Keep your budget on track in the New Year with these personal finance apps!
It's that time of year for making promises to better your life in the New Year. When the New Year begins, it's a time for starting over, and hopefully getting it right this time.
The only problem is that it can be very difficult to stick to your goals, especially if your goal is to budget your finances better and you're terrible at keeping track. I've got a couple of big purchases that I want to make in the new year and these are the apps I plan on using to help remind me to save and keep me on track to getting the car of my dreams.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
Planning a budget is one thing, but understanding why you need a budget is another. YNAB does more than just help you live within your means: it helps you evaluate your lifestyle and decide which purchases are the most important on any given day. The idea is that every dollar needs a "job." So, you are asked to manually allocate every bit of your income to some budget plan, even if it is "Stuff I Forgot to Budget For."
- Free with subscription - Download now
After you connect your credit cards and bank accounts, Mint automatically creates a budget based on average spending habits. You can increase or decrease the maximum for each budget and add or remove categories. Income and expenses are automatically added when you make purchases with your credit or bank cards. You can even get alerts when you've spent an unusually large amount of money on a particular category or if you're checking account drops below a certain amount. It keeps you on track without you having to do a lot of work.
- Free - Download now
Money Wiz is a great personal finance tracker for balancing your bank account. The free version lets you manually add account information like income, expenses, and account transfers. If you sign up for the monthly subscription, you can connect your online bank accounts and have the work done for you. You can also create a budget (though you can only track one budget before being asked to upgrade). You can also set up a schedule reminder to keep you on track for paying bills that are due at the same time each month. It features a few more customizable features, like creating a new category for income and expenses, as well as creating finance reports based on your net worth, cash flow, and balance over time. Money Wiz works better with the subscription upgrade, but is very useful for keeping your checking accounts balanced.
- Free with in-app purchase - Download now
With HomeBudget, you can manually input your income and expenses, including which ones are recurring and which ones just came up this month. You can plan ahead by entering a maximum amount of money you want or need to spend on specific categories, like car payments and going out to dinner. Then, see how close you are to going over budget with the graphic overview.
HomeBudget also has an extra special feature – it lets you sync your budget with others. So, the person (or people) you share household finances with can include their income and expenses and you can work together to stick to your budget.
$4.99 - Download now
EveryDollar is a money tracking app that you have complete control over. This is the best kind of app for people that really need to be aware of their spending at every moment. You can start with your monthly income. Then include a budget of how much you want to spend for the month. Finally, input every dollar you spend every single day to track your finances. The thing I like most about EveryDollar is that I can control where my itemized spending goes, instead of it automatically going into the wrong category.
- Free - Download now
What personal finance apps do you use to keep your New Year's resolution? Why do they work so well for you?
Updated December 2016.