The devices we use everyday have turned into digital accountants, offering sophisticated software and keen advice previously only found through expensive CPAs. While life’s unpredictability still makes for some budgeting guesswork, the latest computer, tablet and smartphone apps make money management easier than ever.
Whether you need to break down your budget by categories or seek tax advice, here are the best bets for doing so:
Who needs a stodgy accountant? Easy-to-use desktop budgeting software is simplifying the budgeting process.
The Budget Cutter.Where does it all go? Payday represents endless opportunities, but checking your balance a week later evokes the feeling of being robbed. Mvelopes aims to eradicate the shock of checking your bank account by facilitating and monitoring a spending management program. Break your budget into categories for food, entertainment, clothing and auto purchases, and automatically track transactions from Capital Processing Network and other providers as they happen. Mvelopes also facilitates online banking transactions on a unified platform. Supported by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and many other banking institutions, Mvelopes is a simple and effective budgeting tool.
The Debt Reliever. IOUs have a way of adding up, so when it comes time to pay the piper, reducing that pile of debt is a daunting task. ReadyForZero is debt-repayment plan program that links to a user’s accounts and creates a budget to work down his existing debt. A plan to reduce debt is helpful, but ReadyForZero’s real benefit is its real-time snapshot of debt progress. The site also sends recommendations to accelerate debt relief. CNNMoney described ReadyForZero as, “the angel on your shoulder.” If you’re drowning in debt, consider ReadyForZero your trusty water wings.
Mobile Money Machines
Spending is an on-the-go activity. Now, smartphones enable users to make financial decisions with real-time information. These handheld devices connect users to businesses via social media and provide innovative platform for apps.
The All-in-one Tool. Beautifully designed, packed with utility and free of charge, the Mint.com Personal Finance app is the cutting edge of financial tools. This platform provides a unified view of all accounts, categorizes budgets, offers advice and alerts users when they go over budget. Available on iOS and Android devices, Mint.com also provides a desktop companion for an even closer look at financial details.
Rated one of CNNMoney’s six best banking and budget apps of 2012, the Mint.com Personal Finance app is the most comprehensive mobile budgeting tool available.
The Personal Advisor. Numbers and graphs are helpful to an extent, but personal finance is about more than just dollars and cents. Smartphone users looking for financial advice have resources as well. The Dave Ramsey Show app features dozens of conversations regarding common financial issues. Get an opinion on how to pay down credit card debt, how much to spend on a house and how to save for retirement from a respected industry leader.
The Dave Ramsey Show app is free on iOS devices.
Personal finance has entered a new age of technology, and users who take advantage of these prudent tools can stay on top of their budget 24/7.
About the Author: Denise Hewitt Originally a journalist, Denise found her niche in finance and politics. She one day aspires to have a following like Rachel Maddow or Diane Rehm, both of whom are her idols.