Personal Budgeting Applications: More than just Mint??

IMG_4619As many of you know, is a budgeting and spend tracking tool.  It is user friendly, guests can sign up within minutes, and best of all, it is free.  Several of the Harbor staff members use Mint, and each have generally positive reviews. For those of us new to the budget tracking apps, we ask: “Is Mint the only money management tool available?”

A quick Google search will quickly answer this question, and give you a myriad of other options. So many, in fact, that it may dissuade you from considering the alternatives, and keep you to your handwritten checkbook balancing ways.  In this article we will briefly outline the advantages and disadvantages of Mint, and then provide three other free apps that many finance professionals feel deserve to stand alongside it.

Advantages of using

*It automatically uploads your financial data each time you visit their site
*Easy to use budgeting and tracking tools
*Allows user to create spending goals, monitor credit scores, and access information easily via their mobile app

Disadvantages of

*Mint suffers from a lack of customer service – phone support is not available
*Incorrectly categorized transactions
*Limited options for investment and saving options

Three other budgeting applications that you may find worthwhile:

Bill Guard has received accolades from CNNMoney for being the best app to manage your money. In addition to tracking your spending it protects against debit and credit card fraudulent charges and errors, allows the consumer to connect directly to merchants with the app to resolve billing issues, and follows your spending patterns in an effort to provide coupons that are useful to your unique spending habits.  Like Mint, BillGuard allows you to quickly see balances, recurring charges, and charges flagged by others in the community.

Spending Tracker allows the user to set a fixed budget amount in order to meet set goals.  Remaining funds can be carried over to the next period.  The periods are also set by the user, which means that you may elect to use weeks, months or years as your timeframe.  Similar to all of the aforementioned apps, Spending Tracker provides you with the interactive charts that are grouped by category.

Checkbook Checkbook is different from Mint in the way Checkbook reads information.  It allows the user to make financial decisions within the apps, such as transferring funds from one account to another. The Checkbook app was designed to replace the traditional pen and paper version, while also including a way to track card and cash expenditures.  It boasts quick search options, account to account transfer options, and reconciliation abilities.

In summary, we remind our clients, friends, and family that managing your finances is one of the most important things we can do.  All of these options are excellent, free, and to date, secure.  We suggest you give one, two or a few a try and see what suites your style the best.