I have a problem. I am torn be to loves. First, I love list making (something I inherited from a woman I admire greatly…my mom) and keeping record the “old” way with a paper and pen and second, I love my iPhone. I love the feel and smell of paper, but hate the inconvenience of carrying it all around. Originally we tried to keep our financial account records the “traditional” way, with a check register provided by the bank. While this works, it’s so hard to keep it perfectly balanced, and making sure all transactions were accounted for was difficult. Then we switched to Quickbooks. Quickbooks solved problems we had with the paper check register method but it is only accessible from our computer. Not a convenient way to keep up to date on finances. We had to keep track of receipts and when there are two people with their own debit cards we kept running into problems. Thus we switched back to the “old” paper way…until I thought “maybe there is an app for that.” There is!! And I love them! Here are my recommended apps for keeping on top of your finances:
This app works like my check register, but I can keep other accounts up-to-date as well such as our money market. It allows me to check off items when I reconcile the account. Once checked off they are “cleared” from the register and from view. For awhile, I reconciled our accounts monthly as my statements arrived, however, I’ve become a little bit more strict and “balance” every day or every other day with online banking. I have felt more in control of our checkbook in this way, and we never ever have a negative balance because I missed something or added incorrectly. Bonus: Password protected. Cost: Since free version is limited to one account, I upgraded to the full version for $1.99.
There is a free “lite” version but it only allowed me to enter in 2 or 3 debts. The full version is $1.99 but in my opinion well worth it. Dave Ramsey has a paper version but it doesn’t tell me how soon we will pay off all of our debts like this one does. Nor does it allow me to play around with numbers. For instance, if we devote an “extra” $3000 to our snowball every month then we would be debt free in 5 years. That’s a number that at this point that is as much as one billion gagillion dollars but it can also show me what an extra $200-$300 can do too. As we pay off debts, like that in Our First Victory, it gives me a new payoff timeline. Seeing the months/years tick away is very motivating. Bonus: Password protected.
Dave Ramsey and other money management guru’s recommend paying cash for all your variable expenses, such as food, clothing, car repair, hair care etc. However, whether it was using the leather bound (but still paper) Dave Ramsey deluxe version or regular Dollar Tree envelopes, it didn’t work for the Andrews household. So we continued to use our debit cards. And we continued to overspend. And we continued to live paycheck to paycheck. As we started getting gazelle intense, I once again thought there must be an app for this. There is, and I LOVE IT. I have numerous categories including one for July for “meat” because we had to allocate extra money for a 1/4 of beef we purchased. There is a school supplies category, Ophthalmology, gifts and all the envelopes our family need’s on a monthly or yearly basis. And it’s working great for us. I can tell you how much we have in every category and how much “cash” we have total. Now I don’t have to carry this big bulky thing of ACTUAL envelopes everywhere with me and fumble through them when I get to the cash register. In the past, trying to use cash meant buying things in separate transactions. Now, when I get in the car I open my app and delegate purchases to the right envelope. Before we have arrived at the next store, I know how much cash is left in each category.
I don’t use this a ton, but because we use a bank which is local instead of national…they don’t actually have an app (*gasp*). This allows me to connect to my online checking account at any time via my iPhone. It’s FREE and a great resource. If your bank has an app…get it! If not, this is a great option for you.
This app doesn’t help me keep track of our finances in any way but it does motivate me to continue this journey because of access to archives of the last 2 weeks of Dave’s show or his current broadcast. By listening, I am gaining more and more knowledge of my finances, and answers for possible future challenges. Like if you washer breaks. In addition, he discusses retirement and education savings accounts. These are things I don’t have contribute to now, but someday and when I do I will have all of the know how I need to approach our financial advisor. Cost for motivation and financial wisdom: NONE