Boy, managing money sure has changed over the years. Used to be you had cash in wallet and you spent it until it was gone. Without money left, you couldn’t spend it anymore. That was one of your “best budgeting apps” of the day. You felt the pain.
Now, of course, we have lots of ways to spend money digitally and online. Of course, the downside of spending this way is you don’t feel the pain the way you used to. Paying by waving your iPhone over a scanner gives you a dopamine rush when the phone goes DING, rather than having you feel the pain of pulling cold hard cash from of your wallet.
Leave it to smartphones that came up with this “painless” way of spending to bring rise to mobile money-managing apps. A budget app may be something you’ll want to consider for managing family finances and/or business expenses.
Well, thanks to your smartphone, you don’t have to have quite the expertise you used to when it comes to managing money.
There are a plethora of budgeting apps available (some paid, some free) ready to do some serious number crunching on your behalf. Here’s a handful of picks, in no particular order, that all have varying approaches to how they help you monitor your finances. Your job is to match yourself to the app that can work best for you.
Sure, mints are refreshing. But this is a different kind of mint. It’s about money. The Mint app (of Mint.com fame) is about having a great bird’s eye view of your whole money situation at a glance. What’s more, Mint allows you to keep an eye on your credit score as often as you like – for free! And, offers tips on how to improve your score.
Track all of your accounts (banking, retirement, credit cards, loans, investments, etc.), along with your upcoming bill payments that provide alerts when bills are due – all from one dashboard. Funds running low? Mint will be more than happy to digitally let you know.
Mint also provides personalized tips to help you manage and grow your money. Available only to Americans and Canadians, the Mint app is free for iPhone and Android phones (and tablets) and can be synced to your Apple Watch.
As the name implies, this app is all about helping you stay on top of your budgeting. Goodbudget hearkens back to those of us who may have used envelopes to sort out cash for upcoming needs.
What’s cool is that you can share budgets with other family members (great for couples), as all your info is securely stores in the cloud, so everyone is in sync on what there is to spend (and save). Your envelopes can cover all your expected spending categories like rent, groceries, dining out, school expenses, utilities, etc. As the Goodbudget website says:
It’s a way to plan your spending instead of just tracking your spending.
And more than just managing the monthly expenses, Goodbudget helps you save and plan on bigger experiences like automobile purchases and vacation budgets, helps you pay off debt, and helps you manage giving to great causes.
Sure, saving money is a noble endeavor, but what if you could turn your pennies into dollars when you made purchases? That’s the idea behind Acorns. Using Acorns is sort of like tossing loose change into a jar, except now your loose change grows into an investment portfolio – where you end up with more money than you would have if you had just kept your change in a jar.
With a debit account connected to your app, every time you make a debit purchase, Acorns rounds your purchase to the next highest dollar and invests the difference in a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that you select based on your risk preference.
It’s a friction-less, hardly-noticeable investment effort that virtually anyone can do.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) promises more than to simply help you manage a budget. It teaches you how to manage money, so you can get ahead and get the high-cost-of-living monkey off your back.
YNAB preaches zero-based budgeting. By that, they mean at any given moment you’re only working with the money you have right now. Money that’s actually in your bank account RIGHT. NOW. That’s just the beginning. YNAB offers free live online workshops (complete with Q&A sessions) with lesson names like Set Up Your Budget, Your Budget Routine, Create A Debt Playdown Plan, and Break the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle.
In the eyes of YNBA, every dollar has a “job” in your personal budget, be it for investment, for debt repayment, or to cover living expenses. And it forces you to live within your actual income. Now THERE’S a concept.
Wally (a cuter version of wallet, we suppose) makes tracking expenses drop dead easy. Snap a photo of your receipts instead of manually entering numbers. It’s fast, you’ll have fewer mistakes, and you’ll have all your spending tracking real time in your pocket on your smartphone.
Wally is a small company that’s set out to solve a big problem: to make tracking expenses easy. The app tracks your money’s comings and goings, where it’s spent, how it’s budgeted, and ways to help you achieve your financial goals.
This deceptively simple app can actually handle any currency you throw at it. Saving pictures of your receipts cuts down on clutter. While there’s no computer desktop version of the software yet (they’re working on it), Wally for iPhone (and recently Android) is free to use and ad-free, as well.
They say no pain, no gain. Now you have options to help you feel the pain of spending again. Trust us, that’s a good thing.