We live in a world where technology makes it possible for you to get a little help with your finances from web apps. Budgeting tools — apps and Websites — can help you keep track of where your money is right now, as well as help you recognize trends in your spending so that you can identify problems and make changes.
Below are some of the most popular budgeting tools. Consider your personal financial style and choose an app that works well with your individual money needs.
If you are really into the investment component of your finances, Personal Capital offers you the chance to manage your finances and make better investment decisions. You can track your other accounts, but Personal Capital shines by pulling in your investment account information and analyzing.
Personal Capital can help you put together a long-term investing plan in a way that Mint can’t compete with, and that LearnVest requires payment for. You can use the fee analyzer to see if you are getting the most efficient use of your money, and you can also use get help with asset allocation. This budgeting app is more about planning and the future, and can help you put together a retirement investment plan that can benefit you for years to come.
Personal Capital is free, but you can choose to pay for premium services if you want them.
While Mint offers the ability to track your investments, it falls short in terms of offering insights and advice about what you should do next. LearnVest makes up for this. Originally, LearnVest was aimed at women, but now it’s aimed at everyone.
LearnVest allows you to plan your finances, and helps you track your transactions. You can also use LearnVest to keep up with your investments, and get helpful hints on how to proceed. LearnVest adds a personal touch to budgeting, and takes it to the next level, with its educational tools. You can pay for premium services which help you put together a five-year plan, and you can access “boot camps” that teach you the basics of money management and investing.
Use the free Financial Checkup to see exactly where you stand with your money, and see where you need to go next.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
One of the more popular budgeting apps in recent years is YNAB. This app works on the zero-based budgeting principle. YNAB helps you take your regular income and give every dollar a job. One of the nice things about YNAB is that you can manage your cash flow, by figuring out the timing for your income, and coordinating it with your expenses.
YNAB syncs between your desktop and your mobile device, and allows you to enter transactions on your mobile device in real time. YNAB places priority on your involvement with your money, helping you manage things in a way that is very “hands on” when you compare it to Mint. YNAB requires a purchase of the app.
One of the most well-known budgeting apps is Mint. The company was bought by Intuit a few years ago, and as a result it’s no surprise that Quicken looks a lot like Mint now.
Mint connects to your bank accounts and keeps track of your transactions. At any given time, it’s possible to take a look at where you stand. The mobile app means that you don’t need to be at home to look at your finances.
Mint is known for its easy-to-read and visually attractive graphs. You can easily see where your money is going. You can incorporate credit card accounts, other loan accounts, and even track your investments. Additionally, Mint makes it easy to compare fees you might be paying and look for savings in your budget. You can also set up reminders and alerts to keep you on top of bill pay and warn you if account balances fall below certain levels.
Any account can be added to HelloWallet, and it will help you track your net worth and your spending. One of the cool things about HelloWallet is that you can enter an asset — such as a valuable piece of art — and it will include that information in calculations. While you can’t pay your bills from this app, you can set up a variety of reminders to help you stay on top of any situation that involves money.
You can also receive daily guidance about what to do with your money, based on your net worth and your spending habits. This is quasi-tailored to you, based on the habits of others in your peer group. Plus, you can also add a layer of categorization to your spending, based on your feelings about the expenditure. You will pay a monthly fee to use HelloWallet, but it can be useful if you want a little more nuanced experience with your money.
BillGuard is more of a supplement to your budgeting apps. BillGuard tracks your spending and compares you to other consumers. It also analyzes your spending and presents you with opportunities to save money. The coolest thing about BillGuard, though, is the way it helps you identify third-party charges and recurring charges that you might not realize you are still paying. With the knowledge from BillGuard, you can address billing problems and save money each month. BillGuard even lets you resolve billing problems by connecting you to merchants and retailers.
As you might gather from the name, this app takes the old “envelope” system of budgeting and makes it compatible with technology. However, you will pay for the service each quarter or year. With Mvelopes, you can see your past spending with the help of linked accounts, and then assign future money to “mvelopes” that help you stick to a budget. As with YNAB, you can’t track investments. You also can’t track your credit cards with Mvelopes.
If you are looking for something that reminds you of how Quicken used to be, Money Dance can be a good choice. You’ll pay for the software, but it has a number of features. The display looks like a ledger, and you can automatically add recurring transactions, create charts and graphs to visually represent your spending, and project your finances. Money Dance has a homepage that quickly summarizes your financial situation, including assets and liabilities, and your net worth.
You can also track your investments, and there is functionality for multiple currencies. Money Dance is also compatible with the idea of reconciling your bank statements. If you wish that Quicken 2005 was still a Thing, Money Dance is probably right for you.