- A budget app can be a great way to help achieve your financial goals.
- There are different types of budget apps, which work differently.
- We outline what budget apps do and how to identify the right budget app for you.
Many people use budget apps on the go.
Budgets can fail because we fail to keep tabs on our spending. We start with the best of intentions but don’t have a system to see where our money is going. We may write extensive plans for our money, but change only comes if you can action and stick to that plan.
A budget app can help automate behaviour change.
There are some great examples of budget apps and it’s important to look at the variety of options out there to find what works for you. We say this because research indicates that budgeting apps can drive you to overspend, particularly if you can see the amount of money to spend in your budgets and see this as an opportunity to spend it all.
However, the right budgeting app can work wonders, with gamification making budgeting more exciting than traditional methods. To help you find the right budget app, here are some questions you need to ask yourself.
Questions to ask to find the right budget app for you:
1. Do you want to pay for it?
You can get many free budget apps that allow you to update your spending on the go manually. However, it might be worth upgrading to a paid version with more features. A great way to test this is to try both the free and paid versions of an app to see whether you derive value from the additional features a paid version offers.
2. Are you the only person using the budget?
If you’ve combined money with your partner, you may want to budget together. A joint budget requires both of you to have access to the app you choose and to both see how you’re tracking against the budget. This feature will also be helpful if you have joint savings goals like buying a house together if you’ve been together for several years and know enough about them to make that kind of long-term commitment.
3. Do you want your budget to talk to your bank account?
A lot of budget apps are used to help you work towards a defined savings goal. However, some apps also enable you to sync up your bank account, which means you see the money in your account through the app. You can move money around your accounts as needed, check your balance in real-time and see where your money is going more broadly.
4. What type of budget method do you want to use?
All apps use different types of budgeting methods to organise your money. Popular methods include categorisation or labelling your spending with specific categories. Budget categories can be useful if you want to cut down on your grocery bills and monitor how much you’re spending on this particular category. On the other hand, you might prefer the zero-budget method, which gives every dollar in your budget a job and allocates it to different items, so you don’t have money to blow on things you don’t need.
5. Do you want responsive customer service?
If you experience technical issues when using your budget, you may want to access a customer service team to help you get it working. Think about whether you want a customer service chat function 24/7 that can respond to your issues as soon as they happen or whether you don’t mind reading from a prepared FAQ response list. The detailed reviews an app receives often reveals what you’re likely to experience in terms of customer service.
The right budget app for you will be one you use and stick to.
A budget app is ultimately a behaviour change tool. Ask yourself what you’re looking for from a budget app and try different options to find the one that suits your needs.