Budgeting is notorious for being a hassle. Thanks to these mobile apps and web-based services, you won’t have to pore over your finances for hours or mess around with spreadsheets. Here’s a look at four online tools that take the tedium out of building a budget:
Looking to rein in your spending? Buxfer is a free tool that helps you define spending limits for different time frames. For instance, you can create a monthly budget for entertainment expenses, a yearly budget for major purchases, and a weekly budget for dining. Abby Hayes, a contributor to DoughRoller, noted Buxfer for its bill reminder, ability to automatically categorize your purchases, and its notification system, which alerts you if you’ve overspent on a category. It even creates easy-to-read reports to help you visualize your spending and saving habits. While Buxfer is primarily for budgeting, it also offers a tool to help you manage your investments. Buxfer is also easy to access, whether you’re at home or on the go, since it offers both a browser version and an app for mobile devices.
Instead of fumbling with envelopes of cash in the checkout line, Goodbudget makes envelope-style budgeting a breeze. Since it’s accessible across multiple devices, it’s easy to share your budget with your significant other. NerdWallet singles out Goodbudget as unique since it doesn’t involve linking your checking account, savings account, and credit cards, which could be seen as a benefit to users who are concerned about privacy. Rather, you’ll have to manually input your balances. Afterward, you’ll create expense categories called “envelopes.” While the free version of the app offers access to two devices and a fixed number of categories, you can upgrade to the premium version for more benefits, like access for additional devices and an unlimited number of envelopes. The paid version of the app will run you $60 per year, or $7 monthly.
Although Honeydue is a relative newcomer to the personal finance tool market, its innovative features may be just what your family needs. This free mobile app is geared towards couples who are working to manage their spending together. It allows you to centralize information on your financial accounts, investments, debts, and credit cards, so you can both have a clear view of what’s going on with your money. Plus, it takes some of the hassle out of money management by providing bill reminders, spending limit notifications, and even a built-in chat system so you can check in on your significant other. NerdWallet notes that there are even privacy settings for your data so you can limit what you share with your partner.
You Need a Budget
Although You Need a Budget may look like a basic spreadsheet, this simple-but-powerful tool is popular with personal finance experts for a reason. It enables you to link your financial accounts for no-hassle budget calculations and transaction tracking. Hayes suggests linking your credit cards to YNAB to help you conquer your debt and become more aware of your spending. Once you have YNAB set up, you can quickly view your spending habits — and get an idea of where you over- and under-budget. If you deplete the funds in a certain expense category, YNAB makes it a breeze to rearrange your money to cover the cost. However, while YNAB is a powerful tool, it comes at a price. After 34 days of free access, it costs $11.99 per month, or $84 per year. It’s available for both browsers and mobile devices.
In addition to budgeting with an app or web-based tool, you can supplement your efforts with guidance from a professional financial planner.