Creating a budget will help you gain control of your finances. A budget planner gives you a good look at your income and expense, which can help improve your spending habits. Budgeting tools can be particularly beneficial for seniors on a limited income.
What is a budget?
A budget is a financial plan based on income and expenses. It estimates how much money you have, what money will be coming in, and what money you will spend over a specific period of time. A budget involves making a list of your spending and putting them into categories. Some people like to write out their budget, while others use budgeting tools such as a budgeting app or a spreadsheet.
Why Is Budgeting Important?
Budgeting helps you create a financial plan to make sure you have enough money for the most important things. It also provides a visual of where you are spending your money to help ensure that you are not spending money you do not have.
Although beneficial, many don’t relish the idea of maintaining a budget. You can use many budgeting tools to help track your money, some of which are free or low cost. You can even use pen and paper or any spreadsheet if you don’t want to use an app or web-based solution.
However, many budgeting tools are now available that were created specifically to make budgeting more manageable so that you can implement budgeting into your routine. Below we discuss five tools that will help make tracking your spending much easier.
Helpful Budgeting Tools
Mint is popular and known as one of the best free budgeting apps. You can sync Mint to your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and credit cards to track your finances, including money coming in, your purchases, and your savings. Mint’s financial dashboard makes it easy to track your net worth and displays your accounts together in one place. The budgeting app also comes with a daily budgeting planner, suggesting goals specifically for you based on your spending habits. Not only does it have the basic features to help you budget regularly, but it also provides customized alerts, bill payment reminders and offers add-ons like credit monitoring.
Pocketguard is an easy-to-use app that makes it easy to glance at how much money you have available to spend. It connects your financial accounts and detects recurring income and bills. This budget planner automatically categorizes your expenses, although you can set up custom categories if you would like. The app lets you set aside money for the various categories of necessities, bills, and goals and shows the amount you have left for other expenditures. Pocketguard gives a visual illustration of which category of expenses is taking much of your money using pie charts. Most Pocketguard features are free, and many find the free version enough, although they do have a paid version if you want something more robust.
You can also link all your accounts, for instance, credit cards, investments, and banks. This makes it easy to track your balances and net worth all in one app.
Bills take up a large portion of the income, and when it’s possible to get lower rates, you should take the opportunity. This app gives you suggestions and helps you to negotiate better rates on your bills like cable. They also have an autosave option to specify your saving goal, and it’s automatically done for you. Having linked in all your accounts, it’s essential to consider security. Pocketguard assures their level of security is similar to that used by the major banks and thus guarantees security even if you lose your phone.
This is a free money management software for personal finance. It is a web-based application that helps organize your cash flow, expenses, and bank accounts. If you are the type of person who does not want to link your financial accounts into a budgeting platform, this is an excellent option for you. Budgetpulse allows you to visualize illustrations of your monthly expenditures using easy-to-understand graphs and charts.
An exciting feature of Budgetppulse is the personal fundraiser. If you have goals that you want people to contribute to, the app helps you create and share a personal fundraiser. You can then share this with friends and family who can donate (for example, through Paypal or Amazon). They will also be able to track the progress of the personal fundraiser. You don’t need to download anything or link your bank account.
Like most budgeting apps and software, YNAB allows you to track your transactions and gives reports in terms of graphs and charts. This budgeting app is for the committed user because it has a zero-based budgeting system, so you commit to a plan for every incoming dollar. The program guides you through allocating every dollar, so you are spending intentionally. They also provide email support and host live webinars every week. You can usually start with a trial offer, but there is a monthly fee of approximately $11.99/month billed monthly or $84/year billed annually.
Quicken is a popular option and allows you to get a complete financial picture quickly by viewing your banking, retirement, investment, and credit cards all in one place. You can check your balances after paying bills and get alerts to avoid missing a due date. You can review your investments and track your portfolio.
One of the best features of Quicken is that it allows you to sync web and mobile to manage your money across different devices. You can easily export your data to excel. It’s possible even to create a 12-month budget that you can customize on the go. It’s a paid platform with different plans and pricing, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Planning is the first step in creating a budget that works. Many adults will start paying for long-term care with their savings, retirement funds, or from money received from selling their homes. This calculator helps by providing the estimated costs of long-term care for seniors. Long-term care includes many forms of care, including in-home caregivers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, memory care, and more.
Just plug in your zip code to find estimated costs. The calculator estimates median prices in your local area based on a nationwide cost-of-care survey. If your senior likely will require long-term care, knowing the cost estimates can help you plan better financially.
Making a budget and consistently following your budget planner are essential steps to managing your finances successfully. Many people don’t like to budget, but there are many budgeting tools to make the process easier. It is a good idea to take a look at some different tools to see which ones are easier for you to navigate and provide the features you need