Life is anything if not full of curveballs—and that’s especially true when you’re a single parent. From covering your rent to food to clothing to toys, accounting for your monthly expenses can be a daunting and stressful task all on its own—and let’s not talk about that stress on top of all of the things you already go through on a daily basis to keep your family running!
But, like it or not, budgeting is one of the most useful things you can do as a parent to stay on top of your finances and make sure that you’re able to make ends meet month-to-month. To that end, there are a host of apps out there that can help you prepare a monthly budget to help you stay on track when it comes to making sure your money goes where it needs to!
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most popular budgeting apps out there today to help you decide which one would be the best suited for your needs.
Basic budgeting apps are typically designed to connect with your banking accounts and help you track your spending habits by categorizing your expenses so that you can actually see where your money is going every month.
But many apps on the market also offer more, giving their users tools and benefits to help them gain control over their financial situation in other ways—and some of these can be especially useful for parents!
Some of the most popular budgeting apps out there today are:
- Personal Capital
In the following sections, we’ll talk about each of these apps more in-depth to see what they offer and how they can help you get on top of your money situation!
Personal Capital is a budgeting app and investment tool that helps to provide users with a comprehensive view of their financial situation.
The app helps you track your daily expenditures and provides you with a personalized spending snapshot by listing your most recent spending transactions by category, which you can then customize to see the total percentage of your monthly spending that each category takes up. Personal Capital also offers other financial tools for users like a retirement planner, 401k management, an education planner, tools to track your monthly cash flow, as well as tools to help you track and manage your investments!
The app is free to use and can be downloaded on both the Apple and GooglePlay stores. The company also offers guidance online with a number of online blog articles covering a variety of financial topics, which can be further explored at their website here!
Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps out there today, being the #1 most downloaded personal finance app and coming with a number of high ratings on both the Apple and Google Play Stores. And the best part is that it’s completely free to download and use!
Mint works by connecting to your bank accounts and tracking your expenses, then placing them in specific budget categories. Users then have the option to further customize these categories and are given free reign to create as many categories that they deem necessary for their budgets. They can then set specific money limits for these categories, and Mint notifies them when they are approaching those limits.
The app also offers personalized tips and recommendations to help you cut spending when you can or create some extra wiggle room in your budget to help you reach your specific goals (like a family vacation or a new car) faster.
GoodBudget makes use of an envelope budgeting system to help users keep track of their finances, meaning users portion out their monthly income toward specific spending categories called “envelopes.” You can then manually add your account balances as well as cash amounts, debts and other income and later assign money towards specific envelopes.
In this way, the intention is to use the app as a way to plan your spending instead of just tracking your expenses.
GoodBudget offers a free version that allows one account, two devices and up to 10 “regular” envelopes as well as 10 additional envelopes for you to use to help manage your spending habits.
Its paid version, Goodbudget Plus, costs $8 per month and allows users to create unlimited envelopes and accounts that are shareable with up to five devices, as well as access to e-mail support should you ever need to get in touch with someone for help!
EveryDollar is an app designed to help you budget with confidence, track your transactions, and gain insight into your spending and savings habits and offers users a straight-forward interface that’s simple and easy to use.
Unlike with some of the other apps on this list, with EveryDollar you don’t sync your banking accounts, but rather you manually enter the money you have coming in and going out throughout the month. With the free version, you can also categorize the line items in your budget and set reminders for your bill payments.
The premium version of EveryDollar includes all of those features but then it also allows you to connect your bank account, making your transactions appear in the app and then providing you with custom reports and recommendations based on your spending habits.
If you’re looking for a budgeting tool that can also be used to help teach your children financial literacy, then FamZoo may be the perfect option for you!
FamZoo offers prepaid debit cards to subscribers as “the perfect modern digital version of the popular cash-based envelope system.” Instead of labeled envelopes holding cash for each key spending category, use labeled FamZoo cards loaded with funds!
It offers the exact same simplicity and effectiveness of the traditional envelope method but in a much safer, convenient, and e-commerce-friendly package.
Their app was designed specifically for families as well as as an educational tool to help teach children about money, which can be especially helpful, particularly if they’re already a little older.
Parents can schedule chores and pay out allowances from the app and then split the payments if they wish into individual savings, spending, or giving accounts to demonstrate to children how to be responsible with their money.
The app also lets you set family or individual savings goals, and, for some of the more cut-throat parents out there, it even lets you charge your kids for borrowing money to teach them the value or compound interest or for other shared costs such as family cell phone plans.
Mvelopes aims to help you manage your money better by helping you better manage your spending using a digital envelope budgeting system and can help you create a new spending plan in under 15 minutes.
Their envelope system not only helps you track how exactly your money is spent but, perhaps even more importantly, it helps you to plan where you still want your money to go.
With Mvelopes, users separate their budgets into different specific spending categories. The app then makes it so you receive up-to-date information for those spending categories, showing you the actual funds you still have available for them as you assign transactions to their appropriate category throughout the month.
By teaching their customers how to manage their money both before and after they spend it, Mvelopes has helped their customers to eventually spend less, save more, and pay off their debts faster.
The app isn’t free, however, with even their most basic plan costing users about $6 a month. More expensive packages cost about $10 and $20 a month, respectively, and offer users access to premium tools and features like budgeting video master classes and quarterly meetings with a financial coach to help find a long-term plan to get back on track for those who need extra guidance.
At the end of the day, no one wants to have to budget for their lives. But, when you’re a parent especially, it’s amazingly important to stay on top of your finances so you’re able to meet your monthly expenses and provide your children with comfort and stability, as well as instill in them a healthy relationship with their finances.
Luckily, you don’t have to go about this task completely alone, as there are a number of apps out there designed to take the stress out of budgeting and make it as streamlined and as easy as possible!
In this article, we talked about just a few of the apps out there today, but there are many more that we didn’t get the chance to cover. If anything, we’re hopeful that this article has helped to get you started in the right direction and guided you to an app that will finally help you get on top of your financial situation once and for all.