With Financial Literacy Month upon us, many companies and nonprofits are trying to help American families reduce spending with financial education. 56% of Americans do not track their monthly spending at all. 64% are living paycheck to paycheck. Budgeting effectively can help you get overspending under control.
While making a budget on paper with a pen still works wonders, there are more efficient tools available in our digital age. Tons of services and apps exist to simplify the budgeting process. Where to start? Here are a few apps to get you started on creating a budget and reducing spending.
1. Mint — Available on iOS and Android
Mint is typically the first app you run into on these types of lists, and for good reason — it comes with a lot of useful features.
Mainly, it tracks the expenses from all your credit cards and bank accounts. Every transaction you make is reflected in the application instantly, letting you keep a record of your spending in real time.
The app easily differentiates between expenses as well. This categorization is especially useful for making sub-budgets, keeping your essential expenses separate from more trivial spending habits.
2. PocketGuard — Available on iOS and Android
PocketGuard has all the functionality of a typical budgeting app, but with the benefit of a simple “In My Pocket” dashboard with one simple number that reflects what you can afford at any given moment. A number of features help you track your spending, monitor different credit sources and keep track of upcoming bills, all on top of keeping a record of your spending.
PocketGuard is available to download for free on iPhones and Android devices. However, you can also get a Plus version by paying $3.99/month for some additional features.
3. GiftPlanner — Available on iOS
GiftPlanner is a fun, specialized tool that works well for any event where you feel like you need to buy gifts for your loved ones.
It gives gift suggestions for each of your family members if you have not thought of them already. The app lets you browse available options to choose what fits your budget and your needs. When you are done, each item is reflected in your gift budget, keeping an instantaneous record of how much you have spent and how much more you can afford.
4. You Need a Budget — Available on iOS and Android
YNAB provides you with a zero-based budgeting system. Zero-based budgets mean you must plan for every penny you make, whether they go to food, retirement, an emergency fund or other spending categories. This app connects your bank accounts like the others, but it also offers resources, budgeting advice and free educational workshops.
Stay on Top of Spending
Your wallet will take a beating if you do not keep a record of how you are spending. Use one of these budgeting apps to track your money quickly and efficiently. It will leave you with the peace of mind that comes from reducing your spending — as well as give you a little more time on your hands.