If your family doesn’t have a budget, you need to make one. Why? Just think about the fact that no company in America would try to operate without a budget. There are dozens of good reasons why they have budgets and you should, too. However, we understand that budgeting, especially getting started with a budget, can be difficult and time consuming. That is to say it used to be difficult and time consuming. Now, thanks to today’s smartphone apps making and sticking to a budget can be just about as easy as falling off the proverbial log.
Here’s a list of budgeting apps that are covered in this article.
- You Need A Budget
- Easy Envelope Budget Aid
- Easy Money
- My Weekly Budget
Beginning with the most popular
The most popular app based on number of users is Mint.com. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of apps and best of all, doesn’t cost a cent. Among the many things Mint can do is help you track your spending, organize it into categories and create a budget. And that’s just for starters. If you type in your savings, checking, investments and credit card numbers it will keep track of all those accounts and show you all that information in one, nice unified report. Mint will alert you if it finds any financial products better than the ones you’re using (think credit cards). It will also send you an email alert any time you overspend in any of your budget categories. Mint is available for use on PCs, Macs, iPhones, Android and Windows phone. And did we mention that it’s free?
You Need A Budget
This isn’t just an observation, it’s a program often referred to as YNAB. Unlike Mint, this program does just one thing but does it extremely well. It’s actually more than just a budgeting tool. It’s a system that promises that if you follow it’s four simple rules, you can get out of debt. You can try YNAB free for 34 days. After that it costs $60 for use on a PC, a Mac, an iPhone or an Android phone. YNAB even offers daily classes designed to help you develop a budget and use the YNAB system.
Easy Envelope Budget Aid
This app, which is available for use on iPhones, Android phones and the Internet could be called the tough love of budgeting. It’s based on the old envelope method of budgeting where you divide your spending into categories such as groceries, transportation, entertainment and so on. You then put money into these envelopes (digitally) and pay for your purchases out of them. Once an envelope is empty, that’s it. You can’t spend any more money in that category until your next paycheck. Easy Envelope Budget Aid tracks your spending, offers both free and paid plans and allows budget sharing between you and your spouse or partner.
This is a fairly new app that is said to simplify expense tracking and monthly budgeting. Among other features, iXpenselt will provide an overview of every day’s spending, your average expenses per day and an expense summary of your total spending for the month. It will even show recurring expenses such as monthly rent, mortgage, utility bills, and so on. It’s very customizable and will even store photo receipts. Unfortunately, iXpenselt is available for use only on iPhones at this time.
On the other hand if you have an Android phone, here’s an app that works only on it. Easy Money is said to be the best-selling Android finance app. It will help you track your expenses and stick to your budget. Easy Money includes a checkbook manager and a bill reminder all packed into one application. Its bill reminder module will alert you of upcoming and overdue bills as well as recurring bills. Easy Money lets you set budgets for the month on specific accounts or categories and then monitor them with color-coded “budget health” bar charts. You can also use it to take photos of receipts and bills. You can try Easy Money free for 30 days after which it costs just $9.95.
My Weekly Budget
If you treasure simplicity, this app was made for you. All you do with it is enter the amount of money you’ve budgeted for the coming week. Every time you make a purchase, My Weekly Budget assigns it to a category and subtracts the amount from your budget. You can then tell at any time during the week whether you’re overspending and if so adjust accordingly. At the end of the week, you will be able to see if you were under- or over-budget and you will know where your money went. This app costs $0.99 and is available only for use on iPhones.
The website LifeHacker calls Moneywise the best budget-tracking app for Android phones. It is said to have an intuitive and easy-to-use interface and is good for both beginners and expert money managers. Moneywise supports multiple accounts, including credit cards, cash and investments. You can use it to tag expenses with the budgets to which they belong as well as types of transactions and then filter them based on those tags for fast reference. Moneywise offers a huge number of other features and best of all is free.
This app is available for use on iPhones, Android phones and WebOS devices. It will let your record your expenses and even forward receipts from your online purchases, which will automatically be added to your expense summary. However, Xpenser is not linked to you bank accounts so you will have to type in your starting balance every month. The base version of Xpenser is free but you can upgrade to a more powerful version for $9.95 a month that would allow you to record transactions from any device, import credit card and bank statements and export all your data to budgeting software like Quickbooks. You can get a free 30-day trial of this upgraded service before you have to start paying the $9.95.
Finally, here’s a short video with information about some other smartphone apps you might find helpful.