For some, setting a budget is tantamount to getting a tooth pulled: it’s the kind of thing that can always be put off until tomorrow. What if it could be a pain-free, and even pleasant experience?
Your phone or computer can actually show you where your money is going, and if you happen to be living beyond your means! Here are a few recommended apps to help.
The most interesting budget application is the one developed by ACEF du Grand Portage. It’s simple, free, and includes inputs for just about everything: income, expenses, debt, assets, and liabilities. Clear, easy and straight to the point.
Mint is a free tool that automatically gathers all the data from your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, etc. Within five minutes, your entire financial situation shows up on your phone, and updates automatically. It also allows you to set saving goals and offers other useful tips. Some may raise piracy concerns, but the app is encrypted with fairly solid technology. This powerful and user-friendly tool is only available in English for the time being. www.mint.com/canada
My Wallet+ is more of an expense and income comparison tool than an actual budget planner. You input your income and expenses, and get information about your spending habits. Everything is presented as weekly, monthly and yearly graphs. This allows you to track which expenses are higher than you’d planned, and shows you where you can make adjustments to your budget. You can export the data in Excel, CVS and HTML format. www.block21.com
Spendee allows you to manage your budget by tracking money input and output through graphs, allowing you to understand the nature and timing of your spending. You can also take pictures of your bills and sort them in customizable expense categories. You can store your data in the cloud or export it to an Excel file. www.spendee.com
To scan your documents and control your cash flow
Other apps worth mentioning: Piikki allows you to scan your bills with your phone’s camera, sort them by category, tag them, geo-reference them, and even share them to your cloud, Dropbox or Evernote. IxpenseIt has won numerous awards and allows you to control your cash flow with a clear budget and alerts.
- Drawing up a budget and sticking to it is the surest way to manage your finances.
- Online tools for your computer or cellphone help simplify everything and handle some of the clerical work for you.
- At the end of the day, online tools can’t force you to stick to a budget, but can prove to be a difference maker.