In our earlier articles about securing a financial future we discussed the concept of paying yourself first and how to create an effective budget. The steps don’t stop there though. Following through on your planned budget is very important because it is where all the execution happens on what you laid out.
Following through on how closely you adhered to your battle plan can only be done if you’re measuring properly. So it is extremely essential that you track down anything and everything related to your budget. This includes the income you’ve received, both the one that you budgeted for as “sure” income and for any other income that came in variably like a bonus or money owed to you that was paid. It also includes the expenses that you incur every single day within your budget period.
Another essential reason why tracking your budget is extremely important is because your spending habits and your income will be taken into consideration for the next period’s budget. Budgets are not made in stone and there is always room for improvement, whether that would mean cutting spending on something or putting out a bit more money on an essential component. The only way to arrive at that conclusion would be by looking back at how you did versus the actual plan you put together.
Tracking your budget can be extremely as simple as jotting down your expenses on a sheet of paper. But with today’s innovations and gadgets you can also track it down on something you carry with you all the time, your smartphone. Here are a few smartphone apps that can help you keep track and analyze everything related to your budget.
GoodBudget is more than just an app to keep track of your budget. It uses the envelop system but on a digital framework. The app allows you to track expenses not only on your device but also on your significant others’ device as well. This integrates that essential component of communication into the system. The app is available for free which allows limited features. A monthly subscription is also available at $15 for 3 months and $24 for 6 months.
HomeBudget is an app that contains the simplicity of tracking your expenses and categorizing them accordingly. The app allows synchronization between devices to automatically come up with a combined household budget. The app is a bit more technical, which may be what some people may be looking for. It allows more manual control and once set up works very nicely to what your preference would be. The app costs $5.99 for iOS devices and Android gadgets, $19.99 on MacOS and $14.99 on Windows.
This app is as helpful as the Pixar character of the same name. Wally is a beautiful budget tracking packed with features. It allows you to manually enter an expense and it also has the cool feature of taking a picture of your receipt to track that down. If location services is enabled on your device it can also track down where you incurred that cost, which is a nifty feature. Wally is free and works for both Android and iOS devices.
Level Money takes tracking your progress to the next level by going beyond just tracking your expenses. This app provides you with how much you can spend today, in the upcoming week or to whatever overview you want it to provide. It can also integrate with your bank account to show you how you can save up for a big purchase or to repay debt. The app is free for both Android and iOS devices.
The principle behind BUDGT best matches our plan on how to free yourself from financial burdens. After inputting your income and your recurring expenses the app then provides you with how much left at your disposal. It then tracks your daily expenses and can even provide a projection of how much money you’ll have left at the end of the month. All of those features are available for only $1.99 for iOS devices, which in itself doesn’t break the budget.
While the apps listed are extremely helpful and can save you a ton of time, remember that your budgeting exercise is not limited to having these apps. So don’t go busting out and including purchasing an expensive gadget and these apps on your next budget run unless you can truly afford it. Keep that discipline and consider yourself another step closer to that financial future we dream of.