You can't manage your money if you don't know where it is going. You need a budget. If the thought of creating a budget gives you a panic attack, try one of these mobile apps. They can help take the pain out of budgeting. Best of all, they're free! Here are the top 4 budgeting apps that can help you.
Mint is a free app from Intuit -- the same company that makes QuickBooks and TurboTax. It is the most popular of all the personal finance and budgeting apps because it lets you connect all your bank and credit card accounts to Mint. That means you can see all your finances in one place.
Mint allows you to create a budget, track spending, and receive alerts. It can remind you when bills are due, what you owe and what you can pay (based on your available funds in the accounts linked to Mint). The app can show your real-time credit score. It does have a basic investment feature if you want to track any investment accounts. Mint has recently added MintBills, which lets you pay bills directly from the application.
Great for getting a look at all your finances in one place.
PocketGuard is one of the newer budgeting apps that is very user-friendly. To use PocketGuard, you link all your accounts -- investments, loans, checking, and savings. Based on account information PocketGuard creates a tentative budget, suggests a savings goal, and displays what you have left to spend.
You will have to tag which transactions are income, which isn't a problem if you have a steady, recurring income. If you have an irregular income, you may find the income tagging tedious. You must have a savings account to attach to your savings goal. PocketGuard does not provide an investment feature aside from linking accounts.
Great for knowing how much discretionary income you have to spend.
Prism is another free budgeting application. You download the app, add your bills, and set up your accounts. Once set up, you can pay bills direct from the application.
The app reminds you when bills are due and checks your accounts to make sure you have enough money. Because Prism is focused on bill payment to minimizing late and overdraft fees, the app displays all bill information in one place. You can see what bills are due in the next week, two weeks or month. The available funds are based on linked accounts.
Great for anyone wanting to track bills in one place.
Personal Capital can help with day-to-day financial activities such as budgeting, but its focus is on retirement savings. If transaction-based apps have not worked for you, Personal Capital may be a better choice. It allows for more flexibility in income tracking and accommodates unusual spending habits.
Because the app is focused on savings and investments, its opening screen displays your net worth, your cash value, and whether your net worth is rising or falling. It will show your income sources and spending trends. The app displays where most of your money is being spent.
Great for anyone needing more flexible budgeting.
Finding the best budgeting application depends on what you are most interested in tracking. Are you more concerned about your spending or your savings? With so many apps out there, take the time to find one that works for you. Since most applications are free, a little trial-and-error won't cost you. Be sure you find the best budgeting app that works for you. If you don't, you won't use it, and your attempts at budgeting will not be successful.