Having an easy to manage spending plan is the cornerstone for financial success. It’s important to know your cash inflows and outflows so that you make the most of your hard-earned cash. Knowing how much you spend on categories like groceries, eating out, or gas can help you identify areas where maybe you are spending too much. This can help you direct funds towards something else that has importance to you, such as saving for retirement, a new home, or a special trip, without upsetting your normal every day cash flow. Many people are unsure of how to get started with an easy spending plan. With technology at our fingertips it’s now easier than ever to track your spending to keep in line with your goals.
One personal finance app that we found checked a lot of boxes was Mint. For starters it’s free! In addition, it’s very user friendly. Simply sign up and start to link your accounts. You can create your personal and secure portal with all of your financial accounts under one dashboard.
Mint will then start categorizing your spending and create a monthly budget based on your spending patterns, and this feature is completely customizable too. There is also a “Trends” tab that allows users to drill down into each category to see how much they are spending and compare from month to month. Mint will even make recommendations on how much should be spent in each category based on past spending patterns and average spending in that category.
Other features worth mentioning are details of your investment accounts with a high-level overview of their performance, reminders when bills are due, and free credit scores. It has both a desk-top and mobile app for ease of use and access.
Find out more about Mint by going to: https://www.mint.com/
Another personal finance app that can help with your spending and budgeting is PocketGuard. PocketGuard has a free basic version and a paid plus version (either $34.99/year or $3.99/month). When you sign up, all you have to do is link your financial accounts and the app will detect your bills and income. Once your accounts are linked, you can check your “In My Pocket” to see how much money you have left to save or spend after paying your monthly bills.
PocketGuard will also help you create a budget by tracking your spending patterns and income. Your spending will be categorized to help you see where and how you are spending your money and then it will show you where you could save. You can add customized categories and hashtags to help you organize your expenses and easily review reports. With PocketGuard, all of your linked accounts will be viewable in one location, making it easy to keep track of all of your accounts and transactions.
Some additional features you get with PocketGuard are: help with negotiating better rates on recurring monthly bills and an option for setting up autosave to help you reach your goals. While many of the features of PocketGuard are free, there are a few that are part of the paid subscription (customizing categories, changing the date of transactions, and autosave to name three of them).
Find out more about PocketGuard by going to: https://pocketguard.com/
If you are looking for a personal finance app that is more desktop based, Moneydance is a great option. For a personal and household license, Moneydance charges a one-time fee of $49.99. This means you can install it on as many computers as you want. You must install it on your computer, as all of the information is not stored in the cloud, but on your computer. If you download the app on your phone, the information will sync from your computer to your phone.
Like the other apps, you will link up all of your financial accounts to Moneydance and then it will import your data from these institutions. Once your information is imported, the transactions in each of your accounts will be displayed in ledger form. Custom reports and graphs can be pulled from your transactions and categorized so you can see how and where you are spending your money. Moneydance can help with building and monitoring your budget.
Moneydance can also remind you when bills are due, help you track your investment portfolios, and give you the option to manually record entries.
Find out more about Moneydance by going to: https://moneydance.com/