One of my personal favorites? Apps for my smartphone! They allow me to leave my money in the bank without having to do quick guess calculations at how much I can spend. Not to mention, they're easy to navigate, and I don't have to actually carry my cash with me.
There are apps to match every personality. Here are some to consider:
Mint is arguably the number one app available for budgeting. Not only is it free (and available for Android and iPhone), it's a powerhouse of logic, motivation and features. It puts all the information in one place: Transactions and balances are updated automatically and organized into categories, and based on that data it offers suggestions on how to save money.
There are bill reminders to prevent any missed payments and encryption software to protect private information. It can also be used to set goals for budgeting, savings, a trip, or a special gift. Stay focused on the goals through progress reports, encouraging emails, and free advice. It also tracks investments and knows when there are hidden fees.
Just the facts
Some folks just want to get down to business, avoiding special add-ons that could be a distraction from the primary goal of debt management. IXpenselt (for iPhone) is not one of the prettier apps, but its appeal comes from delivering fast and clear information with password protection and backup options. This app is $4.99 and can be downloaded through iTunes.
People who need help managing travel or mileage expenses or need any budget management support will find this app ideal because of its special features for travel, mileage and more.
Features include quick data entry (auto populate based on historic transactions), daily reminders, PDF reporting, account balance, and account transfer. Personalize transactions by selecting different icons for categories and subcategories.
For frequent travelers, there is a complete world currency list. View the dashboard for at-a-glance views of monthly expenses, average expenses per day, and top expenses within a month. The dashboard also helps users learn spending patterns (by day and over time). A basic mileage tracker has a handy customizable reimbursement rate feature. And, it can quickly search to locate transactions.
EasyMoney claims it is the best expense tracking and budget planner app for Android because it has been one of the top 10 paid apps since its release. Use the free trial for 30 days, or purchase the upgraded version for $9.95. It is quick and easy to use and navigate, has easy transaction input for fast data entry, and receives notifications of bills, both upcoming and overdue. It also has interactive reports, graphs to track cash flow, income and other categories users can assign to themselves based on goals and needs.
Other features include the ability to set monthly budgets and spending limits, assign to accounts, and monitor actions through color-coded features. Take screen shots of bills and receipts, or use the checkbook manager.
Dave Ramsey followers
Fans of Dave Ramsey’s budgeting strategies will appreciate the app called Easy Envelope Budget Aid (for Android and iPhone). Depending on the level of support wanted, the app is free or can cost $3, $5 or $8 each month. The concept of envelope budgeting goes back to the 1930s, but this app brings it into the modern era with the use of online tracking. Instead of using the traditional paper envelopes that contain money available to spend for items like groceries, rent/mortgage and transportation, this app uses electronic tracking. Just like the traditional method, once the money runs out for a certain category’s budget, spending is no longer allowed until the next budget cycle begins. It also allows users to “share” envelopes with others, making it easier for an entire household to stay within this budget system.
One of the best features is three-way access (Android, iPhone and web), giving users the ability to make entries and find balances even when there is no cell service available.
A cool new feature even uses GPS to suggest places to shop (handy when visiting unfamiliar areas). Also schedule recurring transactions, print out reports, receive expense breakdowns, do month-to-month comparisons, and more.
Nickle Tracker is another envelope tracker for the Android, and the app is free. Set up a budget, split money into categories, and allocate spending limits for each of those categories. When a purchase is entered, it records and tracks the money trail, informing and alerting users if they go over their limit. When an assigned spending limit is reached, the text turns red, making it difficult to conveniently ignore budgets once they are set. This app also allows users to send themselves an Excel spreadsheet (via email) for complete record keeping.