What budgeting apps are out there? Everything you need to know.

By Charlotte Yau
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You may think you know where your money goes, but how about using technology to do it for you? Easy.

Let's face it, many of us are all guilty of not keeping up with managing our money as effectively as we'd like, whether that's because we have many different credit cards, hordes of bills, different bank accounts... the list goes on. Admitted, money management isn't thrilling and can take a load of precious time, but sometimes we just have to bite the bullet - it's one of those things you really can't avoid. From budgeting to keeping your accounts in the black, here are some apps that could help you manage your finances. 

Money Dashboard

A ‘read-only’ application that allows you to view all your current accounts, savings accounts, and credit card accounts, in one place.  It won’t let you move money, but you do have to enter bank log-in details to get in so the software can access your accounts. It also has a built in budget planner which allows you to see what you are safe to spend after all your planned outgoings and planned savings.  It’s a user-friendly interface which gives you an instant view across your finances and it’s free. https://www.moneydashboard.com/

OnTrees

The OnTrees app does a similar job, with attractive colour coding when it breaks down your spend across all accounts into categories. Bought by financial website MoneySuperMarket in 2014, it's a read-only service, which means it cannot be used to move money in or out of accounts and you enter bank log-ins. Free but only available for desktop, iPhone and Apple Watch.

The app lets you view all your bank accounts in one place and see what money is coming in and going out. It splits your spending into categories such as bills, restaurants and groceries, so it's a decent beginning stage to get on top of your accounts.

Goodbudget

Goodbudget is focused not only on what you have spent but on what you intend to spend. It’s based on ‘envelope budgeting’, splitting your income into pots which are earmarked for different things.  You can track your envelope balances, your bank balances, and your expenses. The downside to this in comparison to some other apps is that you have to enter you information manually.  You can sync to another device which can come in handy for budgeting with a partner. There is a free version and a richer version at £3.50 a month.

Wally

This app also offers a ‘360-degree view’ of your money, tracking what comes in, what goes out, what you have saved and what you have budgeted. It also works with your smartphone’s GPS location services to record where you are spending your money. You can also photograph your receipts and upload them, to archive your expenses. There are alerts to remind you of due payments and to pat you on the back when a savings target is reached. Again one of the main flaws is that you have to input all the data yourself as opposed to having it automatically linked to your accounts. Free on Apple and Android phones only.

Loot

Loot is different to most money management apps, in that it's linked to a prepaid Mastercard. You load the card with money on your smartphone or desktop and it has all the functions of a normal debit account. The app allows you to budget where you spend your money, create saving plans and tracks where you spend your money. Colorful graphs show the clear breakdown between the different categories of spending, saving and budgeting. Other benefits include alerts tailored to your spending habits that give you tips on where to save money. For example voucher codes for restaurants that you have been to in the past or are similar in cuisine. Or alerts of discounts at stores you have previously spent money in. It also works abroad as a travel currency card, without the normal fees of a debit account. The major disadvantage is that to get use out of all the great functions in the app it's necessary to use the card as your primary debit account. Due for release October 2016 and will be made free.

Home Budget with Sync

Similar to OnTrees and Money Dashboard in that you log into your current account, savings or credit cards and Home Budget's “read only” functionality means you can not move money but  you are able to track spending habits. It also has a built in budget planner and by putting all your financial accounts into one place it allows you to see a clear breakdown of how much you have money. This is indeed a great expense-tracking tool. One of the major highlights is that it can support multiple currencies and automatically carry our currency exchange calculations using the most recent rates.  You can also add photos of receipts and attach it to the expenses on the app. There is a free lite version but the full version costs £3.99.

 

Saving Goals

This app is a stand alone saving app that builds a plan for you to hit a savings target. It allows you to choose the time by which you want to of saved a certain amount or alternative by how much you want to save each month. Each way will give you a breakdown of when you will reach your target, how much you have saved so far and how much you need to continue to put away. The full version costs £0.79 but the providers of Saving Goals also produce other money related apps that include budgeting and spending trackers. These can be bought in a bundle at a reduced price.

Toshl

The Toshl app requires you to input your income and expenditure manually,  it does has nice functions such as allowing you to have expenses as recurring for each month or week. And similar to most other apps has colorful, easy to read graphs to breakdown your expenditure. This allows you to see how much you have left at the of each month end of the month and also gives you the abilitly set spending limits so that you can put a set amount into savings. A free version is available but an advanced Pro version costs £1.49

Top Takeaway

These are just some of the most popular apps out there but there are plenty more with differing functions. The apps are easy to use, have simple to understand breakdowns of your finances and should be useful whether you are trying to track what you spend, requiring help building budgets, tracking multiple accounts or needing help reach your saving goals, there's something for everyone. Knowledge is power and hopefully a better understanding of your financial situation will lead to you making better choices when it comes to both your spending and your saving. If you want to know how you can get the most from your savings - head on over here.

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