Many people live from paycheck to paycheck. From the first day of the month, they are already anticipating payday. Sadly, when this pay finally comes, they never have enough because they are back to settling debts. Sometimes, this is actually not because they are underpaid, but rather, because they lack good financial management skills. Budgeting tools can help you put an end to your financial woes for good.
The year has been a tough one. Lots of people have lost their loved ones and sources of livelihood. Sadly, most of them don’t have good savings or investment plans to fall back on. This has led to an increase in depression and poverty. Thus, to survive these uncertain times, you need to be frugal with your expenses. Today, we explore 5 budgeting tools to help you to manage your finances.
Among all other budgeting tools, Mint has the highest positive reviews. The Intuit-owned app is also one of the oldest. With Mint, you can create saving and budgeting goals. Also, it has a feature that helps track your savings progress in other to achieve your savings and budgeting goals. Mint offers interactive tools that provide you with saving and spending trends over a period of time. This would help you to figure out the financial implications of certain lifestyle choices and the need for adjustments where necessary. The mint budgeting tool is free and easy to set up and use. It covers all aspects of finance ranging from household to upkeep, lifestyle, etc. Interestingly, it works for joint accounts too.
Mint links investment accounts, valuable assets, deposit accounts, and credit accounts (loans and credit cards). This allows you to see all the activities on your different accounts in one place. It analyzes your net worth, updates information about all your financial transactions, and sends you the results. Aside from these, Mint helps you to classify your expenditures into smaller groups like credit payments, home improvement, tax, etc. It’s important to note that, mint only gives savings advice and doesn’t have any savings features. Mint offers most of its services for free to customers. However, those that want credit monitoring services can pay $16.99 per month for Mint Credit Monitor.
As the name implies, everyone who wants to gain a certain level of financial freedom needs a good budgeting tool. YNAB is one of the tools we recommend. It has four budget rules. Number one of the rule says, ‘give every dollar a job’. This could also be interpreted as making every dollar work for you instead of working for every dollar. The idea behind this rule is to account for every dollar that enters or goes out of your account at the beginning of the month. Judiciously following this rule helps you to restrict your spending.
The second rule is to embrace your true expenses. In simpler terms, get rid of unnecessary, large, reoccurring expenses. Rule number three reminds you to save for a rainy day. The lesson here is that things could just come up to disrupt our normal plans for the month. However, that shouldn’t deter you from saving or investing in the long term. Lastly, YNAB tells you to ‘age your money and expand’. The idea is to investigate and get other sources of income. So, in addition to being a budgeting tool, YNAB also helps to teach financial literacy.
YNAB is different from Mint in a number of ways. YNAB only gives you a 34-day free trial. Afterwards, you pay $84 annually or $11.99 per month for the services they provide. Something really unique about this app is that it helps you plan your budget weeks or even months before your payday. So, you don’t need to always anticipate paydays. Other features that make this app different are their strong customer service and guaranteed refund if not satisfied after the first payment. On the downside, it will take you a while to set up and figure out how it works.
This is one of the most recommended budgeting tools. It is best for overspenders. Its main focus is to help you curtail overspending. The app has a way of monitoring your expenses, income, and saving goals. Once your savings and credit account is in sync with this app, it sees all your financial transactions and reminds you when credit card bills are due. Also, it tells you how much you should spend daily. This is one of the most affordable budgeting tools. It will cost you $3.99 per month or $34.99 annually.
Another interesting feature of this app is that it keeps track of your bills, and reminds you about the due date of bills. At a glance, you can see your disposable income—what is left after paying your bills. You can also identify and cancel unwanted subscriptions that drain your account. Also, it has an autosave feature that can help you to save up to $250,000. Unfortunately, this saving feature is only available for U.S. citizens. Likewise, the app only connects to financial institutions in the U.S. and Canada.
This is one of the oldest and most popular of all budgeting tools. This app doesn’t only help you save or draw your budget, but it also helps you monitor your investment, calculate your loss, pay bills with ease, make transfers between banks, give ideas on the best way to pay off debt, etc. Quicken doesn’t offer its services for free. You will need to renew your membership subscription every year. Quicken Starter cost $34.99 while Quicken Deluxe cost $44.99. Also, there is the Quicken Premier for $67.99 and Quicken Home & Business for $89.99.
One of the most important features of this app is security. It uses very high-level encryption to protect your account since it’s connected to your bank account. The password to your account is stored behind firewall-protected servers, unlike most other budgeting tools. For security reasons, it doesn’t save passwords automatically. This can sometimes be annoying but in the long run, it’s worth the stress.
Personal Capital was founded in 2009. It has a unique and outstanding way of managing your budget. Its main aim is to combine technology with financial advice, budgeting, and even retirement. Like Mint, Personal Capital offers a free tracking tool that monitors your spending, bank account, stocks, credit card, and investments. It is not surprising that over 2.4 million people use this tool.
With Personal Capital, you wouldn’t have to worry much about security because you must verify the device before log in either through email or a phone call. Personal Capital is easy to use and data-friendly. Although Personal Capital has a free version, to be considered a client you must have at least $100,000. This is definitely too high for just anyone. However, all clients have access to dedicated financial advisors.
True financial freedom comes not only from hard work but the ability to manage our finances. Perhaps, the most interesting thing about budgeting tools is that you can use them without having any accounting knowledge. These apps display statistics in a simple and easy to read manner. Obviously, each of the budgeting tools is suitable for different categories of people.
For example, Mint is best for students because it doesn’t require any service charge. YNAB gives you reasons to invest more and make every money count. PocketGuard is best for overspenders. Lastly, Personal Capital is perfect for those looking at their retirement. Find what works for you, but, by every means, get a budgeting tool.