Technology can be a force for good when it comes to budgeting and saving. Canadians like you who want to spend money wisely can use apps to keep you on track. With the power of budgeting in the palm of your hand, there’s no excuse for being unable to keep your finances in line. Here are a few budgeting apps Canadians can download right now.
Designed by the financial software company Intuit, the people behind TurboTax, Mint has become the budgeting app that all other budgeting apps are compared with. It has a robust interface that allows you to easily track your spending and savings, and see all your accounts in one place: credit cards, bank accounts and investments. Mint can create an automatic budget, or you can customize it. You can also track your bills and see what is coming up and what might be overdue. Mint can even check your credit score and give you tips on how to can improve it, if necessary. All your data is under 256-bit encryption, and the data exchanged with Mint is encrypted with 128-bit SSL.
Mylo is an app with investment at the top of mind. Mylo’s main feature is rounding up all your purchases to the nearest dollar, and investing that money in exchange traded funds previously chosen by you. By making these micro investments, you won’t feel the pinch on your wallet, and you will slowly save a substantial amount throughout the year. Their slogan is ‘A little goes a long way.’ You can put that money into your TFSA or RRSP. While Mylo may not help your day-to-day spending, it can help you start on the road to investing without having to set up automatic contributions or buy investments actively.
The road to budgeting is often paved with many debt payments. If you’re carrying high interest debt, like credit card or student debt, paying it down should be a top priority. Get on top of your debt by using an app called Debt Manager. Their focus is to help you get out of debt fast. It has an easy interface where you can organize, track and pay your debt using the fastest and cheapest way possible. If you’re confused about what debt to pay first, Debt Manager has a tool called What If? Here you can enter bills manually to see what the outcome would be. You stay motivated with a progress bar that shows you how much interest you’re saving by paying your debt down early.
If you don’t want to link an app to your financial account, Spending Tracker might work for you. Unlike Mint, you don’t have to link your app to your credit cards, bank accounts and registered savings. Spending Tracker claims it is the easiest and most user-friendly expense manager app. It allows you to track your spending and helps you stick to your budget. Enter your expenses and income into the app. If you buy a coffee or pay a bill, enter it in. If you get paid, enter that figure in. It’s not as sophisticated as other spending apps, but gives you a simple and easy way to manage your money. Think of this as replacing a diary to track your expenses.
Wally is a free-to-use personal finance app. It is great for anyone who wants to track their income and spending while also tracking where their money goes. Wally is not connected to your financial institution, so the app accuracy depends on the user consistently entering the correct information. This is a great app for anyone who has been doing their own bookkeeping already. Wally’s marketing says, “We want to give you a 360 view on your money; what comes in, what goes out, what you have saved, what you have budgeted.” Reviews of the app say it is not as user friendly as others, but being free to use is a big draw. It’s available on Android and iOS.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
You Need a Budget (YNAB) promises to help you stop living paycheque to paycheque, get out of debt and save more money. It has a free trial period for 34 days. The site claims that with just four simple steps, you will start to take better control of your money, by making more informed decision on how you money is spent. Those rules are:
- Give Every Dollar a Job
- Embrace Your True Expenses
- Roll with the punches
- Age Your Money
The 4th rule is my favourite. Its aim is to be in a situation where you’re spending money today that you earned months ago, meaning you stop stressing about your next paycheque. Compared to other budgeting apps, YNAB users report a better customer service experience.
Find the Right Budgeting App for You
Whatever budgeting apps you use, whether it be to manage your money, save more or invest better, make sure you commit to it. It only works if you’re using the tools the app provides, and if you are entering in all the data. Do it consistently to get the best results.