In "Budgeting Tools. Part 1", we talked about general principles of keeping a budget and various tools we can use to keep a budget manually. However, I do believe that if something can be done automatically and by itself, without our constant effort, let’s automate it. Please note: the automated monitoring will only work if most of your expenses are paid by card, not in cash.
Here are some applications we can use to set up our budget and monitor our income and expenses automatically.
1. An App from Your Financial Institution
My understanding is that all major banks in Canada and US have expense tracking applications available either as a part of their online banking, mobile apps, or as a separate app. For example, TD Bank has TD MySpend for Canada and US.
The pros: Ease of use. The app from your bank is already connected to all your accounts there. You will only need to download it and login, and the app will do the rest for you.
The cons: If you have accounts at several financial instituations and you use them all the time, this solution will not work as you will only see a part of your income and expenses at each financial institution. You cannot create new or rename existing categories of expenses.
The pros: Free.
You can connect accounts from several financial institutions, including your PayPal, and see all your income and expenses in one place.
You can create new or rename existing categories of expenses.
The cons: You cannot create new or rename existing categories of expenses.
The pros: You can connect accounts from several financial institutions, including your PayPal, and see all your income and expenses in one place.
The cons: You have to pay for it.
Both Mint and Quickbooks are produced by Intuit, the company which also created TurboTax. They are only available in US and Canada. Intuit knows how to keep your data private and secure. Accoring to the article by Fortune “How Intuit Reinvents Itself”,
If you use TurboTax and QuickBooks, Intuit knows your Social Security number, your bank account numbers, your credit card numbers, everything about your brokerage accounts, and your children’s names, among other things. Consumers rank Intuit No. 8 among all companies for privacy trustworthiness in the latest survey by the Ponemon Institute research firm, just behind HP and ahead of PayPal. That’s a titanium-strength competitive advantage, but it could vaporize after a major break-in.
Which tools, applications or services do you use to track expenses? What are their pros and cons? And if you still haven’t found your ideal tool, what feature would you like it to have?