Achieving your financial goals requires having a plan in place, but it’s much easier if you have the right tools to help you out along the way.
“Establishing a working household budget is an essential part of keeping debt load manageable, keeping cash flow healthy and building up savings. It can be hard to stay within your budget in your daily living, especially if you aren’t organized and planning ahead,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“That is why taking advantage of convenient budget apps might make the difference between you sticking to your budget or not,” says Schwartz.
Here are some free (or low-cost) budget apps that can help you to stay organized and on top of your finances.
Mint.com is one of the most popular money management apps in Canada. One of its great benefits is that it lets you centralize all of your bank accounts in one place. You can easily create a budget, categorize and track your spending and account activity. It monitors your budget and suggests areas that you can be saving more money. Mint.com updates information daily, so you’ve always got the most current activity.
Mint.com also offers an alert system that will let you know if there is unusual activity on your account or let you know if you are in danger of overspending based on your set budget.
Every savvy shopper knows the value of menu planning and scanning flyers for what’s on sale in order to get the most out of your grocery budget. However, collecting and sorting through flyers can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Flipp is an app that takes a lot of the legwork out of the process for you.
Flipp gathers all of your local flyers in one place for you and helps you to search for specific items, as well as just “what’s on sale.” It also presents coupons for over 100 brands and has an “ultimate shopping list” feature, which automatically matches the best deal in your area with the item on your list.
Another important part of budgeting is tracking your spending. This lets you determine if your budget categories and spending targets are realistic. However, if you’ve got shoeboxes of receipts stashed at home, that is a job that may be easier said than done.
Wally has a nice receipt tracking feature that lets you take a picture of a receipt and then the app grabs all the pertinent information and populates your budget automatically with it. If you are really keen to adjust your spending, you’ll like Wally’s GPS feature that lets you see where (physically) you are spending your money. This app is popular as well because there is very little data entry involved.
Learning how to budget is an essential tool for responsible money management. It can help you find a way to pay down your existing debt and live a debt-free life going forward. Our trained credit counselors can help you learn about the benefits of budgeting. Call us at [PHONE_NUMBER] or get started with our free online debt analysis .