So here’s a new one. With all of my talk of budgeting and the many financial concerns of my friends and those of my own family – one area I have yet to explore is the idea of using specifically designed budgeting tools and/or software to help save money.
So what is this budgeting technology exactly? Well basically these are programs that you can purchase or download for free (in some cases) that can help you track your spending and help you manage your cash flow.
Some of these budgeting tools come in the form of free or paid apps that you can download directly onto your phone, as well as having a personal computer function. The obvious benefits that these can bring are that they are fairly inexpensive – in some cases the most you are likely to pay for an iphone budgeting app, for example is about $2.99. The other major advantage of these types of resources are that you can use them while on the go.
If you do want to have access to more comprehensive budgeting resources that perhaps you will use from either your home computer or laptop, in addition to your mobile device, here are a couple of top picks that I’ve come across as potential budgeting options.
One of the software programs, currently on the market is YNAB, otherwise known as YOU NEED A BUDGET. This software can be purchased for $60.00 USD and they also offer a trial demo for 34 days free of charge. This popular budgeting app can also sync between your mobile and your desktop. A feature of the latest updated model is that it is highly organized and is designed to help you manage your cash flow more efficiently. Another bonus of this program is the teaching component. The YNAB program teaches you how to budget more effectively as you go. This app is also compatible with Kindle and Android as well as iPhone.
Some of the areas not included in this program are investment support, planners for financial goals, such as retirement and post-secondary education or debt-relief planning options. Overall though, if you do want to start with a budgeting planner, this one appears to be quite sufficient in helping you save, focusing all of its attention to the budging feature.
Quicken Personal Finance software is another popular budgeting program that helps you track your cash flow with regards to various financial areas, including home and business options. Compared to YNAB, the cost of this program works out to be about $50.00 CAD. Through this program you can set financial goals and prioritize your saving. You can also access your online banking through the web connect feature. You can download your bank and credit card transactions directly to the Quicken program, create a budget as well as learn how to reduce your debt, moving forward using more effective financial management strategies. After downloading to your PC, you can also sync this program to your mobile phone or tablet and visualize your budget wherever you are.
While the program at a glance may not appear to have a layout that is as organized as the first option, it does seem to offer a highly versatile and well-rounded budgeting and financial planning program.
By reading consumer reviews on some of these programs, as well as searching through the sites themselves, I was able to get a better idea of how they work as well as the pros and cons of each. If there are some you have heard of or have been referred to by a friend, my suggestion is to also do a little bit of research of you own to find out if it is the right financial tool for you, based on what specific features you are looking for. While these tools do also seem to be effective means of helping with various saving efforts, you will want to decide for yourself if it is something you want to invest in.
I think I will start with the free app on my phone and go from there. I do want to budget smarter so I need to start somewhere. If I do decide to purchase another budgeting software tool, it is good to know there are many options on the market that are aligned with my budgeting needs and financial goals.
Good luck with your budgeting plan and with whichever avenue you choice to explore.