While I contend that the personal finance and budgeting service, Mint.com is the best and easiest way to keep track of your money and credit transactions, I realize that not everyone feels comfortable downloading their finances to a website, and that the service is only available in the US and Canada.
Nevertheless, no matter what your income, you should always track how and where you’re spending your money. And if you have an iPhone there are several free finance apps that can easily remind you if you’re spending within or beyond your means.
The Mind Your Money app may not be the most attractive app to look at and use, but it has several reporting features for not only keeping track of your banking, credit and debit card transactions, but for also setting up and tracking your budget, and reviewing your average daily spending. Transactions can be manually entered in just three taps.
The Pro version ($2.99) of this app allows you to export and customize your categories.
LohasMoney is a much better designed personal finance app that includes several dozens features and capabilities for users with more advance needs. LohasMoney allows you customize and add all types of recurring information. You can build a list of your frequently used vendors so you don’t have to retype their name for each transaction. If you travel a lot, the app also includes a currency exchange calculator.
If you’re paying off debt, LohasMoney helps you keep track of your payment installments, and you can also select the type of expenditure you’re recording – e.g. personal, business, or custom. The app’s calculator even enters the decimal point for you, which saves one less tap.
You can also add up to two accounts in the Lite version of LohasMoney. The full paid version ($2.99) allows for unlimited accounts.
The user interface allows you to view expenditures in calendar as well as list view, and it also provides a graphical input of your income and expenses.
If you prefer a similar checkbook-like app, Ace Budget 2 might be a good choice. The Ace Budget 2 Lite version allows for 20 transactions to test it out. If it fits your needs the full version is only .99 cents, and is universal binary, which means it’s optimized for all iOS devices – even retina display— and you only have to pay for it one time.
Ace Budget has a simple interface and good basic features for keeping track of income and expenses. You can set reminders for scheduled and recurring transactions, and as you type it will show previously entered descriptions for you to select from.
Ace Budget also has passcode protection, budget reporting and exporting of data, and the ability to backup data to your computer.
Ace Budget is set up primarily for setting up and monitoring your weekly or monthly budget. After you create categories for say fast-food, entertainment, groceries, gas, etc, you simply select a budget and add your transactions. A colored coded progress bar and your actual dollar amounts remaining for individual budgeted items are shown.
Each budget category can be assigned a unique icon. And at the end of each cycle you can go back and review your spending patterns in order to plan better for the next month.
These types of digital apps replace the old paper checkbook accounting and envelope budgeting system, and if used correctly are more efficient. All you have to do is take less than 30 seconds to enter a transaction, and review your budgets on a weekly basis. Used regularly, a personal finance and budgeting app can actually save you money over time.
Let us know what you think of these or similar budgeting apps. For other budgeting ideas, check out these articles.
- How To Use Mint To Manage Your Budget & Spendings Online
- The 3 Best Free Personal Finance Managers For iPhone
- 5 Personal Finance Sites That Will Help Get You In Shape