What are Mobile Apps?
Mobile apps are nothing more than software applications. They run on mobile devices, including tablet computers and smartphones. The owners of the mobile operating systems keep developing, updating and uploading these apps into the app store. Users access these native distribution platforms (i.e. app stores) and download the mobile apps onto their devices.
Initially, mobile apps performed a very limited role. They were primarily comprised of productivity and information retrieval tools such as calendars, e-mail applications, stock market apps and weather apps. Today however modern-day apps offer gaming, entertainment and educational features too.
Reaching for the Stars – The Importance of Budgeting
Typically, many people pay the necessary expenses once they get their salaries. Thereafter, they spend the remaining amount on things they want to purchase. Budgeting is the process of creating a plan for spending your money. This plan details all your earnings and expenses. Thus, it gives you an idea about whether you would have sufficient money for doing what you want to do. Budgeting is important because it helps you manage your money effectively – whether you’re merely paying a few bills or running an entire household.
By making a budget, you could:
- Focus on your financial goals
- Understand your financial situation better
- Gain control over your money
- Organize (and plan) your savings and expenses
- Discern early warning signs regarding potential problems
- Plan for creating savings to deal with both expected and unforeseen expenses
- Gain insights into the amount of debt you could successfully take (and manage) and,
- Enhance the money you have by reducing unnecessary (and wasteful) expenses like late fees, fines etc.
Written in the Stars – The Top 10 Mobile Apps to Help You Budget Effectively
Given the increasing reliance that people have on technology today, it is not surprising that mobile app developers have created apps for helping people in many aspects of life. Thus, many apps help people manage their finances effectively. Some apps help you monitor your investments. Others help you obtain a comprehensive idea about your financial situation. Still others help you manage your budget. Here is a list of the 10 best apps that could help you to stick to your budget.
- Mint: Mint was among the first free, web-based personal finance tools to launch. It enabled users to key in all details of their banks, credit cards, investments, retirement funds etc. in order to gain insight into their financial health. This might seem comprehensive. However, Mint also helps you prepare a household budget. It gives you warnings if you’re going to bust your budget. It shows you how much money you’re spending and on what kinds of purchases. In addition, it also helps you to set up small savings goals and stick to them. Note that Mint does not access your accounts or your money at all. Instead, it utilizes a read-only access to give you a complete overview of your financial situation.
- You Need a Budget (YNAB): YNAB does not only walks you through the budgeting process. It also helps you to repay your debt, boost your savings and break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. For those who handle accounts, it even offers account reconciliation features. YNAB also gives you access to financial literacy classes, tutorials, budgeting tools and a community of users. YNAB enables you to access your financial information offline too. In addition, it imports transactions from all your retirement funds, credit cards and bank accounts to provide you with a single-pane view of your financial situation. For $60 per license, you could install YNAB on all your PCs and Macs at home.
- Moneydance: At $49.99 per license, Moneydance is a comprehensive personal finance tool. It supports online banking, thereby enabling you to manage your investments easily. It helps you connect to several financial institutions, from where you could import transactions on your own. It maintains an account register that doubles up as a balanced chequebook. This shows you where you’re spending your money. It also lets you set up payment schedules for recurring expenses. Its budgeting interface enables you to reap the benefits of systems like envelope budgeting. You have the option of entering different amounts for each month or even copying your budget from previous months. Moneydance also enables you to carry forward any unspent amounts to the next budgeting cycle.
- BudgetSimple: If you like a simple budgeting tool without the accompanying bells and whistles, BudgetSimple is what you need. This free personal finance tool provides you with a budget that works for you. It will analyze your finances and generate a budget planner based on your circumstances. It will also provide helpful hints about where you could save money, curb needless expenses as well as boost your savings. It also gives you the option of entering your expenses manually or auto-linking your accounts by connecting it to your bank. A free basic account helps you create a budget and view the reports. However, if you want mobile apps or the facility to link your bank accounts, you would need to purchase the Plus plan. At $4.99 per month, BudgetSimple guarantees to provide at least $5 worth of savings each month.
- The Budget Tracker (by Duck Software): Another simple budgeting app, the Budget Tracker helps you monitor your monthly spending by date and category. Therefore, you only need to key in your expenses into a category. Thereafter, this app enables you to track your expenses with running averages of each of your monthly expense categories. Thus, you could view your expenses over a longer span of time. In addition, you could also view how you are reducing or improving your spending in certain categories. This app enables you to plan for future months too – especially those that have higher monthly expenses i.e. the months of the holiday season etc.
- Budget Tracker: This online expense solution helps you to track your accounts, your expenses and your scheduled income. It enables you to compare interest rates across various accounts (including your checking, investment, savings and PayPal accounts). It helps you track outstanding balances on your credit cards, recurring bills, paychecks etc.
- Toshl Finance: This app is ideal for beginners, who generally require a simple interface and entry method. It enables users to view their daily, weekly and monthly spending at a glance. It also takes into account people who don’t get a regular paycheck at the end of each week by providing custom financial-month planning features. Users would need to enter each expense manually to monitor their financial health. Moreover, this app maintains a backup of your data in the cloud. Subscribing to the Pro version costs $19.99. In return, you gain access to fancy graphs, data export features etc.
- iReconcile: Costing just $2.99, this powerful iOS tool provides easy-to-read reports of your savings and expenses. It also gives you access to an unlimited number of custom reports. These reports cover any duration of time or category that you specify. It has an easy to setup budget feature. In just a few clicks, you would be able to select the categories or sub-categories that are a part of your budget. However, this app relies more on the data you input, rather than synchronizing the data from your bank accounts. Its budgeting features enable you to monitor your spending levels. They also include the ability to create budgets that have specific start dates, custom periods etc. This means that your budget could include any number of days, weeks, months or even years.
- Ready For Zero (RFZ): Budgeting involves managing expenses and liabilities. This app focuses on reducing your debt, to help you accumulate wealth. It helps you set up your own debt repayment plan, which fits into your budget easily. You can link all your accounts and set up a repayment plan for all your mortgages, credit cards, student loans etc. The Automate version of this app comes at $10 per month or $15 per month with extra credit features. It enables you to calculate time and interest savings for tackling debt faster. It has a feature that enables you to make payments, whether one-off or recurring. It offers you a feature through which you could monitor your credit score too (courtesy Experian).
- Debt Snowball Pro (DSP): This app also focuses on providing financial freedom, with a difference. It helps you to repay your debts by interest rate or by the outstanding balance. It also gives you an insight into how long (and costly) your debt would be, if you continued to pay the minimum amount due, instead of repaying your debt in larger instalments. Recommended by many financial advisors and banks, this app enables you to add and remove debts, update balances and see when you would become debt-free. In addition, it also shows you the interest you could save as well as debt payoff dates. A detailed payment schedule spreadsheet displays the effects of applying snowball payments to individual debts too.
There are several mobile apps, which you could utilize for your benefit. The ones listed above are by no means the only ones available. However, it might be worthwhile understanding how you could find the best app for your situation. Therefore, before downloading any app, consider:
- Whether the app is available in your country or not
- Whether the app addresses all your requirements or not
- Whether the app is secure or not
- How much personal information you would need to enter in the app and,
- Whether you need to pay for using the app or not
Each app has its pros and cons. However, what’s most important is finding an app that works for you. If managing your finances bothers you, all the help you need is out there. All you need to do is to utilize these resources for managing your finances more effectively.
If you are interested in finance and you want to know the basics of accounting or bookkeeping than we highly recommend you read this very informative article on the Importance Of Bookkeeping.