From shopping apps to spreadsheets, financial journalist Katie Morley shares her top 10 tools to help you budget and save.
Mint is a budgeting tool that lets you see a big picture view of your budget. It connects to your bank and uses your details to create a personalised plan, identifying ways to help you cut down your bills and other expenses. Mint also shows you your credit score [recommended URL: https://protected.fscs.org.uk/news/ways-to-keep-a-good-credit-score] and sends you alerts if you pay charges you wouldn’t normally incur, such as credit card interest. It works with iPhone, iPad and Android.
Vouchercloud gives you access to a range of savings, straight from your phone. It alerts you to offers in your area, including leisure, restaurants, bars and high street shops, so you can save money by accessing special deals as and when they pop up.
Pennies is a simple day-to-day budgeting app that does all the hard maths for you: if you spend less today, Pennies will give you more to spend tomorrow. If you overspend, the app gives you a lower budget for the rest of the month. Pennies doesn’t have complex charts, tags, diagrams or breakdowns. Instead, it lets you see the health of your spending history in one clean overview, so you can understand at a glance how well you’re doing.
4. You Need a Budget
If you need to tackle the root cause of your overspending, You Need a Budget may be the app for you. It lets you monitor your income and expenses and also provides instructions on dealing with the reasons behind your financial woes. Its strategy is based on three basic rules to help you live within your means: get out of debt [recommended URL: https://protected.fscs.org.uk/news/how-to-manage-debt], save money and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
5. MoneySavingExpert’s Budget Planner
MoneySavingExpert’s budgeting guide includes sophisticated, free budget planner tools that analyse your finances to help you manage and control your cash. It lets you create a spreadsheet with your salary, income and outgoings and is supported by useful guidance and savings tips.
6. MoneySavingExpert’s Demotivator
Designed to be used alongside the Budget Planner, the Demotivator tool shocks you into kicking your bad spending habits: this tool shows you the real impact of discretionary spending. You can enter items such as cigarettes, daily sandwiches and magazines and it’ll tell you how much you spend a year and how long you worked to buy them.
Wally helps compare your income to your expenses, understand where your money goes and set and achieve your goals. It lets you keep track of the details as you spend money: where, when, what, why and how much. It also lets you take photos of your receipts so you can keep them on file without having to hang onto them.
Monefy is more visual than most money apps and has icons for different items in your budget, such as coffee, shopping and newspapers. You can add up your outgoings as you go, and it shows you exactly how you spend your money - which can be particularly helpful if you’re not sure where most of it is going!
9. Wedding budget apps
If you’re planning a wedding and sticking to a tight budget, a budget tracker helps you keep an eye on where your money is going. UK wedding site hitched has a free budget tool plus advice on coming up with ideas for your big day, without blowing the budget.
10. One Family Baby Costs Calculator
If you’re pregnant, or planning a baby, the One Family baby budget calculator could be useful: it helps you plan your monthly budget by comparing your financial position before and after you have a baby. The website is broken down into sections so you don’t forget anything important.