Having a budget is a great first step towards taking control of your finances, but it’s just a start. Budgets are only good intentions, and sticking to them is what really counts. That means updating your progress almost every day so that you know where you stand. Who has got time to do that?
Are you on budget, under budget, or over budget? One of your budget categories may have cost more than you expected, while another may have cost less. How much did you spend at the supermarket last time when you went shopping? Have you had unexpected extra expenses, and how does that affect your budget?
Before you start having nightmares, or worse still, ditch your budget in frustration, take three deep breaths. Now grab your mobile phone and get the tools you need for stress-free budgeting and budget tracking. With the right app to help you, you can know where your finances stand anytime, all the time! Let’s examine the best budgeting apps available right now.
If Mint isn’t on the top of a list of best apps for budgeting, it’s going to be very nearby! It’s wonderfully comprehensive. It tracks your deposits, expenses, and investments, and it synchs with your bank. If you use your debit or credit card to make your purchases, it’s automated. If you prefer cash, you must input all your purchases, but it will take seconds to do so. As you step away from the checkout, record your spending right away.
Mint categorizes spending, helping you to see if there are areas where you could improve your spending habits and save even more. You can even set up an alert to warn you when budgets are running low. An app this good usually costs you money, but Mint is completely free!
As one of the best budgeting apps out there, You Need a Budget syncs with your bank account. You allocate your available funds into categories, and bang! You can start tracking your spending. If need be, you can reallocate your funds into other categories as you go, and if you over-budget you can see exactly where you saved. It also encourages savings by showing you how long you’ve been able to hang onto money.
The app gives you a very clear picture of your current finances, but it will cost you $50 a year after a month-long free trail. However, it makes you part of a budgeting community, and that will help you to develop your money-saving mindset.
Like You Need a Budget, GoodBudget uses an “envelope” budgeting system in which you allocate your funds into categories in advance and then start tracking. You and your spouse can both sync your spending on the app, and it’s freeware – at least up to a point. A subscription fee gives you added features: more categories and longer budget history records.
When you’re pinching pennies, it’s easy to get depressed – but not if you can see your progress towards a special goal! Unsplurge works much like the other budget trackers we’ve looked at so far, but it allows you to set a goal and track your progress towards it. It’s free, but unfortunately it isn’t available for Android devices.
PocketGuard has high ratings in several budgeting app review lists, but we’d venture to say it isn’t as good as Mint. There are several similarities: it links to your bank accounts, and deducts money you’ve spent using your cards automatically, but it doesn’t rack how you spend cash, because you can’t input the information manually.
It’s big selling point is the “Can I afford it?” option, but this must be used with caution. If you have savings, it will tell you that you can afford anything up to the value of your savings whether it’s a wise purchase or not! On the upside, it’s a free app.
Is Mint unbeatable?
If you start browsing for budgeting apps, you’ll find a bewildering number of them vying for your attention. Your choice will be a personal one, but if you choose Mint, you can’t really go wrong. No matter how many reviews you read, Mint is very highly rated, and although some reviewers prefer other apps, Mint is always on their radar!
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