Starting a monthly budget as a restaurant worker is not easy, but you shouldn’t let that dissuade you from controlling your money! Here are some apps that help make budgeting a breeze.
Creating a monthly budget as an adult is like being a child and having your parents tell you that you can’t eat a tub of ice cream before bed… except you are the parent now and you are only doing this to yourself for your own good. No one likes to do it, but over time and with some commitment, it can make your financial situation a lot better. You might even be able to set yourself up with some cushion— which can feel really good.
We did some research on apps that can help you budget after you have tracked your monthly income. These apps were chosen based on user reviews, accessibility, privacy statements and how they would work with a tipped or hourly based income.
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
You Need A Budget is a browser based program that offers apps for both iPhone and Android. YNAB has quickly grown to be a popular budgeting tool because it’s easy to use and is great for people starting their budget with some debt.
YNAB syncs to your bank account, which means you’d have to start depositing your cash. Once you have some data to report, you can see graphics on how you’re spending your money each month and organize your income into a monthly budget. YNAB has you assign a certain amount of money to categories, giving each dollar a purpose. The app helps you stay on track, but also allows you to shift your monthly budget around if you overspend or underspend in any area. YNAB has features to help you set financial goals and work off any debt. If you want an app that offers a lot of support, YNAB is a good choice. Their website has an array of resources such as a blog, podcast and classes so you can learn as much as you like about your finances.
Mint is a well known budgeting software owned by Intuit (same people that do TurboTax) and is accessible on all devices. Their app is very easy to set up and use, which has made it a popular choice for budgeting.
Mint connects to your bank account and creates a chart that shows how you spend your money in a month. It then creates a monthly budget for you with their own set categories. You can’t change the category type, but you can edit how much money is set in each at any time. Mint tracks your bills and sends reminders so you don’t splurge right before a bill is due. You can access your credit score and get updates through the app. Mint offers some more advanced features but because it’s so easy to use it can be a great option for beginners or the more experienced budgeter.
Mint is free with ads and since they’re owned by Intuit and associated with other software such as TurboTax and Quickbooks, they are considered reputable with sensitive information. But it’s always good to do a little research on your own and scan their privacy statement so you know exactly what you are signing up for.
Goodbudget has taken the old envelope method and placed it into a software program available for the web, iPhone and Android. The simplicity of this format makes it a great option for beginners who are just learning about budgeting.
As mentioned, Goodbudget works like the tried and true envelope method, where every month you put actual cash into envelopes labeled with a purpose for that money (i.e. Groceries, Gas, Restaurants, etc). With Goodbudget, you create virtual “envelopes”, with customized categories and then set money aside for each envelope category. Once an envelope is empty, you can’t spend on that category till the next month when your monthly budget is replenished. It can take some determination to live within the boundaries you set for yourself, but it’s an easy way to learn the basics of budgeting. Goodbudget also has the fancy things like reports with graphs and charts that show your spending.
No matter what your financial situation is, keeping track of your money can be hard—especially if your income fluctuates on a daily basis. Which is why starting a budget is an important step. It will not only show you your spending history, but it can help you make smarter choices and hopefully over time, alleviate financial stress.