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Brian E. Murphy

1 year ago

Manage Your Budget : Market Review of Budgeting Apps

With a smart phone in nearly every pocket these days it’s easier than ever to save money by keeping an eye on your spending.

With a personal budgeting app you can keep track of all the money that’s coming into and going out of your household in one convenient place. There’s no need to flip between lots of different accounts because you can connect budgeting apps with them all, giving you an overview of everything in one location. Here are some good ones to try out:

Mint is recognized as the current king of budget management tools, and it’s free to use. It syncs with all your bank accounts, credit cards, and share dealing accounts, so you get a bird’s eye view of everything you spend and save. There are plenty of useful features like up-to-the-minute alerts that can help you avoid missed payments and tell you when you’re about to go over budget, and it can automatically divide your spending up so it appears under different headings. It can warn you when unusual transactions pop up, and keep you in touch with your credit score. It can even pay bills, so there probably isn’t a more comprehensive money management app out there. Mint is a cloud-based service available for iOS, Android, and web browser.

YNAB stands for “you need a budget”, and the idea behind it is that it encourages you to live on your previous month’s income. (It’s a US company, but if you live elsewhere in the world it will still work with files that you import manually from your accounts). It’s not for the casual user because it costs either $84 a year or $11.99 a month (after the 34-day free trial), and it expects you to be serious about your budgeting. That’s probably because the market for YNAB seems to be people who are trying to manage their money better so they can climb out of debt, and judging by some of the testimonials on the website, it may well pay for itself very quickly. As with Mint, it connects to your bank accounts. You can set goals, and add custom headings for your spending, and you also get free workshops and budgeting advice. If you’re living from payday to payday, then YNAB could be the budgeting assistant that put you back in control.

PocketGuard could probably be called, “Can I afford it?” because it can tell you know how much you have left to spend whenever you ask it. Anytime you want to make a purchase, you’ll ask yourself, “Can I afford it?” and it will tell you if there’s cash or cobwebs left in your budget. You can certainly afford PocketGuard because it’s free.
The job it does in the background is tallying up all of all your bills, saving goals, and spending to date, so it can always tell you what you have left over to spend for the rest the day, the week, and the month. If you want to know more then it can tell you how much you spent on dining out, groceries, fuel, or whatever.

Clarity Money
Clarity Money is an AI-powered fully featured saving and budgeting app. It lets you link multiple accounts, track your expenses, keep tabs on your spending, and categorize your expenditure. You can use it to stay up to date with your credit score, and even cancel subscriptions if you don’t need them anymore. Its machine learning approach means it can help you make better decisions about your finances.

Goodbudget uses the envelope system of budget management. This is where you would physically put any money that you needed to spend on household bills and other essential expenditure in separate envelopes. That way, you would know that you can’t touch that money. Goodbudget does this within its app. It also lets other people link their phones to the same account, so if you’re a family or a couple, you can share the same budget. Goodbudget doesn’t sync bank accounts though, so you’ll have to add information from your bank account manually. Figures go into virtual envelopes in Goodbudget, so you’ll be saving trees by using it! It’s free to have one account, but you’ll have to pay a subscription fee if you want more.

Charlie is aimed at personal finance management, but it actually looks at your financial circumstances from a holistic perspective.
The Charlie app needs regular attention. It syncs to your bank credit card accounts, works out how you’ve been using them and then advises you on how to save money. It can let you know when an account balance is low or when you need to make a payment.
Charlie is also good at helping you control your spending, because it can track your monthly spending patterns. If you’re spending too much in a particular category it can help you to limit that behavior.

This is just an overview of what apps are out there, but these are only a few among many that are available. Do your own search and you’re bound to find one that’s right for you.

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