budgeting, goals, money saving tips

It’s a new year and there’s no better time to get your finances together than right now.  Learning how to manage your money is not always easy and to some, it’s downright impossible. I was exactly where you are.  I was living paycheck to paycheck, always stressed about money.  I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be able to cover unexpected emergencies and wanted to stop that dreadful cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Thankfully, I was able to make great progress on my money habits before I got married.  I rolled up my sleeves, started tracking my expenses, paid off some debt, and started saving some money. Yes, all at the same time.  The best feeling came from having money in my savings to cover any unexpected expenses that came along.  Because I was able to have my debt-free dream wedding because I took control of my finances.

This year, my husband and I set a goal to purchase a home in September which meant we had to rework our current financial plan.  We reworked some numbers and figured out a way to hopefully make this happen.  Getting started may seem a little daunting but there some great budgeting tools to help you ease the pain of creating a budget.  I love tracking our progress on paper,  but I know many of you prefer an electronic option.  So, I’ve rounded up the best budgeting apps to help you manage your money in 2018.

  1. Every Dollar: Created by money guru Dave Ramsey, this app supports his “cash only” and “zero-based budget” teachings.  The basic plan, which allows you to set up your budget, is free; you can upgrade your current account for $99 a year which breaks down to $8.25 per month.  I recommend the free version because $99.00 is still $99.00.
  2. Mint: One of my favorites because it links all your accounts, allowing you to pay your bills, schedule payments, track your expenses, and more.  You can even get notifications sent directly to your phone.  I think my favorite feature is the apps ability to track the progress of your net worth! Check it out now.
  3. You Need a Budget. Commonly known as YNAB, this app is great for the budgeting newbie and anyone else who wants to meet their financial goals. Although there’s a fee, it’s totally worth it.  The money you’re going to save will outweigh the fee.  The app tracks down to the penny which helps with savings and more.  Try it free for a month and your finances will never be the same.
  4. Personal Capital: Similar to Mint (free as well), this app comes with a few extra perks. If you want an app that has an investment option, this app is for you.  It gives you an entire picture of where you are financially.  It also offers charts and grafts for those of you who are visual learners.
  5. Good Budget: this is fairly new to me so I tried it for a month.  The free version is fairly simple to use. Good Budget is the electronic version of the envelope system.  Choose from pre-labeled options or make your own.  You can use regular envelopes for “regular” expenses, food, gas, utilities, etc. and add more for savings, vacation, and other expenses.  You can also add transactions that would be subtracted from your electronic envelope.  This budget apps offers both a free and paid version.
  6. Wally: A budget app that you can log and track your budget categories, Wally lets you manually enter all your expenses.  It’s great for folks who are leery of linking their bank accounts.  You can track or log your starting amount, how much you spent, and what’s leftover from each category.
  7. Mvelopes: This app is the virtual version of the envelope system. Although it isn’t free, it’s worth the $4 monthly fee for the basic plan.  If you really want to splurge, you can opt for a plan that comes with a financial coach and monthly check-ins.
  8. Credit Karma: Not your typical budget app, Credit Karma helps you budget by offering access to your Transusion and Experian credit reports. It also provides you with product options that help you negotiate better rates on your debt such as credit card offers and auto loans.
  9. Acorns: This is also a favorite of mine.  It helps you invest your money using your spare change. Now, how cool is that?!  Your purchases are rounded up to the next dollar, the difference is then invested. This is a simple and easy way to save more cash.  Free for college students for four years, this is a handy app for anyone who wants to get into the investing game.  The best part is you won’t miss the money leaving your account.

Again these are my favorite apps for 2018.  If you are serious about getting your financial house in order, these apps are for you.  To do better is to know better.  Make 2018 your best financial year ever by choosing the app that fits your money personality.  Did I leave off any that list?  What are your favorite apps to use?