I love budgets and the whole process of creating a budget plan, from creating my dream board and listing down expenses to knowing how much I will be able to save in a month. In a way, I feel more secure about the future as I see the numbers – my “lifestyle guides,” my “keepers of the balance,” the “Jedi of the Force”- that keep me aware of how much I can afford to spend. It takes a lot of discipline and impulse control, I tell you, but it makes me feel good.
Of course it wasn’t always like this. Even the most experienced budgeteers have humble beginnings. I found the help I needed to religiously stick to my budget through my mother, and when I started to earn my own money, through budgeting apps on my smartphone (because, who carries pen and paper in their pockets?). A personal favorite is Money Manager – super easy to use, allows editing on the PC, shows stats of your expenses, and how much money you have left based on the income amount entered. The free version offers pretty much all the things I needed it for, so I never got the paid version. Then I switched to Wally, because I can scan and save receipts, it’s location-based, and because it “knows” me (thanks to some serious badass algorithms).
How much money do you spend?
For those of you who are resolved to track every cent spent, to save, to tame your inner shopaholic, to quit bad money habits, or just to stop being so clueless on where your money went at the end of the month, there are budget apps that can help you stay faithful to your budget and track your expenses on the go.
FIVE APPS YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE
BillGuard is the app for you if you’re looking for an automated budgeting system that organises all of the activity and balances on your credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts in one place, and that alerts you of suspicious activity and billing errors that your bank missed. It includes identity theft protection, black market surveillance, and location-based fraud alerts if your card is used at a store or ATM when you’re not there.
This app is aptly named. HomeBudget is an integrated expense tracker designed to track expenses, income, account balances, and to analyse these in charts and graphs. Its Family Sync feature allows users to set a budget and sync income and expenses between multiple devices of other family members, to coordinate and exchange bills information and work together within a single budget. It also stands out because of its integrated set of features.
Goodbudget (formerly EEBA, the Easy Envelope Budget Aid) is an envelope budget for the digital age that lets you track your bank balances in addition to envelope balances. You can sync up to 5 devices and share your family budget across mobile phones and the web, which is also automatically backed up to Goodbudget’s website. It also allows you to check envelope balances and split expense transactions into multiple Envelopes.
Level Money is the budget app to download if you want “slick, straightforward, and useful” in one. It can connect all your financial accounts securely, and informs you of unauthorized activity on your accounts. It tracks your spending habits by merchant and category, and predicts your next month’s balance and spending.
Mint literally does it all for you. It organises expenses and financial accounts and creates a budget so you can save more, allows you to set up reminders and bill alerts so you never miss payments, and gives you expert advice on budgeting and distributing your money on your financial goals.
Found anything that fits your budgeting needs?
While it may be great to have found an app, downloaded and installed on your smartphone, remember that the tracking needs to happen in real time, so you can know where you stand at the end of every day, and not at the end of the month when damages would have already been done. You are doing this not to restrain yourself, but to have financial freedom, awareness, and ultimately financial wellness.