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Jul 20, 2018 OHIOHEALTH
What's "Appening": Budgeting Apps to Improve Your Finances from Your Phone

Let’s face it, “budgeting” is no fun. Nobody wants to spend their time crunching numbers and setting limits for their spending. But on the other hand, being free from debt, having a padded savings account and having no financial stress sounds like a whole lot of fun, doesn’t it?

So, how can we get the perks of working a budget without all the work of making a budget? The answer may literally be right at your fingertips — your phone.

5 Budgeting Apps You Should Check Out

There’s no shortage of budgeting apps out there. Many can sync with your accounts and automatically track and categorize your spending. Some can create budgets for you. There are many options that can make budgeting a whole lot more doable. We’re offering up a few apps that we hope can help you get on your way to financial freedom!

1. Mint Budgeting App

(iPhone, iPad and Android)

Free

Across the “blogosphere,” experts seem to agree that Mint is a great app — especially for beginners. It can help you see where your money is going and how you can save more of it. It can also help you pay your bills, check your credit score, and of course, set and follow a budget.

Features:

  • Creates a financial snapshot by pulling bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments into one place
  • Helps manage bill payment by tracking bills, sending reminders to avoid late payments and enabling you to pay bills from the app
  • Automatically updates your transactions in real-time and places them into categories
  • Allows you to split ATM transactions into the categories of purchase you made with that money
  • Makes budget suggestions based on your financial picture and spending habits
  • Lets you set budgets and alerts you when you start to near your budgeted limits
  • Offers access to check your credit score for free

2. Empower

(iPhone and Android)

Free (Premium version for $3.99 a month)

If you’re looking to budget as well as save more money or pay off debt, this app can help. Forbes, Time Magazine and Apple all recommend it as “Best Tech Apps to Help You Save, Invest and Manage Your Finances.”

Features:

  • Creates a financial snapshot by tracking bank accounts, credit cards, loans, crypto and retirement accounts in one place
  • Automatically categorizes spending and creates custom spending reports
  • Finds opportunities to save by analyzing things like your bills, credit card or loan rates and insurance rates and suggesting better options
  • Offers AutoSave feature that lets you automatically transfer money to a savings account or to pay down debt
  • Protects your credit score by monitoring your credit utilization
  • Enables you to transfer money between your existing accounts and pay credit card bills for free
  • Alerts you when you overspend
  • Gives you access to Empower Experts who answer your financial questions (Premium only)

3. PocketGuard

(iPhone and Android)

Free (PocketGuard Plus available for $3.99 a month)

PocketGuard syncs with your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, savings and investments to figure out what you have left to spend. At its most basic level, it keeps you from overspending. But it can also do so much more.

Features:

  • Creates a financial snapshot by pulling bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments into one place
  • Tells you how much you have left to spend after your bills are paid and savings is safely tucked away
  • Automatically builds a budget based on your income and spending patterns
  • Tracks your bills
  • Lets you set savings goals and spending limits
  • Gives suggestions on how to lower your recurring bills with better available deals
  • Automatically categorizes your spending
  • Compares your current month’s spending to your average
  • Alerts you to upcoming payment due dates

4. You Need a Budget (YNAB)

(iPhone and Android)

$83.99 for a year ($6.99 a month)

This app is for the seriously committed budgeter. While the app provides tools to work your budget, their biggest offering is education. YNAB wants you to “stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt and save more money.” They believe you can achieve these goals by giving every dollar a job, planning for expected and unexpected expenses, being flexible and rolling with the punches, and spending last month’s money instead of having your paycheck spent before you even get it.

Features:

  • Syncs to your bank accounts
  • Provides online classes to help you get started and personal support, seven days a week
  • Offers tools and education to help you get rid of debt for good
  • Lets you set and track goals
  • Measures your progress with detailed reports

5. GoodBudget

(iPhone and Android)

Free

GoodBudget enables you to not only track your expenses, but to PLAN for them. It’s great for couples working a budget together, as well as for individuals. You can share and sync budgets across devices. GoodBudget helps you keep track of your income and expenses so you know exactly how much money is left over.

Features:

  • Uses the “envelope system” to help you plan how much money you have to spend on different things like dining, groceries and more
  • Syncs transactions so they’re accessible from multiple devices
  • Generates reports to give you a sense of your budgeting and spending habits

 

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