Are you looking for an easy way stick to your budget? Having a budgeting app can identify unplanned discretionary spending and help you save money. When you have something to hold you accountable to your spending habits, it’s easier to control where your money goes. You can find a good budget app that allows you to manage your money easily from your smartphone.
Benefits of Budgeting Apps
There are many potential advantages to finding and using a budgeting app. Having an app on your phone may help you remember to record your spending regularly. When all it takes is a couple taps on your phone, checking your budget in the midst of shopping is a breeze. Knowing whether an expense is within your budget makes it easier to avoid debt.
A personal finance app is also ideal for keeping track and budgeting your day-to-day transactions. You’d be surprised how much a difference it can make to track the spending otherwise wouldn’t think of. Many personal finance apps send you alerts when spend too much on one category, such as how often you spend on groceries each month.
Budgeting apps can help you find areas of overspending. Having clear categories for purchases lets you see exactly how much money goes toward nonessential purchases every month. You can also use a budget app to improve your financial planning. An app makes it easy to set goals for large purchases by budgeting for a savings fund. For example, if you want a new TV, you can use an app to adjust your spending in order to save money and meet your financial goals.
There are numerous budget apps available, all with slightly different features and interfaces. With so many options, you can likely find one that works well for you. The Credit.com team has three favorites: Mint, Clarity Money and You Need a Budget. Here’s an overview of each one.
The Mint app, from the financial software provide Intuit, offers users a web browser interface as well as both IOS and Android apps. Mint links your bank and credit card accounts to automatically important transactions. You’ll be able to see your income and spending without the hassle of manually entering every purchase.
The software makes it easy to set up an initial budget. Once you link your accounts, the app analyzes your income and expenses. It uses that information to suggest categories and budget amounts based on your average spending. As one Credit.com team member says, “Mint tracks things for me and automatically assigns them to the right categories. It’s effortless to use.”
Along with viewing your trans actions in the budget itself, you can also see your average spending in each category. Another team member says, “Mint has a great app experience with plenty of features, such as tags that help me mark reimbursable items.” Mint calculates monthly and yearly spending, giving you a clear picture of where your money is going. You can set alerts so the app will notify you when you exceed your budget.
Mint doesn’t just track your spending. It makes paying bills easier. Once you link all your accounts, the software tracks your bills. You can get due date alerts on your smartphone or in your inbox. The app can also provide warnings if your balances dip below a certain threshold. Your Mint account also provides easy access to your credit score right in the app.
Clarity Money is another great budgeting app that’s free and easy to use. You can use the software on your web desktop or browser. There are also apps for Android and iOS, and the iOS version allows integration with Siri. This one requires you to link at least one financial account and doesn’t allow you to manually track your personal finances. The goal of tracking everything in the app automatically is to give the software all the information it needs to provide you with advice and financial assistance.
Clarity Money uses data science and artificial intelligence to provide you with a personalized experience. Along with tracking your spending, the app can make suggestions for financial products that may work well with your situation. This feature can help you find better ways to manage your money and improve your financial stability.
This can be is a great option if you want to save more money. You can easily set up a savings account and create automatic transfers to it. You can see your savings in the app and create specific goals so you know what you’re saving for.
One unique feature of Clarity Money relates to subscription costs. The app identifies subscription spending, such as a gym membership or monthly software fees. You can easily see these recurring charges and decide which ones you want to keep. If you want to cancel a membership, you can make that request right in the app. When possible, Clarity will handle the cancellation for you, and you can track the progress in the app’s main feed.
You Need a Budget
Another easy-to-use budgeting app is You Need a Budget. This program follows a method for helping you create a budget based on money you already have. The app encourages you to live on last month’s income and save for big expenses to avoid creating debt. You can track your monthly expenses in the app and see your spending data in a pie chart.
Like Mint and Clarity, You Need a Budget has a web interface as well as iOS and Android apps. You can easily link your accounts with your bank and credit cards, though you can choose to enter transactions manually if you want. The app comes with standard budget categories, but you can customize them and add your own. There are clear spending categories for necessary and discretionary expenses.
You Need a Budget can be is great for avoiding debt. You can make budgeting goals for paying off debt based on the amount you want to pay every month or when you want to pay off your balances. The app also encourages you to record transactions as soon as they happen, so you always have an up-to-date look at your spending and available money.
Along with the app, You Need a Budget provides free podcasts and webinars that cover a range of financial topics. You can sign up for a 34-day trial of You Need a Budget to see if you like the app. After the free trial, there is annual fee.
Choosing the Right Budgeting App
Every financial situation is different, so the key to choosing a budgeting app is finding the one that’s best for your circumstances. An app can’t help very much if you hate the interface and never use it. In general, Mint may be a good choice if you are a millennial just starting to manage your money. If you want to learn more about financial products that may benefit you, Clarity Money may be the right app. You Need a Budget is the best option if you want to focus on reducing/avoiding debt and improving your financial stability.
Making the Most of Your Budget
A budgeting app can make managing your finances simple and even enjoyable. Once you integrate the app into your daily life, controlling your money can become second nature. You can look forward to one of the best possible advantages of budgeting: saving more money.
Turn that extra cash into a long-term benefit by investing it in a savings account. You can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a little bit tucked away for an emergency or unanticipated expense.