So, you’ve decided that you would like to keep a closer eye on your household spending and hopefully, save some money while you’re at it. But where do you start? The answer lies in budgeting.
Gone are the days when you needed to keep a written accounts book and balance the amounts with a calculator. Smartphones and tablets mean that you can have a helping hand with your finances, ready and waiting at your fingertips.
Sticking within your budget may require a little extra legwork on your part at first, but it’s all worth it when you get to enjoy life without the constant worry of overspending. With a few tips and tricks, you can still afford to splash out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like you’d always planned, finally or visiting much-missed family on the other side of the world.
Here are the best apps that will assist you along the way.
If you already like the envelope method, then this is the app for you. Goodbudget is an updated version of the online Easy Envelope Budget Aid, allowing you to create an accessible and up-to-date overview of your monthly budget. The app is available across Apple and Android platforms and works as well on your smartphone as your tablet.
For those unfamiliar with the envelope method, here’s a quick breakdown. Each area of your life that requires a monetary budget receives its own “envelope.” Each envelope has its own amount of money earmarked at the start of the month, and the idea is that you don’t spend over that amount on that area. Physical envelopes aren’t needed with Goodbudget — the helpful graphics and software allow you to use a completely virtual version of this tried-and-tested method.
If there’s any money left over at the end of the month, then you can choose to spend it on a treat or pop it in a savings account. If you run out of money from one envelope, then either that means no more spending in that area this month, or you can borrow from another envelope to cover immediate costs.
This app, from the same people who developed QuickBooks, is like Goodbudget in that it breaks spending up into categories. However, it doesn’t employ the same envelope method that the other does, as it has a more holistic and financially minded approach to budgeting, spending and saving.
Budgeting on Mint is more about planning ahead and working toward a goal. It also tracks spending habits and offers detailed data about how the decisions you make today will affect the goals you’re saving for tomorrow.
It’s available across all platforms and devices and allows you to track bills and payments as well as keeping an eye on your budgeting. Mint is an excellent app for people who’re looking for somewhere they can track their investments and loans as well as their day-to-day housekeeping budget. It’s a little more in-depth and, therefore, more complex, but the interface is still easy to get to grips with and understand.
This app is incredible, especially if you’re looking for a hassle-free way to handle your monthly budget. Instead of inputting loads of information yourself, you can link PocketGuard to all your various accounts, and it will monitor them for you. It’s perfect if you find it hard to stay on top of which bill goes out when and frequently find yourself short of cash come the end of the month.
The simple interface makes it easy to see at a glance what goes on with your finances. As you make transactions with any of your linked accounts, the app updates in real time, which you can see on the handy pie chart, what transactions take place and where.
The “in my pocket” feature lets you know in real time whether you have any funds left over that you can spend on a treat or use to cover an unexpected cost with no anxiety about spending beyond your means. As you can see, PocketGuard has you covered.
Beyond budgeting apps, the like Monzo and Simple have joined the movement to put people back in charge of their own money. Many of the best features available in budgeting apps are also available within these online banks’ mobile interfaces. Excellent for people who like to keep all their eggs in one basket, if you’d rather keep some distance between where your money is and your budgeting endeavours, stick to the apps in this article.