Whether you’ve had your eye on a sharp pair of shades at the mall or are in desperate need of a coffee on your way to work, sticking to your budget can be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of all the help you can get.
The following free mobile apps, all of which are available for both iOS and Android, can go a long way in preventing unnecessary dents in your bank account.
As its name suggests, this app lets users create and monitor budgets for weekly, monthly, and annual expenses, organizing them in categories like gas, groceries, and clothing. Spending Tracker lets you sort through past purchases by date, name, or amount, which is useful if you want to find out what you splurged on, and when. This app should be especially handy for consumers who want to get a better sense of how they could cut back on their spending.
A slick, easy-to-use app, Level Money lets users connect all their bank and credit card accounts to its system and provides automatic updates whenever they buy something with their plastic. This app uses the same security measures as banks and other financial institutions, which means your personal information should be well-protected. Level Money relies on simple but effective pie charts to show consumers how much money is left in their daily, weekly, and monthly budgets in categories like groceries and transportation. These graphics are also updated whenever you make a purchase using your credit or debit card.
GoodBudget lets partners and family members sync their budgets across multiple devices and the Web, so when money is deducted from a particular category, everyone knows how much has been spent. That makes this app ideal for families as well as for couples who’ve just moved in together. GoodBudget splits your monthly expenses into digital “envelopes” for which you can choose the categories. It shows how much of the allocated money is left in each envelope after users plug in whatever purchases they’ve made throughout the week — which needs to be done manually because bank accounts can’t be linked to the app.
In addition to letting you monitor your budget, Pocket Expense gives you the option of tracking your bills, and it even sends alerts when a payment due date is approaching. Its calendar, which closely resembles that of the iPhone, is one of its best features. Users can scroll through it to figure out which days they tend to overspend on, and can therefore identify recurring spending habits that need to be fixed.
Another simple, user-friendly app, Wally uses a no-frills layout to help users stay on top of their budgets. Its scan feature is an especially nice touch, as it lets users take pictures of receipts before automatically pulling the most pertinent information from them, like the amount spent and the date of the transaction. Wally lets users set savings goals and notifies them when they’ve been achieved.
The bottom line
It may not always be easy, but adhering to your budget is one of the best money moves you can make. The name of the game is staying disciplined and keeping an eye on your expenses to figure out where you might have slipped up. Although it’s ultimately up to you to stay on track, these apps can provide plenty of support along the way.
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