Life doesn’t always follow the black and white of your Excel file. Sometimes little splurges are worth it. Sometimes, you’re hit with unexpected bills you have to pay. That’s all normal. It’s never ideal to go over budget, but it’s not the end of the world if you do it every once in a while. It’s when the months you’re over budget start to out-number the months you hit your targets that it becomes a problem. This spending habit affects your financial health. If you ignore your overspending for a long time, it can cause major issues like debt and no savings.
If you’ve noticed you’re going over budget lately, it’s not too late do something about your spendthrift ways. Small changes with the way you use your smartphone can help you recover your budget and start serious savings. Take a look at these apps to find out how.
Money Management Apps
Apps that help you budget better are a great first step to eliminating overspending. They come in all shapes and sizes — some are free and some come with a small annual fee. The most famous money management app by far is Mint. At last count in 2016, it had more than 20 million people using its services.
It’s a great addition to your phone because it helps track your expenses, so you can better understand how your family is overspending. Mint will help you visualize which spending category is the worst culprit, and you can take a deep dive into these categories to see which purchases are the reasons why you’re struggling to save. Once you realize how these purchases are affecting your finances, you’ll be in a better position to resist making them.
Other apps like the one from MoneyKey can help you find practical help in the form of advance loans when your overspending means you can’t cover a surprise bill or repair. Their app facilitates the borrowing experience, so you can find a quick online cash advance with just a few swipes of your thumb.
A simple solution to overspending is to just stop spending altogether, right? As a parent running a busy household, you know this isn’t realistic. Even when you need to cut down on your expenses, you still have to buy groceries, school supplies, and clothes. Shopping apps can help you reduce what these expenses cost, so you aren’t penalized for providing for your family.
It’s a broad category of apps, so let’s break it down:
- Price comparison calculators: These apps track down where you can find the cheapest price for the items on your list. Whether you’re shopping for a new laptop, groceries, or clothes, you’ll never pay more than you should with a price comparison calculator on your phone.
- Cash-back rebate apps: From Ibotta that offer rebates on a range of household items to more specific apps like Checkout 51 that help with the groceries, these downloads give you money back for the things you’ve purchased. Though these rebates are usually small, they add up quickly.
- Coupon apps: If getting paid to shop isn’t enough, you can lower how much you spend at the till by using a simple coupon app like SnipSnap. It makes searching for coupons simple, and you only have to bring your phone to redeem them.
- Second-hand markets: Apps like KidZone, CPlus for Craigslist, and BUNZ help you tap into the second-hand economy. Whether you’re a buyer hoping to find gently used clothing at a lower price or a seller hoping to earn some money for your old books, there’s an app that can help connect you with a sale.
Meal planning apps
The average person in America spends $151 on food each week. That’s a far cry from the USDA’s suggested food budget. It suggests a budget-friendly diet should cost a family of four just $146 a week, while a more liberal option should cost $289 a week.
Meal planning apps like Yummly or Mealtime can help you stay away from costly ingredients and eliminate food waste at the same time. They help you get organized in the kitchen and the grocery store, so you can maximize your food budget without sacrificing on nutrients or taste.
If you’ve noticed you’re going over the family budget more often than you’d like, your phone offers an unlikely resource of money-saving opportunities. Download the right apps that fit your family’s lifestyle to make sure your phone’s working at its full potential.