How To Pick A Budgeting App That Meets Your Needs
One of the best ways to get out of debt – and stay out – is to create a budget. Many people find it difficult or tedious to track their spending. The constant marketing onslaught, from billboards to ads to paid search results, makes it easy to over spend. Marketers are forever flashing advertisements and pushing upgrades to convince consumers to spend more money.
While buying these items can be exciting in the moment, it makes it difficult for people to keep track of how much they’re actually spending. Don’t get us wrong – we love to splurge on ourselves ones in a while!
To accommodate the occasional splurge, it is important to have a budget. A budget will help you see how much money you have, how much money is coming in, and how much extra money you will have each month to spend on whatever your heart desires.
If you don’t budget your money, but would like to start, there’s a large (and growing) market of budgeting apps that can guide you through the process with varying levels of hand-holding.
Mint is one of the oldest and most popular personal finance apps out there. On Mint, you can connect your various financial accounts to help track how much money you have, how much you owe, and how much you need to meet specific financial or life goals. In addition, Mint allows you to add property as well as vehicles so that you can see your net worth.
Since Mint tracks your accounts in real time, your balances will update every time you make a purchase (or a payment). The app shows your transactions, spending trends, and goals. In addition, Mint will analyze your spending habits so that it can give you suggestions on how to improve your financial outlook.
Mint is a great app for those who need help keeping track of how much money they’re spending, where they’re overspending, and where they should spend more – like paying down debts, for example!
YNAB is a category-based budgeting app. The categories include mortgage or rent, electric bill, car payments, groceries, and many more. This app helps you see how much money you have available to spend on each category, from an established budget. If there happens to be a shirt you really want to buy, but it is not in your clothing budget, you redirect money from other categories to make up for the purchase. Maybe you give up a round of drinks (or three), maybe you pass on a concert.
This app is great for people who need to see things written out. Splitting up your finances according to categories will help put into perspective your spending limits.
If you like to journal, this is the app for you. Wally is a budgeting journal that allows you to manually log your expenses. In addition, Wally allows you to store pictures of your receipts so that you can keep track of your spending records.
Wally not only stores pictures of your receipts, but it also has location access so that it can tag your location with each purchase. Another great feature of the app are the alerts. When you need to pay your bills, Wally will tell you. If you’re the type of person who forgets when your bills are due, this is a good choice. It will ensure that you pay your bills on time so that you won’t have any pesky late fees.
And finally, for those of us who tend to spend down to the very last dollar, there’s Level Money. This app connects to your accounts and uses recent financial history to tell you exactly how much you can spend on a given day in order to not starve or overdraft before your next pay check arrives, accounting for things like rent and savings goals.
Which budgeting app is your favorite? Share your answers on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations on this! If you are new to budgeting and need help paying off debt, contact us for a free consultation.