Hack Your Budget with Templates and Apps

Whether it’s holiday season or time to schedule a trip to the Bahamas, it’s essential to abide by one of the critical money decisions your family will make:  Budgeting.  It’s not a fancy word, but for many who swear by Budgeting as their primary source of Financial Independence, utilizing Monthly Budget Templates or Apps will help increase your overall financial outlook one way or another.

Great examples of proper budgeting would include:

  • Child College Funds
  • Vacation Planning
  • Monthly Grocery Spending
  • Monthly Investment
  • Utilities and Expenses

Take a look at FrugalFanatic’s Budget Template (Our Only Paper Based Recommendation)

budget template monthly

Why we think you SHOULD NOT use Paper Monthly Budget Templates

Over time, if you’ve searched for free templates and PDFs regarding Budget Templates, you’ll come across hundreds if not thousands of Pinterest Pins, Instagram posts, and websites that revolve around Budgeting Templates.  These are great tools for those who want to disconnect from the smartphone world and manage their finances with a pen and paper.  Sure it’s the more traditional route, but this may not be the right choice for you and your family in the long run.  Why?

  • Paper Gets Lost
  • Paper Can’t Notify You of Account Changes
  • Paper Needs a Writer
  • Paper Takes Up Space
  • Pens Change Colors
  • Too Many Different Templates

OK, so we’re biased since you know, we write about Money Apps and not Money Paper.  Still, there are benefits of using Paper Monthly Budget Templates

Why we think YOU SHOULD use Paper Monthly Budget Templates

Let’s take a look at a few counterpoints on why you should consider the old school way of Budgeting:

  • Paper doesn’t need an internet connection
  • Paper is more secure (we doubt someone will care about your info)
  • Paper is efficiently organized through Folders and Binders
  • Paper is tangible

Tangibility, or having the ability to touch something, is why many choose to do things in an old-school manner.  Monthly Templates are no different since you’ll be able to change it without having to log into something.

Why we RECOMMEND USING APPS as Budgeting Templates and Tools

Apps are the best way to manage your budget preferences.  Not only could you sync up investments and bank accounts seamlessly and securely, but you can add your personal finance preferences and saving options easy.  Why else?

  • Up to date information (in seconds)
  • Sync Your Banks and Investments Seamlessly
  • No wasted Paper (it’s Green?)
  • Loads of different options
  • Change budget on the road or in office (and not have to worry about changing on paper later)
  • Gain more knowledge through advice and app features

Best Budgeting Apps That Fit Any Lifestyle

It’s time to take a look at several Budgeting apps that can work with you, and not against your financial needs and desires.  Remember, everyone’s budget is different.  If you can’t live without traveling to Paris every year, you can budget it, but you may have to work a few things out!  It’s true; these apps are more accessible than Monthly Budget Templates.

1:  Qapital

One thing is for sure.  People love to spend on things they want.  For example, many families want to take a trip to Disney World, yet rarely have the budget allocated for the $1,000 through $5,000 trip to Orlando.  With Qapital you’ll open up an FDIC insured Bank Account and Safely Deposit Money into things you want to save for.  Deposit hard earned money into a Disney World Vacation “Account,” and keep adding funds to it, until you are ready to head to the Magic Kingdom.  Other benefits include:

  • Included Debit Card (VISA)
  • Robust App
  • Direct Deposit from Bank
  • Save When You Complete Certain Tasks (i.e., Going to the Gym)

While it’s not a full-fledged budgeting app, it’s a unique savings/budgeting app that could change your financial goals and save towards things you want to do in life.  (We only live once!)

2:  YNAB (YouNeedABudget)

This will make best rival any Monthly Template is YNAB.  It’s almost exactly like an ever-changing Excel Budget Template but with up to date banking information at your fingertips.  With apps for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android you’ll never be without your budget!  If you have significant debt, you should also consider the app since it will find, along with your synced bank accounts and bills, the best way to achieve Debt Freedom!  Other benefits include:

  • Real People Support (they’re real and don’t care about your Financial Situation)
  • Goal Tracking, similar to Qapital but without the Savings Account
  • Find Progress on Debt
  • Easily Share with a Spouse or Partner

We could include an app like Mint.com in our list here, but we’ve found since they’ve been acquired by Intuit (the Tax Company) that the app is littered with ads and credit card suggestions.  With YNAB you’ll pay $7 per month (billed annually) and be fully organized and supported!

3:  Personal Capital

For those with a large number of Assets and Investments, budgeting should still be on your monthly radar.  With an app like Personal Capital, you’ll be able to sync up bank accounts and investment accounts to manage your overall net worth and budgeting.  It’s mostly free, but we recommend this app for those with over $100,000 in personal assets to use to it’s highest potential!  Personal Capital Benefits include:

  • App available on all stores
  • Smartwatch capability
  • Dedicated Financial Advisors
  • Smart Indexing
  • 401K Selection Advice (FREE)

Personal Capital is almost in a category on its own as a premium budgeting and finance tool that fits well within the higher income and net worth category.  If you don’t fit this category you can still use it, although you may find the additional categories and functions be distracting to your overall goals and budgeting.

4:  Digit

Let’s face it: Budgeting takes a ton of time when you add it all up.  Digit makes things super simple and easy and will act as an automatic saving and budgeting tool.  Like other apps, y

digit budgeting app goal

You’ll be able to sync up bank accounts safely and save for things that matter (much like Qapital).  The difference here is that you’ll be notified of all the potential saving opportunities when you are budgeting.  By doing this, you’ll achieve budgeting goals through a simplified and interactive app!  Here’s why you should choose Digit:

  • Save a ton of time
  • Acts as an FDIC insured Bank Account
  • Get a saving bonus of 1% just for using the app
  • Unlimited and Fee Free Withdrawals
  • No Minimum Balance

Of all of the apps out there, Digit is the easiest and best to get started.  It’s not intimidating, and it’s got the support you need to right the financial ship!  Digit is Free for the first few weeks and then will charge you a flat $2.99 per month!  Want an alternative to Digit?  Try Cinch, it’s very similar and has apps on all stores!

5:  Greenlight

For families, there’s one major thing you could forget that has potential to hurt you.  Your Children’s Finances.  Any parent knows that as each child grows, you’ll need to include them into your financial plans and budgeting.  This is where Greenlight comes in.  You can efficiently manage your child’s finances and budgeting through an app and Mastercard (both assigned to you).  The app is perfect for teens and early college aged kids that aren’t yet financially stable.  Here are some other benefits:

  • The Debit card included works in 120+ countries
  • Allowance Management (give money for chores, etc.)
  • Event Funds (give kids money for Movie Tickets and Food)
  • Rewards Kids for Saving if they choose to!

Combine Greenlight with other budgeting apps and you are on your way to managing your kid’s finances by Hacking Money with Apps.

Budgeting Templates and Apps Conclusion

It’s time to start thinking about budgeting.  Paper templates aren’t recommended from us, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable solution to your personal finance structure.  With the apps above you’ll be able to cut time, and budget efficiently.  Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll have fun learning to budget over time!

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