Quite often, the difference between a financially stable person and someone on the verge of filing for bankruptcy is the proper understanding of budgeting. A budget is an incredibly useful tool that Ascend Finance recommends to help you achieve financial freedom.
A survey by Bankrate shows that 82% of Americans have a household budget. A major reason why some don’t budget is the technicality of keeping track of their expenses and allocating funds for each section. Getting your finances on track isn’t as easy as it seems. It can be difficult to detail every inflow and outflow of money. But it shouldn’t be daunting.
The tech world has noticed the demand and difficulty. As such, they’ve released an array of apps that can make the process easier. Some of these apps are designed for financial gurus, while others are well cut-out for an average user. Before diving into the nitty-gritty of the article, let’s explore why it is so important to have a budgeting app in the first place?
Benefits of having a budget
- It gives you control over your money
- It helps you focus on your financial goals
- It prepares you for sudden financial demands
- It helps you get out of debt
- It can help you build a stable financial life
Budgeting apps for beginners in 2021
Just as it may be time that you move to an online bank, it may be time for you to give up the spreadsheet for a top budgeting app in 2021. Here’s a roundup of good budgeting apps for beginners:
1. Savvy Finance
Savvy Debt Payoff Planner and soon to be Zero Based budget is the first combined debt payoff planner and zero based budget.
The app allows you to automatically link your accounts and will let you know how much left over each month and which debt to put the extra payment on. This budgeting app is actually Savvy. It takes the guesswork out of debt payoff and helps you get out of debt cheaper, easier, and faster while being able to manage a zero based budget.
The best part about the app is that there is a 100% free version, and the paid version is only $5.99 per month, which is lower than most of the other premium budgeting options.
2. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
Numerous budgeting apps allow you to link your bank account so that you can properly monitor your transaction. YNAB is one of those apps, and it also allows users to manually include transactions that weren’t made through their bank. This is very useful for individuals who prefer manual logging. And particularly for those who don’t want to give third-party apps access to their bank details.
But if you don’t care about a third-party app having access to your account, then you can connect your accounts to this app. YNAB connects with local credit unions, major banks, and other financial institutions. You’re also allowed to link a credit card and set a goal for it, e.g., paying off your balance at a specified period.
After linking your bank accounts to the app, you’ll have to assign every dollar in your account to a purpose. The most important rule of YNAB is “give every dollar a job.” This means that you must clearly state the purpose of every dollar in your account. Excess cash should be assigned to emergency savings, retirement, or investment contributions. You can also assign it to a fun activity—if it’s a priority for you.
A distinctive difference between other budgeting apps and YNAB is you’re only allowed to budget what you have. The app does not support creating a budget for expected money or forecasting.
YNAB also provides information that can improve your financial education. They offer free workshops on building savings, debt, budgeting, and many more.
You can freely use the app for 34 days after signing up. After that’ you’ll be required to pay $84 annually. The price is pretty high for some individuals, but those that can afford the fee will definitely find it worthy.
As the name implies, PocketGuard simply helps you pocket your cash. It creates a budget by studying your spending pattern and notifies you when you’ve saved money.
The app allows you to create goals like adding money to your investment or savings account. You should navigate through the offers available to find ways to save on insurance and loans.
The app features descriptive graphs that’ll help you understand your financial position at a glance. You can see upcoming expenses, income, and the amount you need to invest in your goals.
4. Personal Capital
Personal Capital offers you more than just budgeting help. It also allows you to budget, monitor your investments, and track your retirement funds. When you download the app and sign up, you’ll be required to include some essential information: your age, your name, when you plan to retire, the money you have in your retirement, and your savings account information.
Once you’ve linked your account, Personal Capital will give you an overview of your financial standing. It also has a chart for monitoring your monthly cash flow. It’s a great app to account for your money and monitor your financial goals.
If you’re a simple budgeter with a flair for manual style, then this is the app for you. Prior to the invention of the smartphone, budgeting entailed writing financial plans on paper. In the past, we had to “balance our checkbooks” to ensure that our expenses did not exceed the money available.
Although that isn’t important henceforth, the basic method remains the same. Goodbudget requests that you enter all your transactions, paychecks and using those, it will create envelopes. You’ll have to enter all details manually.
You’ll then assign an amount to each envelope, but you can’t create more than ten envelopes using their free app. If you upgrade to the Plus plan for $5.99 monthly, you’ll have access to creating unlimited envelopes.
Since everyone has a distinct style of handling their personal finance, you may have to try all these apps to pick what works best for you. Beginners usually find it difficult to stick to their budget. As such, try using these 5 budgeting apps that you are sure to find easy to understand and helpful for your finances.