In the modern world, it can sometimes seem impossible to keep track of all your monthly incomings and outgoings. Throw in a forgotten birthday present, an unexpected engagement party or a sudden vet’s bill and you can find yourself in real trouble. One of the best ways to keep track of what’s going on with your personal finances is to use budgeting software. And now there is a wide range of easy-to-use apps on the market. So, whether you just want a hand with budgeting your regular income or you want a more in-depth look at your finances over the coming year, there is an app out there for you.
Goodbudget (formerly known as EEBA, the Easy Envelope Budget Aid) is one of the simplest and most effective ways of dividing your monthly income up into individual budgets. It achieves this by utilizing a digital version of the tried-and-tested envelope system. The idea is that you allocate each of your spending areas for the month in an “envelope” and divide your monthly income up to cover each “envelope.” For example, one envelope for groceries, another for fun and another for savings. Once the allocated amount for each envelope is spent, then you stop spending in that area.
A benefit of this app is that you have already accounted for all your spending before a penny leaves your account. It also allows you essential flexibility when it comes to accidental overspending. If the car ended up costing more than you anticipated this month, you can always move some of the money from your fun envelope over to the motor expenses one.
Hosting your friends at home don’t always have to be about shelling out for extravagant meals, it can be something as simple as organizing a home poker game or a countryside ramble. Goodbudget allows you to plan activities and payments according to what you can afford, with minimal effort and maximum control on your part.
Available for both iPhone and Android devices, Goodbudget also has a web version that can be accessed from any computer. It syncs your information across all logged-in devices, thus allowing all members of the household to access real-time information about saving and spending.
Alternatively, you could use a more comprehensive app like Mint. This app provides an in-depth look at your household finances, identifying where you are spending, where you could save money and even giving you the opportunity to make payments from within the app.
It’s connected to almost every U.S. financial institution that’s online, giving you immediate access to all the information you need to budget effectively. Because of this connection, it can also automatically update information for you, meaning that real-time data will affect how your account balances appear.
Being able to access all your financial information in one place at the same time could prove invaluable when trying to exercise more control over your finances.
Mint allows you to pay bills straight from the app, check your up-to-date credit score and divide your budgets up into specific areas, such as utilities, education and health. It also gives you the opportunity to break transactions down into individual purchases, therefore better enabling you to keep track of your budgets.
For example, if you bought clothes, groceries and insurance at a supermarket, all this is reflected in your transaction breakdown on Mint. With all this sensitive information stored on the app, Mint offers some heavy-duty online security, including multi-factor authentication. Less of a simple budgeting app, more of a financial one-stop-shop, it offers you total control over your finances.