So, you’re looking for ways to manage your money better. Congratulations! Now what? We’ve talked about the importance of having a household budget to understand what’s coming in and what’s going out. But do you have the right budgeting tools to help you get the job done?
Budgeting tools can help you feel more organized and in control of your spending. They aren’t essential, but they can be a tremendous help to some people. Before deciding which tool to pick up, take a quick look at a few of the best we’ve found. Here are 5 great tools to help you get back on top of your finances.
There are many budgeting tools available that can fit your unique spending and savings needs. Be sure to evaluate any tools you consider for their privacy and security policies, any fees for their service, and for user reviews before you get started so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Mint.com is one of the most well-known and widely used personal financial-summary tools available to consumers. It offers users a convenient and easy way to see their bills and money together in one dashboard. Users can create and manage a budget while also being able to receive alerts for different types of activities on their accounts.
Mint offers most of its services at no charge to users. However, users can opt into a premium version of the tool that offers additional features such as credit monitoring.
Mint highlights their commitment to keeping user data secure through multiple safety measures including secure encryption and multi-factor authentication.
FitFin is a simple-to-use free tool that helps you organize receipts, shopping lists, and finances. When you use the FitFin app to snap a picture of your receipts, you can create expenses automatically and track them against your budget. You can also store & organize your receipts, then later search for a specific receipt by store, date, or keyword.
You can also use FitFin to track the items you buy, with the price you paid for them, which allows you to accurately compare prices, track where your money goes, and even create shopping lists that predict spending before it happens! The tool features current month spending and month-to-month spending trends.
If you’re a fan of the envelope system for budgeting, then Goodbudget may be a great choice for you. Goodbudget is a virtual budget program that keeps you on track financially with the time-tested envelope budgeting method with a modern twist.
Using an app with your smartphone, Goodbudget helps users create a budget that reflects their spending values. It allows you to set aside what you need each month for different categories and then choose how to use the rest based on what’s important to you. Your budget will sync between mobile devices and the website, allowing users to stay on the same page with their spending and debt payment priorities between family members.
There is a free version of the program with some limits to the number of accounts, history and envelopes. A premium version is also available for a monthly fee with upgraded features.
Goodbudget’s website highlights the security of their tool.
YNAB (short for You Need a Budget) is a zero-based budgeting system intended for those who take budgeting seriously. It’s based on the idea that users have a plan for every dollar they earn.
Features of the YNAB tool include real-time syncing between devices, the ability to connect bank accounts, goal tracking, allowing you to contribute to your savings, and customize your spending categories. They also offer resources including budgeting advice and free workshops.
Once the 34 day free trial ends, YNAB requires a financial investment of either $84 a year or $11.99 a month.
YNAB highlights their Security including encryption of data, protection of user passwords, and accredited data centers.
PocketGuard is for those who like a simplified approach to their personal finances by stripping it down to the basic question: how much do I have available for spending? The tool combines your data to show how much money is available after accounting for bills, spending, and savings, then letting you view how much money is left “in my pocket” for the day, week or month.
For users who want more detail, the tool can track specific categories of spending, such as groceries, entertainment, or clothing. You can also link your banks, credit cards, loans & investment to keep track of your account balances, net worth and more in one place. The website does not list any fees for the service.
Pocketguard secures your data with 256-bit SSL encryption, and their app uses PIN code and biometrics, as an additional security layer.
If you’re looking for the right budgeting tools to help you organize and get control of your finances, you may want to try a variety of tools to see what works for you. There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to budgeting, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find the best budgeting tool for you.
If you find that a DIY approach isn’t the best for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help! A Credit Counselor can help you make sense of your financial situation and get you on track to debt-free living. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today
Consumer Education Services, Inc. empowers people to overcome their financial challenges and lead financially-healthy lives.
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