The Best Budgeting Apps to Meet Your Financial Goals
Budgeting apps are at the heart of how most people manage their finances today, but are you using the right tools to meet your monetary goals? In fact, too many people are relying on the wrong tools to meet their financial aims.
Before you start entering budget information into yet another app, take some time to outline your goals and find your perfect match. These six tools each have a specialty and can help you hit your money mark faster and more efficiently.
If you’re looking for a budgeting app that will help you sort out your family’s finances, from rent to credit card bills and groceries, your best bet is the You Need A Budget (YNAB) app. Why? This program is highly effective because YNAB is a digital version of the envelope system – in other words, you can’t spend more money than you’re earning, but you are encouraged to budget out every penny of your money, including into emergency savings funds, for leisure activities, and any long-term goals. You can even make separate budget pages for different people in your household.
The only downside to YNAB is that the tool is $50 a year – but remember, multiple people can use one account, and the program is available as both an app and a desktop platform. Many people do their basic budgeting on the computer and then add expenses on the go. If you don’t want to invest in a budgeting app, though, you can get similar results from Mint, although it’s less comprehensive.
Handling Home Expenses
Are you a first time homeowner or currently in the market? If so, you’re probably facing some unexpected expenses, including closing costs, homeowners association dues, landscaping, and insurance. In fact, say the experts at Houston property management company Green Residential, you might be surprised just how often people fail to save for these costs. But with Squeeze, you can get them under control.
Squeeze doesn’t have an app (yet), but you’re unlikely to need this tool on the go very often. That’s because Squeeze focuses on reducing home bills like home and renters insurance, TV services, credit cards, and even student loans. In other words, you’re going to want to sit down and compare a lot of information when you’re using this site. And their mobile interface is very user-friendly if you do want to use it at the bank or while buying a cellphone plan.
Unlike home budgeting, when you’re trying to run a small business, you need a comprehensive tool set; besides Quickbooks, most just aren’t set up for this level of complexity – so you may need to take a DIY approach. That’s where Google Apps comes into the picture.
Google Apps is the mobile equivalent of Google’s desktop suite including Google Docs, Sheets, and even Presentations, and small business owners and freelancers can build a budget in Sheets, share notes, annotations, and purchasing or reimbursement requests via Docs, and generally keep in touch with a single set of tools. Sharing is a central part of the Google Apps ecosystem and brings a lot to the budgeting game for remote teams.
Identifying Investment Issues
Finally, if you’re an investor, you’ve probably got a good handle on basic finances, but you may still need a budgeting boost and the Personal Capital app can provide precisely that. Personal Capital is, in essence, a hybrid human/robot investment advisor and provides a perfect breakdown of investment fees, asset classes, and other key trading issues. It’s not well designed for basic cash flow, but it gets the complicated things right.
For newer investors who need more than just an app-based advisor, another way to start investing is with the Acorn app, a tool designed to help people save small amounts of money. Like other rollover systems, Acorn invests small portions of every purchase into a diversified portfolio of over 7,000 stocks. As the name suggests, the app wants to turn your pennies into big money – acorns into might oaks.
When you have the right tools, gaining control of your finances is a snap – but first, you need to identify your goals. Once you understand where you need financial support, you’ll be ready to move forward with a better budget in hand.