Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Apps to help you budget for holiday spending. But it's still up to you

 "What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money: a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer." - Ebenezer Scrooge in "The Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens. 


Remember the old days when we used paper envelopes to budget our spending? One envelope for paying the basic bills, another envelope for meals out and another for Christmas gift spending.

Now technology is making it easy to manage your spending with an app or two on your smart phone.

Pulling out the credit cards for a holiday gift buying splurge is painless. The pain comes in January when you get the bill.  Apps on your smart phone linked to your credit cards and bank will automatically update and categorize your spending.

Best of all, some will tell you when you’ve reached your spending limit by category and/or how much you can spend and still stay within your budget limits. Some apps customize the way you manage your money by pulling transaction data. Others ask you to input your spending, manually.

At least two apps -- Acorns and StashInvest --- will help you save by rounding up the spare change from your purchases and putting it into an investment/savings account. For example, if you make a purchase costing $9.45. These apps will round up the transaction to $10, and put the extra 55 cents in savings for you. Painless, right? 

Below are some of the MOST POPULAR FREE APPs that will help you get on track with your holiday budgeting, with savings and spending. Just keep in mind that it still takes discipline to do this. It you tend to blow your budget, no app will prevent that. Just make a commitment, use the apps as reminders. 

MINT.com  https://www.mint.com/https://www.mint.com/

This may be the most popular. Track and pay bills. Easy budgeting, alerts and advice, investment tracking, top security.

WALLABY -- https://www.walla.by/  Tells you what credit cards to use for the best savings, lowest fees.

DOLLARBIRD   https://dollarbird.co/  Manual input. Helps you budget.

FUDGET   www.fudget.com

Simple budgeting, one-tap adding and editing.

GOODBUDGET  -- https://goodbudget.com/  Creates envelope budgeting. Spend only from designated categories. Helps keep you accountable.


LEARNVEST  www.learnvest.com  -- Categorizes transactions. Track goals

PERSONALCAPITAL ---www.personalcapital.com  Manages your entire financial life.  Track your net worth. Investments.

MVELOPES.COM -- Uses envelope budgeting with the latest technology. Helps you make better financial decisions. Syncs with bank accounts, credit cards and other financial accounts. Real time budgeting.

PENNYAPP.IO -- Keeps tabs by sending you text messages.  Your personal financial coach.  Spend smarter. Save more.

According to Forbes magazine, spending is “highly individual” with expenses the result of many individual decisions that might seem inconsequential at the time. For example, the major you choose in college, jobs you take, your spending and saving habits. The clothes you buy. Grocery shopping.

These apps are here to help you set guidelines, remind you of your long-term strategy for saving and spending, building a retirement nest egg. But it's still up to you. 


"Best apps to manage your money," Business Insider, click here.


"10 Smartphone Apps to Boost Your Budget," - USNEWS, click here. 

The 6 Best Budgeting Apps,"  - Digital Trends, click here.


"Tech that will change your life in 2017" WSJ - click here.


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