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How to Leverage Technology to Build and Maintain a Budget

Many of us were taught how to set a budget with pocket money we were given as children.  Now that you are an adult, you are managing your cash and figuring out how to budget on a larger scale. However, setting up and maintaining a budget is not always an easy task.

If you are struggling to have enough money for the month or wondering how you are going to afford big purchases like a computer or a car it’s time to sit down and create a budget. Even if it makes you uneasy. The good news is there are some things you can do to make this process a little less painful. Keep reading to find out how to easily manage your finances through online tools.

Take Advantage of Online Banking Tools

Most banks have websites and offer money management apps for their customers. Customers don’t realize that banking tools can do more than just withdraw money or pay. You can set these tools to automatically save a portion of your monthly paycheck. Directly from your banking tools, you can sort all your periodil bills and avoid late payment penalties.

These tools also assist in allotting different amounts to expenses, such as investment and emergency accounts. Apart from all of these benefits, the tools also generate reports of where your money is going and alert you when the account is low. Consult your bank and bank’s website to find out more about the capabilities of these banking tools.

Make the Most of Budgeting Apps

Technology has made processes better and more efficient. The financial sector has not been left behind, especially in personal finance matters. The rise and development of financial technology (fintech) have led to apps that help individuals manage their spending. Here are good examples of budgeting apps that help you track your expenses:

  • Mint
    There is so much you can do with Mint regarding personal finance. You can link the app to your bank accounts, investments, credit cards, and even a retirement account. The features in the Mint app allow users to see their actual income, update budget categories, and track expenses and credit—plus set and monitor investment and saving goals, just to mention a few of their helpful features.

  • Simplifi
    This budgeting app allows users to manage their money in many ways. You can connect all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and other investment accounts within the app. Using Simplifi, you can easily create and track multiple saving goals such as buying/building a home and planning for future vacations amongst other users.  The app has an easy, user friendly feel to it.

  • PocketGuard
    Just as the name implies, PocketGuard helps users direct their spending behavior within limits and put aside some spending money for savings. Consumers can link their bank accounts and credit cards to the app. Users create different categories, for example, savings and expenses. Any spending automatically uploads to the PocketGuard app, enabling accountability. It has a unique feature called “In My Pocket,” which shows how much money there is for everyday spending.

  • You Need a Budget (YNAB)
    You Need a Budget is a budgeting app that helps consumers have their money management matters organized. YNAB allows users to sync their bank accounts and credit cards, plus being able to set goals and customize spending categories. It’s designed with flexibility, such as shifting funds through different categories, the ability to budget with someone else, and planning for non-monthly, irregular bills.  Many people enjoy this particular app.

Utilize Spreadsheets

Most people are familiar with spreadsheets. But few have explored using spreadsheets as budgeting tools. If you want a simple and free tool for personal finance budgeting, then spreadsheets are the way to go. Examples of these tools are Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.

You can choose to customize the spreadsheets so that they calculate your monthly income percentages for each category. Because spreadsheets offer financial templates and formulas, you can use them for creating a budget, monitoring spending, and generating financial reports.

Budgeting Knowledge Online Is Extensive

Most of us go online daily, and this is where we can get lots of ideas about budgeting. Many online platforms such as social media and online video platforms like YouTube and blogs have helpful information. Through these platforms, one can learn how to stay on top of their game in managing personal finance.

Be Cautious of Online Purchases

You need to be on the watch for small and impromptu expenses such as subscriptions and digital purchases. That can add up to substantial unplanned expenses. Parents, make sure your phone is secure to prevent toddlers and kids from accidentally draining your account through online purchases.  You don’t have to search long to find horror stories of children unknowingly racking up large purchases on their parent’s devices.

7 Benefits of Creating a Budget

  1. Budgeting helps one become financially stable because you become aware of all your expenses and plan your income accordingly. You avoid being financially overwhelmed.

  2. Budgeting helps you control where your money is spent, helping you be more financially organized and keeping you from spending what you don’t have.

  3. Budgeting guides you toward achieving financial goals like saving to buy a home or paying off credit card debt. You set personal finance objectives and track if you are in the right direction to achieve them or if you need to adjust your progress.

  4. Budgeting helps you prepare for unforeseen expenses and future expected expenses like retirement. So, you won’t be stranded and stressed during an already hard time.

  5. Budgeting allows one to attain financial freedom and independence. Yes, I mean it! You avoid and get out of debt with budgeting. Being devoted to the budget that you created helps you address bad spending habits.

  6. Better family relationships. Most married couples generally have agreed-upon, transparent budgets, which reduce financial stress.

  7. Budgeting can help you save money for “rainy days,” a sudden job loss, or even just living in a world where inflation is the norm!

Conclusion

Technology is necessary to build and maintain a budget. There are lots of apps, and most of them are free. If you choose to pay for the advanced tools, it’s worth it.  Budgeting comes with many benefits that lead to healthy bank accounts and credit lines—giving you peace of mind in your day-to-day financial life.

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