9 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Your Finances

9 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Finances

Whether you are starting a New Year’s resolution to get in a better financial position or continuing to work toward your financial goals, you’ll want to use a budget app to help you with your finances. Budget apps are a great tool for managing your money, sticking to a budget and reviewing your spending habits to identify where money might be wasted. If you are like most people, you have your phone with you almost every where you go, which makes it easy in this digital age to have control of your finances at your fingertips if you have a budget app on your phone.

Here are 9 budget apps (most of which are free to use) to help you keep track of your money so you can get a better handle on your finances and put yourself in a better financial position this year.

 

1 – Mint

Mint takes the hassle out of creating a budget. It helps you manage your spending, saving and earnings, and can even sync to all your accounts including your bank and credit card accounts, 401(k), IRA and savings accounts, as well as all your monthly bills, so all your finances are in one convenient place. Mint lets you know when bills are due, what you owe and what you can pay. The app can also send you payment reminders so you can avoid late fees. Mint gives you a big picture view of your financial situation. It shows you all the recent transactions you’ve made, how you’ve been using your accounts, your account totals, monthly budget, credit score, spending organized by category, and even alerts for when you go over budget. The Mint app is free to use.

 

2 – EveryDollar

EveryDollar was created by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. The app helps you create a monthly budget and more easily facilitate the Dave Ramsey’s baby steps budgeting. I’ve read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book about the seven baby steps and it’s one that everyone should read to stay motivated on your journey to financial freedom. EveryDollar is based on the envelope method and the principle of giving every single dollar a job. The app starts you with eight main budgeting categories that include the following: Giving, Savings, Housing, Transportation, Food, Lifestyle, Insurance & Tax, and Debt. You can add more categories to tailor it to your budget needs. Then you assign available funds for each category, and as transactions are entered, the amount is deducted from the appropriate category. The EveryDollar basic version of the app is free.

 

3 – You Need a Budget

You Need a Budget (YNAB) helps you stop living paycheck to paycheck, pay down debt and “roll with the punches” if something unexpected comes up. Plus, it forces you to live within your actual income and control where your money goes. YNAB focuses on four rules to help you get your financial life in order and to get out of debt: Give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches if you overspend, and age your money by learning to live on last month’s income. YNAB has a 34 day free trial, then after that it is $50 for the year or $5 a month to use the service.

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The Best Sweet Cornbread

The Best Sweet Cornbread

When I was young, I loved it when my mother made this Sweet Cornbread. I would always ask for more because it was delicious, moist and it tasted like cake. Later I learned that it tasted like cake because a cake mix is one of the ingredients! Yum! This Sweet Cornbread is now a recipe I make regularly for my family, and it’s definitely the best cornbread I’ve tasted. I add it to our meals when I make soup for dinner. Check out my 12 favorite soups that I like to make my family. And get the recipe below for how to make the Best Sweet Cornbread:

 

Sweet Cornbread

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4 Tips to Get Out of Debt Video

4 Tips to Get Out of Debt

Not having enough money to pay the bills and continuing to accumulate debt is stressful and it becomes a burden. It’s not easy to get out of debt and stay out of debt. However, if you want to get out of debt, it’s going to take sacrifice, discipline and hard work, but in the end it will be worth it. Once you get out of debt, that burden of debt hanging over you will be gone and you’ll have a financial peace of mind. You’ll also be able to take that money that was once going toward debt and instead use it to do things that are important to you and your family.

Watch the 4 Tips to Get Out of Debt video below so you can put yourself in a better financial position. This is your year to get your finances in control!

 

If you can’t view the video here, head over to my YouTube Channel here to watch it. Here is the link to the book, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.

I didn’t explain how the debt snowball works as well as I wanted to on this video, so here is more of an explanation. Here is an example of how to use a debt snowball if you had the following debts:

Debt 1: Store Credit Card $400 Interest Rate: 7% Minimum payment: $25

Debt 2: Credit Card $4,000 Interest Rate: 14% Minimum payment: $70

Debt 3: Car Loan $10,000 Interest Rate: 4% Minimum payment: $250

Debt 4: Student Loan $15,000 Interest Rate: 3% Minimum payment: $150

First, pay the minimum payments on all of the debts each month, then start to get rid of them one by one. For this example, we’ll say that you find an extra $300 a month in your budget by earning extra money from a side job and cutting your discretionary income. Note: To pay down your debt sooner, look for jobs to earn extra money. This may be watching children, delivering newspapers or cleaning houses. Also, look into selling items around the house by determining what you can live without, and then hold a yard sale or sell the items online. Since the first debt is small, get it paid off quickly.

For Debt 1, you’ll pay $325 toward it (this is the $300 extra income you find + $25 minimum payment) and you’ll have it paid off within less than 2 months. Now take that $325 and put it toward Debt 2. When you do that you’ll be paying $395 toward Debt 2 each month ($325 + $70 minimum payment). Once Debt 2 is paid off, then take the $395 and put it toward Debt 3 so you’ll pay $645 toward it each month ($395 + $250 minimum payment). Then once you pay off Debt 3, you’ll pay $795 to Debt 4 each month ($645 + $150 minimum payment) until it’s paid off.

 

 

get out of debtYou can also read the post 4 Important Steps to Get Out of Debt, by heading over here.

 

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Easy Pork & Veggie Won Tons

Easy Pork and Veggie Won Tons

During my childhood, my mom would make these Pork & Veggie Won Tons for New Year’s Eve every year. It was something special that I looked forward to each year. They are so good, you can’t just eat one! And the ketchup and horseradish sauce add to the delicious flavor. This recipe was given to our family from one of my best friend’s mother. She is a wonderful cook, and has shared some delicious Asian recipes with our family. Making these Pork & Veggie Won Tons has become a tradition and now I make them for my children every year for New Year’s Eve.

These Pork & Veggie Won Tons are perfect to take as appetizers for holiday parties, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year or football tailgate parties. They really are a yummy appetizer to have wherever you go.

won tons pork and veggie

To make the Pork & Veggie Won Tons, first start by cooking 1/2 lb. of ground pork in a medium pot until done. Then drain it. Place the pork in a medium bowl. Add in sprouts, carrots, onion, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Mix the won ton filling well.

 

 

chinese won tons

Fill a small bowl with water and set it off to the side. Place 1 teaspoon won ton filling in the center of a won ton wrapper. Wet your finger from the bowl of water and dampen two adjacent sides of the won ton wrapper.

 

 

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Inexpensive Dishwashing Liquid Christmas Gift Idea

Dishwashing Liquid Christmas Gift Idea Our family enjoys giving gifts to friends and neighbors each year, and we try to do gifts that are thoughtful. However, the cost of giving gifts can add up quickly. It’s so easy to overspend during the holiday season because you want to give presents to so many people, but doing so can drain the holiday budget. Each year we do a gift for friends and co-workers that is nice but isn’t too expensive. Here is an inexpensive Christmas gift idea:

Dishwashing Liquid Holiday Inexpensive Christmas Gift Idea

Last year, we put together these Dishwashing Liquid Soap Christmas Gifts. We purchased the dishwashing liquid from the dollar store. We’ve also seen them for less than $1 at Walmart and WinCo. Really, any brand of dishwashing soap will work. Then we printed the saying, “We ‘Wash’ You a Merry Christmas!” on red paper and used ribbon to tie it to the dishwashing soap. If you do purchase the Joy Dishwashing Liquid Soap, you could use the saying, “May JOY be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through.” This is a simple gift idea and easy to put together, especially if you need a last minute gift for someone.

What is an inexpensive Christmas gift idea you’ve done for family or friends?

 

You might also like these other frugal Christmas gift ideas:

25 Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

 

Peppermint Vanilla Sugar ScrubPeppermint Vanilla Sugar Scrub

 

15 Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

 

Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts without Spending Too Much

6 Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

 

 

 

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DIY Hand Warmers

DIY Hand Warmers with uncooked rice

I made these DIY Hand Warmers as Christmas gifts for family members, and I was told by both my sisters-in-law that the microwave ran non-stop for days because the kids kept heating up the hand warmers. They enjoyed them so much! My children also love these DIY hand warmers. We use them for multiple purposes at our house. We place them in coat pockets to keep hands warm when heading to school or playing outside when it’s cold. My children use the hand warmers like bean bags and throw them back and forth in the air. And when my children’s arms or legs hurt from growing pains, we warm up the hand warmers to place on their aches before bedtime. These DIY Hand Warmers are constantly being used!

If you want an inexpensive yet thoughtful holiday gift to give to friends or family this year, then make these DIY Hand Warmers for them. They are great for both children and adults. The hand warmers are easy to make, and a set of them can be completed in less than 20 minutes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

do it yourself hand warmersFirst, pin two pieces of fabric together, wrong side out.

 

diy hand warmers(I love this sewing machine my husband purchased for me.)

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Peppermint Oreo Truffles

Peppermint Oreo Truffles Christmas Holiday

I made these Peppermint Oreo Truffles for my family and they are yummy and chocolatey. I especially love the peppermint flavor when I bite into the truffle because I think of the holidays. What I also love about the truffles is that they only take four ingredients to make them. I had three of the four ingredients in my pantry, and only had to pick up the almond bark during one of my grocery shopping trips.

 

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

For the outside of the truffle, I chose to use almond bark but you could use a chocolate bar. You could even do half and half and make some truffles with white chocolate and some with chocolate.

Wrap up a handful of these truffles in a cellophane bag and add a tag and bow to make a sweet treat for neighbors and friends for the holidays. Here’s how to make the holiday Peppermint Oreo Truffles:

 

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

 

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6 Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

Trying to find the perfect Christmas presents for your loved ones for the holidays, without spending too much money or going into debt to pay for all of the holiday items, can be difficult. You want to give gifts that are nice and thoughtful, without looking like you are skimping on gifts, and this makes it easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. But doing so can easily start to add up financially and take a toll on your budget. You don’t want to start the new year paying off credit card debt from Christmas.

So how do you give during the holidays without spending too much? Here are six tips to help you out:

 

1.  Set Limits and Set a Budget

Before you even begin shopping, start by deciding how much money total you will spend on Christmas gifts for the holiday season. It’s important to set limits on your holiday spending and set a budget of what you can afford. When spending money on your children’s Christmas gifts, set a specific dollar amount for each child or decide that you’ll limit the number of gifts per child.

Make sure to set a budget that is realistic. Don’t just come up with some random number. Look at what you spent last year on the holidays, think through the numbers and determine how much money you will need while trying to find a balance of what you can afford. You also don’t want to make the budget so tight that you get frustrated because there isn’t money for last-minute or unexpected holiday purchases. So give yourself a little wiggle room if your budget allows it.

It’s great to give nice Christmas presents, but if you find a gift that isn’t in your budget, then look for something else or go in on the gift together with another family member or friend. There have been many times when I wanted a specific gift for my mother, but it wasn’t necessarily in the budget. Rather than just purchasing it and going over my budget I asked my siblings to go in on the gift too. We were able to do something nice for my mom because we collaborated together, and we were able to stay within our budget.

Know your limits and don’t just spend money and put everything on the credit card, because come January it will be stressful coming up with the money to pay off the credit card.

 

2. Make a List & Don’t Feel You Have to Give Gifts to Everyone

Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for, but limit the amount of people you give to. Don’t feel that you have to give gifts to everyone.

When making a list, prioritize and first write down the names of those who are the most important people on your list. Then write down those who you would like to give something to if you have enough money left over in your budget. Next to each person’s name write down the dollar amount you can spend on them by dividing up your predetermined budget to all the people on your list. Once you have the dollar amount next to each name, then you can decide what to purchase for them. If you find a gift is on sale and it doesn’t cost as much as the dollar amount you were planning to spend on that specific person, then you can take that extra money and use it toward someone else.

With family, it can be hard not to get something for every sibling and their children, but financially that can be a strain on the budget. In my family and my husband’s family together we have 6 siblings, their 6 spouses and 26 nieces and nephews. Buying something for each of them would be a huge expense. What we do instead is for my side of the family, we each are given a name of one sibling and their family that we purchase a gift for, and we rotate it every year so we have an opportunity to give a gift to a different sibling each year. For my husband’s side of the family, we’ve done white elephant gifts or we get together and do fun inexpensive projects and activities with the kids. The point is that we simplify and communicate that we are keeping it simple and that we don’t expect expensive gifts from each other.

If you have groups of friends or co-workers, then think about giving homemade gifts, goodies or a holiday card to them. You could also suggest friends and co-workers do a Secret Santa, white elephant gift exchange or Yankee swap. It will help on the Christmas budget so you are only purchasing a gift for one person in the group rather than the entire group.

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Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy

Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy

I love simple meals that are easy to make and don’t take a lot of time to put together. This Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy is so easy to place in your crock pot in the morning. Right before dinner all that’s left to do is quickly shred the chicken and stir in sour cream. It’s then ready to serve over rice, potatoes or noodles. My kids loved this meal, and it’s a recipe that I add to my meal plan every month.

 

Chicken and Gravy Crock Pot

Here is the recipe to make the Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy:

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Peppermint Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Peppermint Vanilla Sugar Scrub

If you are looking for a gift to give friends or neighbors this holiday season, this Peppermint Vanilla Sugar Scrub is an easy and simple gift idea. It is a thoughtful and nice gift, and it is also less expensive than if you purchased a sugar scrub from the store. I also love that the peppermint and vanilla fragrance complement each other and smell good together.

The Peppermint Vanilla Sugar Scrub is only 4 ingredients. Before I made it, I went through my pantry and found that I already had all of the ingredients to make the sugar scrub. And since I do canning every fall, I even had small 8-oz jars, lids and bands downstairs in my basement. It made it nice that I already had everything needed to make a handful of sugar scrubs that I could give to neighbors.

Here is how to make homemade Peppermint Vanilla Sugar Scrub:

homemade peppermint vanilla sugar scrub

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