Many single mothers use their smartphones every day for all sorts of things. From checking emails to browsing social media to grocery shopping online, there are plenty of tasks to juggle on the go.
However, you may not realise that there are a wealth of apps that you can leverage to help keep your family finances in check too.
Although budgeting may seem like another time-consuming chore, apps have made this task much easier and less stressful. Your financial health can now be controlled literally from the palm of your hand, so why not make the most of it?
Here are some of the best personal finance apps to help budget your spending.
PERSONAL FINANCE APPS TO HELP YOU BUDGET
First on our list of personal finance apps: If you’re looking for an app that will give you a real-time overview of all your finances, then Pocketbook is for you. This app automatically syncs your bank accounts, credit cards and home and car loans to allow you to keep track of every cent that moves in and out of your accounts.
Pocketbook can sort your purchases into categories, so that you can see which areas you might be spending too much in. You can also set a “safe spending limit”, which is your maximum daily or weekly spending amount. If you’re not sure what this amount should be, then the app will calculate it for you! The app even helps you avoid the sting of paying late fees for overdue bills by sending you an alert when your bills are due.
Free version: Yes
Pros: Free, comprehensive financial manager, user-friendly interface
Cons: Takes time to set up, syncing issues, cannot add accounts that are not on the list
You will love this app if: You want a fuss-free way to auto-sync all transactions and manage your finances.
Mint is another app that syncs your accounts, allowing you to monitor your expenditure. You also have the option of manually inputting any cash transactions that you make. This means that jar of loose coins that you use to buy your morning coffee (which can cost you quite a lot over a year) is also factored into your overall budget.
The app’s easy-to-use interface allows you to see which categories you are spending the most in and presents these in neat charts and graphs for you to digest. Mint even allows you to pay your bills through the app and lets you set savings goals. The biggest feature of Mint is its customised financial tips, based on your spending habits, which can help you overcome poor money habits.
Free version: Yes
Pros: Free app, solid budgeting feature with personalised financial advice/recommendations
Cons: Bill pay option discontinued, ads can be annoying
You will love this app if: You are new to budgeting and personal finance.
PocketGuard helps you determine whether you can afford to make certain purchases or not. The app syncs all of your bank accounts and requires you to identify all recurring bills and expenses. This information helps the app predict your ability to make future purchases.
We’ve all felt that moment of panic when your kids have filled the trolley with things that you’re not sure you can afford. PocketGuard tells you how much spending room you have in your pocket so that you have more confidence at the checkout.
Free version: Yes
Cost: $3.99 monthly or $34.99 annually
Pros: Excellent budgeting tool, added features and customer support, track cash transactions with Pocketguard Plus
Cons: Ads and email offers, no technical support via phone
You will love this app if: You want to track both cash and bank transactions.
If you’re a little old school and you like the idea of putting money aside into different envelopes for your groceries or even your energy bills, then give Mvelopes a try. This app translates this cash budgeting process into app form. Mvelopes joins your bank accounts together and groups your spending into different labelled envelopes. You then set limits on your spending for each category.
There’s no reason why you should spend hours at night trying to set up a budget for yourself. Using these apps, you can set up a personal and customised budget in minutes, simply using your smartphone. This means that you can spend less time worrying about money and more quality time with your little ones!
Free version: Yes, 30-day free trial
Cost: From $5.99/month (basic, no trial) to $18.99/mo (Mvelopes Plus, no trial)
Pros: Basic and advanced budgeting tools
Cons: Users report multiple bugs, learning curve can be steep, doesn’t support tracking or management of investment accounts
You will love this app if: You like the envelope system and a simple but full-featured budgeting app.
Personal finance apps to budget your spending (cont.)
Goodbudget is another envelope-based personal finance app that takes the pain out of managing your finances. You can track expenses, savings, cash and spending patterns and make a household budget. It’s a solid app overall, but a big downside is that while it links to your bank account, all it does is let you check the balance. This is great if you don’t like sharing your financial details and you mainly use cash. Not so great for people who rely on credit cards.
Free version: Yes, free for 10 regular and 10 annual envelopes
Cost: $6 per month for unlimited envelopes
Pros: Great cash management app that lets you roll over leftover cash into next month’s envelope
Cons: No option to sync transactions and credit cards even in the paid version
You will love this app if: You’re a fan of the envelope system and use cash most of the time.
YNAB (You Need a Budget)
Last on our list of personal finance apps: If you suck at budgeting, the YNAB (You Need a Budget) app has a good chance of changing your life. YNAB is focused mainly on helping people budget. And for those who already do it, the app teaches you how to budget better. YNAB’s number 1 rule is to “Give Every Dollar a Job,” meaning that each dollar in your budget should have a purpose. This helps restrain overspending while improving discipline. The app itself is easy to use and there are plenty of resources on the YNAB website to help you stick with your budget goals.
Free version: Yes, free to try for 34 days
Cost: $6.99 per month
Pros: Teaches you how to budget better, good customer support, very detailed spending tracker
Cons: No retirement planning or bill payment features
You will love this app if: You want an app that really helps you stick with your financial goals.