Let’s face it: you’ve got a lot going on, and the last item on your to-do list is budgeting. Keeping up with a budget takes time and requires staying on track. Here’s the good news: with smartphone apps, it’s easier to manage a budget now than ever before. Long gone are the days of manual calculations and filing: these apps connect to your bank, credit and other financial accounts to track your spending in real time.
So where do you start? Here are five apps that try to take the stress out of budgeting.
Mint is one of the most popular apps for creating a budget. It’s free and will automatically categorize your transactions, pay your bills, and set alerts to keep you organized. Super user-friendly, Mint will estimate your credit score, visualize your spending, help set limits, and offer advice based on your spending habits.
Who it’s most useful for: Someone who already knows how to budget but wants a fresh start
You Need a Budget
If you are looking to get more engaged with your money, You Need a Budget (YNAB) is beloved among its users. Based on a zero-sum system that requires you to allocate every income dollar, YNAB prompts you to ‘gain total control of your money.’ Users pay a yearly fee, but there is a free trial is available for beginners. Fair warning: YNAB requires a bit more discipline than the others, so be ready to jump in.
Who it’s most useful for: Anyone, whether experienced with budgeting or a novice, who prefers to have more manual control of their budget.
Before there were digital budgeting apps, there was the envelope system. Mvelopes is the old-school-made-new way of budgeting that utilizes a system of categorized ‘cash’ envelopes. Focused on flexibility, Mvelopes works for users who have a lot of expenses to track. Its functionality allows you to set rules and restrictions on your habits so you can stay on course.
Who it’s most useful for: Freelancers and contractors not on a consistent income month to month, and frivolous spenders who want to curb their habit
Designed for families in mind, HomeBudget boasts capability across multiple devices and account that includes functionality to control as much (or as little) spending as you wish. Known for its seamless data reporting, you’ll be able to generate trend graphs and infographics easily within the app. You get the most out of HomeBudget when you take advantage of its full capabilities, so don’t be afraid to try out every feature.
Who it’s most useful for: Families that want to be able to have more than one person manage the household expenses, and budgeters who want visualized data
Your Money Wallet
Your Money Wallet requires you to manually enter your expenses, so you know exactly what your spending looks like. The simple, minimalist interface is best for users looking to do away with complex bells and whistles and just get to the nitty-gritty of budgeting.
Insiders will recommend taking advantage of the full subscription service, which allows users to use different currencies, get notifications about upcoming bills, manage investments, and budget for specific time periods.
Who it’s most useful for: Someone who wants to not only manage a budget but also have quick access to any loan or investment accounts
There’s a Budgeting App for Everyone
Be sure to consider the customizability and flexibility of each app and compare it to your own needs. Whether you’ve never budgeted before, or you’re an experienced manager of your finances, there is an app out there to best fit your needs and goals.
Don’t forget that while managing your budget can be scary, a lot of work, and take time away from doing the things you want to focus on, it’s a necessary task to not only help you stay on track, but get you where you want to go.
Now, go find the app that’s right for you and get to reaching your financial goals, one step at a time.