Submitted by Rachel R on Tue, 09/30/2014 - 12:15pm
Money apps can help you deal with finances on the go
Image source: Flick User Intel Free Press
Let's face it, not everyone has stellar money management skills. When clients come in to see us because they're struggling with money problems, there is usually an underlying cause and the financial problems are the symptoms. Sometimes it's an illness or job loss, other times it's divorce. But once money gets tight, it's hard to make smart decisions because of the stress of being cash-strapped. Today we'll take a look at some apps that can help you wrap your head around making better better money decisions whether you're pre-bankruptcy and still struggling or post-bankruptcy and getting back on your feet financially.
This is a cool new app that comes along with a pre-paid debit card that's totally free and linked to your existing bank account. You can get a card for you and your spouse or partner as well. From there, you use OnBudget for one month so it monitors your income and spending habits to set up your starting budget. You have to load money from your bank account to your card. This limits your spending.
The app shows you your spending habits so you can see where your money is going and where the problems are. From there, you get free access to Budget Advisors that will help you get your spending on track. This is a great tool for those whose head swims looking at spreadsheets with numbers and prefer simple visuals. It shows you spending by category and by person so you can adjust behavior as needed.
We've recommended the envelope budget system before and this app essentially does this for you but virtually without the paper cuts. This app is designed to allow you to share your virtual envelopes with your spouse or spending partner so neither of you goes over budget and you can both see how slim the money is getting in a certain category so you can take steps to curb spending ASAP.
The only downside is that Better Haves is not available for iPhones yet but you can get it on your tablet on GooglePlay if you're an iPhone user. You set up your categories and your budgeted amounts in each folder. When you spend in a category, you note it and it depletes that amount. You can both see what you're spending. You can also see your savings goals and how much you're progressing toward each goal. The app is free but has a few bugs that they are updating constantly. It's simple and effective.
The Check app was designed by top-notch software firm Intuit. It watches all of your money all the time for you. It will monitor your bank accounts, credit cards and bills. It's like your own personal Big Brother for your money. When you get low on cash, it lets you know. When a bill is due, it lets you know. This helps you avoid late charges, disconnect fees and other bad consequences of missing bills.
You can also pay the bills directly from the app for no fee. Once you set up access, you can login to the app with a PIN rather than logging in to all your separate accounts to monitor them. This is a huge time saver. You can glance at your accounts as often as you want or wait for Check to notify you when there's an issue. This is an app that offers peace of mind, but doesn't really help with your budgeting.
An approach to consider is to try out OnBudget or BetterHaves to see which you like to help you develop or improve your budgeting skills and then use Check as well as a safeguard. All of the apps are free and can help you manage your money much more effectively. And if your bills are spiraling out of control and your income simply won't allow you to cover them, contact the law offices of John T Orcutt for a free consultation on meaningful debt relief solution.
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