level security) and automatically update. Others require you to manually input your expenses and income.
Some apps allow you to set spending thresholds and financial goals. Others just track your cash flow, and that’s all some people need.
There are hundreds of budgeting apps to choose from, but here are some of the most popular:
This free app syncs with your bank account to track your income and expenses. It also offers bill payment reminders and tracks your investments. Users also have access to their TransUnion credit report with Mint.
Like the name suggests, PocketGuard protects your pocketbook. It’s a simple program that only tracks income and expenses. But it tells you at any given time how much you have (or don’t have) available to spend.
YNAB isn’t free, but if you use the Zero-Based Budget, it’s the perfect app for you. YNAB tracks your budget, allows you to set goals, and even offers budgeting advice.
Play with the different budgeting apps available to see which is right for you. No two people have the same budgeting needs. If you don’t mind inputting your own information, look for a free budgeting app that doesn’t sync to your bank account.
If you enjoy automation because it keeps you more accountable and you know you’ll use it more, consider paying for one of the more robust apps. Just make sure the app you choose uses bank-level security and doesn’t store your bank account information in its database.