Keeping an eye on your spending habits can be one of the safest ways to stay out of debt, and we all know that prevention is better than cure. If you are suffering from debt, keeping a track of your budget – and sticking to it – is essential in order to avoid the spiral of debt that could end up costing you a lot more than you originally intended.
Are there any apps and gadgets that can help you manage your finances?
Many of us will keep some sort of budgeting system, whether it’s a traditional pen and paper job or something more technological – even using a custom spreadsheet on your home computer can be one of the simplest and most successful ways to keep track of your household budget. But when are we most likely to spend money? When we’re out and about, of course! Having a spreadsheet or accounts book at home is all well and good but having access to your personal budget while you’re on the move is even better.
Aside from signing up to the relevant mobile banking services from your personal bank, you should also investigate the range of mobile apps on the market for keeping track of your personal budget. If you’re one of those keen Apple fans who recently managed to get their hands on a brand new iPhone 6, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a host of useful home budget applications available to download for the iPhone.
Best budget management apps
1) If you’re a student, opt for the My Student Budget Planner, a simple and easy-to-use little app that keeps track of the most essential components of any student’s finance: loans, grants, wages, savings and outgoings.
While not the most complex application, it allows you to organise yourself with a weekly budget (great if you work part-time or are paid weekly) and rapidly update your budget with outgoings. You can also see your expenditure and budget for a total yearly period – again, great for students who work on a slightly different timetable to regular workers.
2) For those wanting something fairly simple to keep track on their budget whilst out, rather than a fully comprehensive budget application, the Budget Me Free application is excellent. Presenting your information in a clear visual format, you set your monthly budgets for a variety of expenses (including groceries, eating out, and utilities) and input expenditure as you go along.
You’re then presented with a range of overall expenditures – including a useful pie chart showing you what percentages of your total budget you spend on different items. While not allowing for detailed inputting of your spending, this is a good overall tool to use in conjunction with a personal budget at home.
3) In a similar vein to Budget Me Free, the iPhone application simply titled Budget provides you with an easy-to-use budget tracker that presents information in a clear, visual way. As well as providing clear summary information, you can track how much of your salary you’ve spent per month, compare between budgeted and actual expenditure and get a yearly overview.
This is an excellent tool for helping you to plan future budgets, especially as a copy of your inputted transactions can be emailed to yourself or another member of the household.
The most important aspect of any of these budget tracker apps is that you remember to use them. Keeping a close eye on what you spend whilst out and about can be difficult, especially when you’re keeping lots of receipts and bits of paper: this way, all your expenses and incomings can be easily recorded and monitored, helping you to keep on top of your finances without too much stress.