Long gone are the days when you had to sit down with a notepad and a sky-high stack of bills and receipts to figure out your income, expenses, and overall budgetary plan. These days there are all kinds of spreadsheets and programs that are meant to make your financial planning a lot easier and more efficient. But short of carrying your laptop around with you, these comprehensive budgeting and tracking measures are largely confined to you home. And yet, the wide world of apps has delivered mobile solutions for so many industries and areas of life that it should come as no surprise that there are apps meant to help you track and stick to your budget on the go. Home Budget has been touted as one of the best of the bunch and it’s not hard to see why.
You’ll start simply enough by entering the money coming and going, and there are features attendant to each aspect of your budget. For example, you may want to begin by entering your income. Once you have done so you can edit or delete it at any time (this is true of each section of your budget), add another source of income, and associate it with an account (if you get direct deposit). You can also use the calendar function to mark dates that checks will be deposited into your account, or alternately the dates that the money will be available (after the check has cleared). As for expenses, there are a lot of ways to break them down.
Household bills are probably the first set of expenses to address simply because most of them recur on a monthly basis. Once you have entered bills you can edit them monthly (at least the ones that vary), track their due dates on the calendar, set reminder alerts when they’re due, and mark when they have been paid. You can also break them down into several categories such as mortgage/rent, utilities (complete with subcategories like gas and electric), food, entertainment, and so on. And for other expenses, like those outside the home, you have the option not only to enter and categorize them in a variety of ways; you can also take photos of receipts.
Another feature allows you to enter accounts (checking, savings, credit cards, etc.) and link them to various income and expenses so that you can easily track your balances and avoid overspending. Once you’ve got all of your own information entered you can use the sync feature to connect with other devices in the household and share information so that a spouse or other earners may take part in the process to create one master budget for the home.
Finally, there are a slew of ways that you can see an overview of your budgeting habits. You can have your earning and spending laid out on a line graph over a six month period, you can view your monthly expenses as a pie chart or bar graph, or you can simply look at a listing laid out by category (with drop-downs for subcategories). You may also want to back up your files, send reports to your email, or even change the currency (if you travel for work, for example). In fact, you can track absolutely everything, down to a bag of diapers, cab fare to the airport, or receivables finance rates for business income. This well-rounded app will cost you $4.99, but for everything you get it’s a steal (the lite version is free but offers limited features).
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.