Did you make a resolution to get control of your finances in 2018? If so, how’s it going? If you’re like most, it’s probably not going so well. It’s never too late though. The first thing you’ll need to do to get back on track is build a budget. This used to be a very complex task; however, it’s now a breeze thanks to budgeting and planning apps. By downloading the ideal budget app for your needs, you can formulate a plan to pay off debt, save money, and budget for future expenses.
Using a budget app can turn your iPhone or Android into a personal money management machine. Additionally, these apps are so sophisticated that they can even act like a personal financial advisor by helping you find your wasteful spending and identifying ways to save money. By automating many functions that you used to have to do manually, building and maintaining a budget has never been easier. These budget apps can also be a very effective learning tool for many who have no experience in managing money.
Each app has different features and benefits to help you, so be sure to check a few out before choosing. Once you start using a budgeting app, you may find, over time, that you outgrow it and need something a little more sophisticated. This is healthy and means you’re increasing your knowledge and skills in managing your money.
There are many apps on the market, with new ones appearing every day. It’s important to spend time evaluating any app you’re considering to ensure you don’t have to go through the sometimes painstaking task of setting it up more than once. Different apps focus on different things, so take the time to prioritize what you need in an app.
Here are some of the best apps available; let’s take a closer look at what they have to offer.
Mint has been around a long time and is a very well known budgeting app. It’s very easy to use and can sync to your bank account to gather the details necessary to help you create a personalized budget. Mint was created by Intuit, the same company that created QuickBooks and TurboTax, so you can be sure of operating on the same secure platform utilized by banks. Not only can you plug into your banking information, but you can also tie Mint into your credit card accounts, brokerage accounts, and other lending and financial institutions.
Mint is very helpful in managing your financial matters in a number of ways. Not only is budget building seamless and easy, but Mint also helps guide your day-to-day spending by automatically categorizing your expenditures, alerting you to unusual spending and helping you reduce fees you may incur. By alerting you when you go over budget, keeping you abreast of your credit score, and tracking your spending by category, Mint can give you a great snapshot of your financial picture at any time. Mint also includes a bill paying function that helps you stay on track and avoid any missed payments that could hurt your credit.
PocketGuard is an app that focuses on helping you manage your spending. It also links to all your financial accounts and gives you excellent visibility into your total financial picture. PocketGuard is one of the easiest apps to set up and does an excellent job of tracking your income, savings, and bills throughout the month. PocketGuard also analyzes your bills and looks for ways you could potentially save and find better deals on things you pay for monthly, such as your phone bill, cable services, and Internet service.
PocketGuard is especially good at helping you manage your cash flow by projecting out your expenditures in the near future and accounting for your expected income. The interface is very simple to use and offers easy-to-use charts and graphs to give you a good picture of where you stand financially. PocketGuard offers apps for iPhone and Android devices, as well as a desktop version. You can even access your PocketGuard app from your Apple Watch.
3. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
You Need a Budget is a hip and culturally current app that has developed a big following among young professionals. Utilizing money management tools that are different from traditional budgeting tools, You Need a Budget takes a different approach to managing your money. Instead of focusing on the more common methods of categorizing your money and expenditures, the app focuses on four simple rules.
In essence, each dollar of your income is given a job, such as bill paying, saving, or investing. By accounting for every dollar each month, it helps you cut down on overspending. By keeping it simple, YNAB helps you avoid the stress and pain of building a full-blown budget. In addition, YNAB also helps you plan for unexpected or infrequent expenses. It helps you get ahead so you’re not living paycheck to paycheck while also teaching you to be resilient if you’re hit with an unexpected overage.
YNAB also offers free online classes to help you learn about money management, as well as a free introductory period so you can try it out. It also offers goal-tracking tools that help you meet your savings goals and any goals you have for paying off your debt. YNAB has apps that work on your desktop, Android, or iPhone.
Wally focuses solely on budgeting, which for some is all they need. While Wally is basic in its offerings, it does a good job of tracking your income, expenses, and your remaining discretionary income. Wally is a completely free app and does an excellent job of tracking your expenses by allowing you to enter them manually or snap a picture of your receipt. Wally also offers alerts when your bills are due, when you reach certain milestones such as a savings goal, or any other activity you want to keep track of.
As with most of the budget apps available, Wally offers apps for iPhone, Android, and desktop. Wally is free to use and is able to support almost all foreign currencies.
Goodbudget, formerly known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid, uses a traditional envelope approach to budgeting but on a digital platform. It’s very good for couples looking to manage their finances together. The app provides complete visibility across all platforms and devices in real time so both parties can see where all the money is and where it’s going. It also has some specialty features that help couples learn to save for big-ticket items such as cars and vacations. While this is an excellent app for couples, it’s equally as useful for single consumers.
With each paycheck, consumers add money to their envelopes as needed to pay bills, reach certain goals, and save money. Once the money is allocated, it’s easy to see how much discretionary income is left over. Consumers are able to keep from overspending. The basic app is free and allows up to 10 envelopes. The pro version is more robust and allows for more envelopes, account history, and provides other financial tools.
Simple is not just an app for managing your budget. It’s also a bank account that can take the place of your traditional checking account so there’s a seamless interaction between your banking transactions and your budget. Simple offers many great features such as its Safe-to-Spend feature, which lets you know if your budget is on track and whether you’re free to make an additional purchase. The savings goal feature keeps you motivated to keep saving through continuing encouragement.
By having your budget and your bank account inside the same app, income and expenses are tracked automatically, saving you the time and energy of making any manual entries. Simple is compatible with all devices, offers great visibility into your money management, and is free to use.
While BUDGT is only for iPhone, it’s a great little app with a lot to offer. BUDGT makes it easy to add your income and any recurring expenses to get you started on budgeting. The app has a focus on daily budget management, giving you a real-time status on where you stand with your money. This helps you make better decisions and curtail unnecessary spending and impulse buys. By being able to view daily status, you can determine whether the money you’re considering spending is in keeping with your budget goals. The app can also give you cash flow projections at points in the future.
BUDGT has easy-to-manage categories and is a simple and intuitive budgeting tool. Its unique daily views help you keep a tight hold on money.
Mvelopes is a digital envelope budget method app that can help you gain better control over your money. Mvelopes has been around for quite some time compared to some of the other similar apps. Because of its longevity, the app’s developers have been able to improve it into a very robust tool that has many features for all levels of budgeting expertise.
Mvelopes provides three different product levels to consider, namely Mvelopes Basic, Mvelopes Plus, and Mvelopes Complete.
The advantage of using an envelope system is the ability to put your money into as many envelopes as your personal financial situation calls for. This way, you can account for every penny in your budget. Every product level allows for as many envelopes as you need. You can tailor your digital envelope budget to be as detailed as you want while keeping everything in one place.
Mvelopes offers every user live support, regardless of the level of the product, through phone or chat. Depending on the level, multiple resources are available such as a personal finance trainer who can offer consultation and advice on a quarterly basis. On the website, you can find many resources in the company’s Learning Center.
Mvelopes feels that, since everyone’s finances are unique, it needs to offer a variety of services for customers to consider. Users can pay bills and manage their budget from iPhone, iPad, Android, and desktop.
Unsplurge is a fun app that’s completely different from other budgeting apps. It’s not meant to be a total budget management tool but, rather, one that helps you budget and save up for a specific item or event. It’s a fun app to use when trying to save for a new car, a down payment on a house, a vacation, or a wedding.
Unsplurge helps you reach your goals by monitoring your progress and offering up tips to help you get there. It’s effective by helping you carve out money from your normal expenditures and direct it towards the purchase of something you really want. And, it helps you avoid incurring debt in order to buy those big-ticket purchases. Unsplurge is a free app for iPhone.
Regardless of which budget app you decide on, you’ve made a very good decision. Getting ahold of your finances is the key to eventual financial success and satisfaction. Budgeting helps you to make the most of every dollar you have and helps you make the best decisions with everyday spending. Keeping track of your money can help you avoid debt, or even get out of debt. If you currently have no savings or emergency fund to fall back on, utilizing a budgeting app can help you get started toward your savings goal. With everything that’s available to you to help manage your money, there’s no reason not to take advantage of them. Try one of these great money management solutions and get on your way to reaching your financial goals in 2018.