7 Tools to Manage a Household Budget
30 Sep 2020
No matter how hard you seem to try, those savings just aren’t piling up like you’d like them to. It’s as if surplus pennies disappear into life’s metaphorical (or real) sofa. Perhaps you are collecting spare change each month, but it just isn’t enough: not working hard enough, going far enough.
How do you produce results that will last? Back in 2009, Apple said: ‘There’s an App for that,’ and more than ten years later, with apps for sleeping, eating, breathing, and of course money management – it proved more than true.
That’s not to knock the trusty spreadsheet or simple online budget calculator either, because as part of our Money on your Mind Series - where we provide jargon-free insights, advice and resources to help you feel more financially confident - we’ve compiled a list of diverse budgeting tools at your disposal to help get your finances on track.
There are many apps out there like Mint or Emma, which are all great at helping you manage your expenses, setting targeted spending goals and splitting spending targets per category - but they are mostly US and UK based, so some may not support connections with Irish banks. You can still use some of these offline – which means you can manually add your expenses – (like with the You Need a Budget App).
Spendee is an app which does support connections to Irish banks, meaning it will automatically take in all your incomings and outgoings in your bank account. It includes all features mentioned above, as well as ‘shared wallets’ for sharing with family members, utility bill tracker so you know when bills are due.
Like others, it has a tiered pricing system, with basic free and then monthly fees.
Home Budget is a solution for family finance management. The app enables families to create budgets, manage income amounts and categorise expenses. It also has a nifty Family Sharing feature that allows users to sync income and expenses between multiple devices.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
YNAB is possibly one of the world’s most popular budgeting apps – and it focuses on your total spending and income that has accrued in the past as well as setting targets for future spending.
The app allows you to even out the expenses which crop up over the year - including monthly bills and irregular bills (such as birthday’s, insurance premiums etc.). If the app doesn’t connect with your bank, you can manually input your data.
It is subscription-based, with a free 34-day trial and then annual fee after that.
This app is very simple and free to use – and if you want to use a different money management tool what your online banking platform offers, it allows you to categorise spending into different categories and set targets and budgets.
A Simple Spreadsheet
One can never underestimate the power of a good spreadsheet, and there are many you can find online. It is a manual process, but if you get into a routine of updating it, it is one of the most simple ways to manage your budget. We’ve constructed a simple monthly budget planner which you can download here.
CCPC Budget Planner
The Competition and Consumer Protection Council’s online budgeting planner allows you to work out what you are spending your money on and compare this with your income. You can work out a plan that suits you (or your household) and so you can keep control of your spending effectively. They don’t see or keep any of the information you input into the budget planner, and you can email yourself your results.
You can also use their spending calculator to see if you can cut back on any day-to-day expenses.
The MABS Budgeting Tool
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service’s (MABS) budgeting tool will allow you to set out your income and expenditure and make a budget. It takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes to work through, and is designed to help you assess your situation, analyse your income and debts and make a budget.
Money on your Mind is a new series which aims to help you build your financial confidence. You’ll find insights, tips and suggestion to help you feel more knowledgeable about managing your money, as well as jargon free answers to some basic financial questions. The content within this series is aimed to provide general guidance and information only. It does not represent financial advice.