Using Technology to Keep Track of Your Budget *Guest Post*
Using Technology to Keep Track of Your Budget
By: Maurine Anderson
Keeping track of personal finances can be difficult, and very few of us can rely on simply balancing a checkbook these days. Fortunately, there are a great many ways that mobile technology can help you keep track of your budget. Here is a look at some of the most convenient options you have at your disposal for keeping track of personal finances.
Mobile banking app
If you haven’t yet, go ahead and download the mobile app for your bank or credit union. It’s probably the simplest way to keep track of your finances, and you can log into the app as many times as you like throughout the day to see how much money is currently in your checking or savings account. Your mobile banking app will typically also let you view your transaction history, transfer money between accounts, pay bills, and even deposit checks using your phone’s camera. You can also conveniently get important information about your accounts such as your bank account number and routing number.
Mint.com is perhaps the most popular site for managing personal finances, so it deserves a rightful place near the top of this list. And with the site there are accompanying mobile and tablet apps. With Mint, you can link all of your banking accounts, cards, investment accounts, and bills in one place for easy viewing. You can create budgets, find new ways to save, track investments, and more. The app will even make recommendations on how you can save more money based on your personal finances and goals.
You Need a Budget (YNAB) or Every Dollar
Are you a fan of the old school “envelope” method for budgeting, where you keep set amounts of cash in different envelopes labeled for different types of expenses (“rent,” “bills,” “subscriptions,” “eating out,” etc.)? If so, YNAB and Every Dollar are great apps for you. These apps run on the financial principle of giving every dollar a job. They let you create digital budgeting envelopes and see how your money is being allocated every month. Each app has its advantages, so consider trying out both apps and deciding on the best one for you if you are a fan of the envelope budgeting system.
If you’ve mastered tracking income and expenses and want to venture more into the world of investments, Personal Capital is an app you should consider trying. You can do typical things like budget and track monthly expenses with Personal Capital, but the real focus with Personal Capital is on investments. This app will analyze brokerage accounts, let you know when it’s time to sell stock, and help you diversify your investments. The app also features a retirement planner and 401(k) Fee Analyzer, which let you make smart financial decisions for the future and let you know if you are on track with your savings goals.
Some people prefer to create their own interface for budgeting and tracking income and expenses. That’s where online spreadsheets come in. Through Office 360 or Google Sheets, you can create spreadsheets online and customize them 100 percent to your liking. And because these programs now have mobile apps to go along with them, you can view your spreadsheets from anywhere and everywhere. One thing that’s particularly advantageous about spreadsheets is that you can make predictions about your income and expenses using formulas. If you have a column labeled “monthly expenses,” for example, and use a sum formula such as =SUM(A2:A7) to add up your typical monthly expenses, you can manipulate the numbers in your monthly expenses column to see how increasing or decreasing a particular expense would affect your overall budget. This is helpful when you are looking for ways to cut expenses or when you are considering increasing a portion of your monthly expenses.
If you run a small business, your personal finances can easily become more complicated than those of the average individual. But as this article explains, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can be the perfect solution for an entrepreneur who needs to keep track of revenue and expenses. It’s customizable and can ultimately help you manage every aspect of business operations. ERP software makes it easy to do things like track inventory, manage customer data, and generate reports, all while keeping track of your finances for budgeting and tax purposes.