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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 3/31/2017

The App Store is saturated with tools for helping you keep track of your budget, spending, income, credit score, and more. However, each app is different, offering varying levels of user-friendliness, security, and helpful features. We've built a list of the most useful apps for keeping track of your finances--from budgeting and paying bills, to learning about investing and credit, these apps have you covered.

Mint

Mint is the juggernaut of budgeting apps. You can securely sync all of your bank accounts, loan accounts (credit card, student loans, etc.) and even income accounts like PayPal. Once you've logged in, Mint does most of the work for you. In fact, just yesterday I got a notification from Mint that I was charged extra for my gym membership. In the app or from the website you can design your own personalized budget that includes things like food, shopping, groceries, gas, etc. When you make a purchase with one of your linked cards, Mint automatically sorts the purchase into the correct category. Aside from budgets, Mint also helps you set up a timeline for paying your debts. It shows you how long it will take at your current monthly payment amount and tells you how much you would save in interest by paying it off faster.

PocketGuard

PocketGuard is like a sleek, minimal version of Mint. However, its main strength, as the name suggests, is security. It boasts several barriers to identity theft and complicated and technical security measures that we won't get into here (we're talking 128-BIT SSL encryption). PocketGuard is also simpler than Mint, both in terms of content and display. Plus, you won't see as many advertisements for credit cards that Mint so slyly sneaks into just about every screen you view.

Home Budget with Sync

The name's a little awkward, we know. But they added that "with Sync" in there for a reason. Home Budget's most redeeming feature is that it allows you to sync up with other budgets in your household (your spouse, roommate, etc.). This makes it much easier for couples who are splitting bills to keep track of their expenses and savings. One piece of advice is to choose what you share wisely. Not everyone wants to share all of their personal finance information with others.

You Need a Budget

You Need a budget, or as its many happy customers call it, YNAB, is a whole lot more than just a way to keep track of your money. It boasts several learning resources that empowers you with financial knowledge. Where other apps just let you plug in numbers, YNAB teaches you what all of those numbers mean and helps you make more informed decisions with your money. YNAB is created with the intention of reducing your financial stress. It has simple videos, instructables, and more to help you learn the ins and outs of budgeting. Then it helps you build your own budget and stick to it with many of the same features as Mint or PocketGuard.

Personal Capital

If you're ready for the big leagues of finance and want to start investing and tracking your assets, Personal Capital will help you get there. This app is designed for managing and analyzing assets. The app's main features are broken into categories: cashflow, retirement, investing, and net worth. The outstanding feature here is investing. It simplifies investing, checks up on your investments, and gives you useful tips that will help you get your toes wet in the investment world.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 3/17/2017

Keeping up with household expenses can be a daunting task. Service providers are making it easier than ever to set up auto-pay features for their products. Furthermore, playing with credit cards makes it seem like you hardly ever have to look at your account balances. Unfortunately, that can make it easy to go over your allotted budget each month. That’s where the home budget app comes in.

In recent years, a growing number of budgeting apps have hit the app stores. You could scroll for hours through all of the various apps, comparing their needs. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you.

Some apps are geared towards families, where others are designed for a single user. Some sync with bank accounts and others depend on your own input to keep track of your expenses. In this article, we’re going to break down some of the best budgeting apps for keeping up with your household and living expenses.

HomeBudget

If you’re hoping to split expenses and plan your budget with your spouse, family, or roommates, HomeBudget is a good place to start. With HomeBudget you can assign one person to be the payee, making it easy to determine who pays certain bills.

You and your family members can also assign expenses and attach images of your receipts to see who paid which bill.

At the end of the month, you can view reports that will tell you if you stayed under budget. You can then compare the month’s budget to the previous six months and decide if you need to increase your budget or try to cut some expenses.

YNAB: You Need A Budget

If you’re new to budgeting or are having trouble paying off debt, YNAB is the budgeting tool you need. Aside from keeping track of your spending, YNAB is also a learning resource. Signing up gives you access to budgeting tips and information that you may not be familiar with.

YNAB links up with your bank accounts to tell you just how much you need to save each month in order to keep up with everyday expenses like mortgage payments and utilities, and get out of debt.

Mint

Mint is designed to be your one-stop shop for all things financial. It combines your bills, bank accounts, student loans, credit cards, and more all in one place.

Mint enables you to track your spending, plan a budget, and gain access to resources like free monthly credit scores.

Unsplurge

Having an organized budget is a reward of its own. But, if you need even more of an incentive, Unsplurge is here to help. With Unsplurge, you can focus on saving up for a goal. You’ll get updates when you save enough to “splurge” on your goal.

It’s a great tool for people who like to see their progress and feel the sense of accomplishment when they meet their objective.


Now pick the app that sounds right for your needs and get started with saving money and managing your household budget today.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/23/2016

 in a supermarketIf you are looking for ways save money, cutting back on grocery expenses is often an easy way to reduce your spending. Here are ten tips to master frugal grocery shopping. A little planning can save you some big bucks over the long term. 1. Make a list. Before you head out to the store, prepare a list of everything you need, making sure you have everything needed for your weekly menu. Before you leave, check to make sure you don't have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Stick to that list and don't buy anything else. 2. Plan a menu. Plan a weekly menu for each week. This way you will know exactly what to buy. Be sure to plan a leftovers night. 3. Don't shop hungry. When you're hungry, everything looks good. When you shop hungry you'll end up spending a lot more. Eat first and then you will be able to stick to your list. 4. Set a budget. When you go to the store, know exactly how much you can spend. Then try your best to stick within that limit. Keep a running tally as you shop to ensure that you're within your budget. 5. Create a grocery spreadsheet. Keep your grocery receipts, then enter into a spreadsheet. This will be your price and comparison list. Use it so you know when bulk or sale items are a good deal. 6. Cook and freeze. Plan to cook a big amount of food and freeze it for multiple dinners. A great idea is to use one Sunday and cook a week's (or even a month's) worth of dinners. Plan 5-6 freezable dinners and cook them all at once. 7. Shop for specials. Every store has specials. Be sure to look for them in the newspaper, or when you get to the store. Don't buy things you don't use just because they are on sale; make sure you will use the items. 8. Buy store brands. Brand names are often no better than generic, and you're paying for all the advertising they do to have a brand name. Give the store brand a try, and often you won't notice a difference. 9. No "one-item" trips. They waste gas, and almost inevitably, you buy more than that one item. If you plan ahead, make a weekly menu, and shop with a list, this should drastically reduce the number of trips you make for a small number of items. 10. Stock up. Sale items can be a great deal. If it's an item you normally use, buy a bunch of them.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 12/25/2015

Is there really a secret to saving money? It may seem as though it is mystery how your bank account ends up empty every month but there is no mystery to it. While it may be no secret there are three important tips you can follow to help you put more money in your pocket. The challenge is to follow the tips in order to be successful at saving money. The rest is up to you.

1. Create a Budget

You need to know where your money is going. Once you have established where you spend your money you will be able to find places to make cuts. The first thing to do is figure out how much is being spent on housing, utilities, groceries, debt, and entertainment. Once you know where the money is going you will be able to set limits for problem areas. This is the money that you will apply to secret #2.

2. Pay Yourself First

This is a huge secret, pay yourself first. Yes, before you dole out money for bills as soon as your paycheck hits your account; deposit a specified amount into savings. It doesn't matter how small the amount is, at least you are saving. Even better , create an automatic savings plan that will automatically deposit money into your savings account before you even have a chance to spend it. This can be done right through your employer’s direct deposit or with a recurring transfer with your bank.

3. Spend Less Than You Earn

If you don't learn to obey this rule you will never be able to save money. You simply have to spend less money than you earn and there’s no way around that. If you are spending more than you earn you are borrowing money and thus putting yourself into debt.  




Categories: Money Saving Tips