Managing a monthly budget can be difficult for anyone, especially if keeping track of it is cumbersome. Often, we end up overconfident in how we are calculating expenses in our heads until we check the bank account and realize the total is a lot lower than we thought…and panic. One of the keys to keeping a budget on track is making it as easy as possible to check expenses, put them in categories and evaluate the remaining funds. Considering most of us have smartphones in our pockets or purses at all times, a great way to increase your success rate with budgeting is to use a budgeting app. We’ve outlined three contenders below that may work for you.
Everydollar. Engineered by the team at Dave Ramsey, this app is named for the idea that every dollar you earn should have a purpose, even if that means it belongs in a savings account. It allows you to connect the app to your bank account, importing your expenses and income so that you can easily drag each transaction into the categories you set up. The app allows you to create funds, pay off debt and duplicate budgets each month to make it easier to set up. Everydollar can be accessed on a desktop or via the app.
You Need a Budget (a.k.a. YNAB) – You Need a Budget, commonly called “Y-Nab,” also allows you to connect your bank account and import transactions, keeping track of all your accumulated income and how many dollars still need to be assigned a job. Designed to take the anxiety out of budgeting, the app allows you to set goals for yourself to stay on track and move money from one category to another when one is overspent midway through the month. It also encourages you to “age” your money so that you are no longer living paycheck to paycheck and are living on money you made at least a month ago, not waiting for a paycheck to pay a bill.
Mint – Mint includes many of the same features as the others — connecting to your bank account and creating easy ways to budget, but it also allows you to track and pay bills as well as check your credit score. It even evaluates your spending habits and makes suggestions based on your transactions. It comes from the makers of TurboTax and automatically categorizes your transactions for you based on its name.
Each of these apps have unique features, so finding the one that’s right for you may take some trial and error. Each one offers a free trial, but takes a fee for subscribers. It’s worth the investment, though, to steward your money well.