At least since the economic crisis of 2008, times have been harder financially than many have ever experienced. The looming specter of unemployment and a steadily increasing cost of living have made getting spending under control an overriding concern for just about everyone. But, that's easier said than done — the increasingly cashless society we’re living in makes it easy to spend what we have without realizing how little may be left afterward.
Keep reading to learn three ways you can use technology to keep your budget under control and make sure you’re never short of funds when it matters most.
Mint by Intuit
Intuit’s Mint app (Android and iOS) can help you set a budget, track all expenses and even reach your financial goals. Use Mint to easily see what you're spending or saving with color-coded charts, lists and graphs. Additionally, you’re able to track both bank account and credit card balances in real-time, follow your 401k contributions and other investments and even categorize all your expenditures however you like.
Mint keeps you up-to-date by sending you an alert when it’s time to pay a bill or if you've overspent that month. Use Mint to find out your credit score (for free) and export spreadsheets. A fantastic feature of this app is that you can receive a weekly email summary of your funds, along with a spending and income history and the app tracks your net worth over time.
LearnVest (iOS only) is a budgeting app that can give you the big picture view of your finances, including expense tracking and spending. For a fee, you can also plus connect to a LearnVest Planning expert for premium service.
LearnVest and Mint function similarly in that both offer a convenient way to keep track of your finances from one dashboard. Being aware of where your hard-earned cash is going is a big step to getting spending under control. Both of these apps are excellent tools for that purpose.
LearnVest will help you set goals and use alerts and emails to keep you on track to reach them. Whether you’re socking it away for your old age or budgeting to pay down debts, LearnVest can help you achieve your goals by guiding you in putting together a plan.
The Right Phone
Neither Mint nor LearnVest will do you any good on an old smartphone — these apps shine when they’re installed on a mobile device with some serious processor speed and screen real estate.
For example, the Apple iPhone 6S's pixel density in the expansive 4.7-inch LCD screen is so densely packed you’ll probably never notice them. The screen is larger than before, giving you more space to type, look at images, read, use your apps, yet is small enough that it can be used one-handed. Just double touch the Home button to drop the entire screen halfway down, making every menu easily reachable.
The Galaxy Note8 is the choice for Android diehards. It has the gargantuan 6.3-inch Infinity Display, 6GB of RAM for lightning speed and two incredible rear cameras.
Unfortunately, all that adds up to one of the most expensive smartphones you’ll find. But, it’s the best big phone available, if you don’t mind making calls from what’s actually a small tablet computer. Whichever you choose, running a budgeting app will be a breeze.