Have you ever tried to keep a budget? It starts out with the best of intentions, but then you lose track of your notebook for a couple of days and you can’t for the life of you remember if breakfast was $8 or $9. Or maybe you do a great job of recording everything but at the end of the month you can’t work out where your money went, your tallies are a mess and you can’t figure out if you remembered to pay rent or not.
There’s an app for that. A few in fact.
You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget (YNAB) has an annual subscription fee of $50. It might sounds counterintuitive to spend when you are trying to save, but YNAB brags that on average most users save $200 in their first month of use and go on to save over $3,000 in nine months. If your money is completely out of control this might be the one for you.
YNAB doesn’t do anything super fancy, it tracks your income and expenses just like any budget should. However it runs some nice maths in the background for you, so you can see at a glance what your monthly utility bills are, even if you pay quarterly. YNAB tells you to set aside money each month so when the bills come, you’re ready to go. Of course, it can’t force you to save – that part is still on you.
If YNAB is the basics that you need to get started with your finances, then Personal Capital is the master class that will last you from now till you’re raking in your third million. Personal Capital is free to use, and not only does it show you your spending category by category, track your income and give you regular spending reports, it tracks you debts and investments as well.
Personal Capital can hook into all your banking systems, track your investment returns, uncover any hidden fees and even help you plan for retirement. From your first pay check to your last bill, Personal Capital has your back the whole way.
Mint is another free all in one tool that helps you make a budget you can stick to, track your upcoming bills and will even keep you on top of your credit score. Mint will also track down fees that are eating away at your investments, throw out warnings when you’re going over budget and will even let you pay bills direct from the app.
Next to the budgeting and investing assistance, Mint also offers credit card analysis tools, a selection of brokerage accounts to review and tips on new savings accounts to try. They are hitting every side of the personal finance world and they’re doing it well.
While you might feel wary about handing out your bank details to a third party, they are all well known, well established companies with super stringent security protocols. You’re probably safer giving these guys your details than logging into your bank directly, that’s how serious they are. If you’re looking to get ahead on your finances, pick up a budgeting app and see what difference it makes to you.