Budgeting apps have to be one of the easiest and more convenient ways to keep track of your budget these days. With most banks now having smartphone apps, it’s simple to stay on top your finances on the go. Sometimes just seeing your balance isn’t enough, though, and we need to take that one step further to really understand how we spend our money and how we can hold onto it for longer – especially when it comes to planning for a family.
OnTrees is a free app that has recently joined up with MoneySuperMarket. It allows you to upload your bank details to overlook all accounts in one place – even if they are with different banks. All transactions get sorted into different colour coded categories (bills, travel, etc) which gives you an easy to read overview of where your money ends up! You can’t actually move your money around from the app but it will help you make more informed decisions about what you can cut back on to save more.
Similarly to OnTrees, Wally is a personal finance and budgeting app which is now available for iOS and Android. It currently runs on a pretty impressive free version, but plans to expand their offering (to include family budgeting options) is in the pipeline. It allows you to set savings targets and, like the OnTrees app, breaks your spending down into categories to make an overview of your incoming and outgoing expenses easy to read and understand.
I’ve been a fan of Mint for a while. It’s a fantastic (free) and secure app that allows you to keep track of all your incomings and outgoings via budgets, personalised tips and more! Once you input your accounts, cards and bills, it shows you an overall view of how much you really have to spend each month and allows you to make more informed choices. There are even options for investments if you’re looking to save for your family/retirement/future plans. It’s a great app for parents who always feel like you’re having to dig pennies from the couch. Keep track of your expenses and see where you can cut back in order to save for the big purchases that really matter!
Discount Coupon/Deal Sites
Just because you have children now, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to get out and about from time to time. Sites like Groupon, Itison, wowcher, etc are perfect if you’re looking for anything from a nice meal out, a weekend away, or a family friendly outing!
Something a bit more basic and perhaps more useful after a month or two using a banking app, pop your totals into this simple budget calculator.
- The internet is a great place to find loads of printables for those who like to write their budgets down. I find things stick better when I write them down so if you feel you’ll be more accountable that way, then check out a few options here!
- Standing orders keep my savings in check. When I get paid, I make sure to send out my bills and move a certain amount into a savings account before I start spending any money. Even if it’s £10/week, it’s an amount I know will be on hand (and I can always transfer back) if needed. Naming my accounts for different uses (Bills, Travel, Food) allows me to see what I have allotted for myself and not overspend.
- Don’t be afraid to try no-name products. While you think you – or your child – can tell the difference, more often than not it’s all in your head. Sometimes the no name brands can even taste better!
Budgeting for a family can be a big and rather daunting task. Like anything, it takes a purposeful effort to ensure that you are successful. The best thing to remember is that every little bit helps and by setting goals, staying accountable and using whichever tools and tricks work better for you, there should be no reason why you can’t start saving as soon as possible.